AskDefine | Define furniture

Dictionary Definition

furniture n : furnishings that make a room or other area ready for occupancy; "they had too much furniture for the small apartment"; "there was only one piece of furniture in the room" [syn: piece of furniture, article of furniture]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /ˈfɜːnɪtʃə/, /"f3:nItS@/
  • a US /ˈfɝnɪtʃɚ/, /"f3`nItS@`/


  1. The harness, trappings etc. of a horse or other animal.
  2. An item, or, used collectively, items, (usually) in a room which enhance the room's characteristics, either functionally and/or decoratively.

Usage notes

  • Before the end of the nineteenth century, the plural furnitures existed in Standard English in both the U.S. and the U.K.; during the twentieth century, however, it ceased to be used by native speakers.
  • A single item of furniture, such as a chair or a table, is often called a |piece of furniture.

Related terms

Derived terms



an item, or items, (usually) in a room
  • Arabic: (’aθāθ) , (mafrušāt) p
  • Chinese: 家具 (jiājù)
  • Croatian: namještaj
  • Czech: nábytek
  • Danish: møbel, inventar
  • Dutch: meubel, meubelstuk
  • Faroese: innbúgv, húsgøgn
  • Finnish: huonekalut
  • French: mobilier
  • Galician: mobiliario (many items), moble (one item)
  • German: qualifier multiple items Möbel, qualifier one item Möbelstück
  • Greek: έπιπλο
  • Hungarian: bútor
  • trreq Icelandic
  • Italian: mobilio
  • Japanese: 家具
  • Korean: 가구
  • trreq Latin
  • Norwegian: møbel
  • Polish: s, p
  • Portuguese: mobília
  • Russian: мебель
  • Slovene: pohištvo
  • Spanish: qualifier multiple items mobiliario, qualifier one item mueble

Extensive Definition

Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects which may support the human body (seating furniture and beds), provide storage, or hold objects on horizontal surfaces above the ground. Storage furniture (which often makes use of doors, drawers, and shelves) is used to hold or contain smaller objects such as clothes, tools, books, and household goods. (See List of furniture types.)
Furniture can be a product of artistic design and is considered a form of decorative art. In addition to furniture's functional role, it can serve a symbolic or religious purpose. Domestic furniture works to create, in conjunction with furnishings such as clocks and lighting, comfortable and convenient interior spaces. Furniture can be made from many materials, including metal, plastic, and wood.


Furniture has been a part of the human experience since the development of non-nomadic cultures. Evidence of furniture from antiquity survives in the form of paintings, such as the wall Murals discovered at Pompeii; sculpture, and examples have been excavated in Egypt and found in tombs in Ghiordes, in modern day Turkey.

The Classical World

Early furniture has been excavated from the 8th-century B.C. Phrygian tumulus, the Midas Mound, in Gordion, Turkey. Pieces found here include tables and inlaid serving stands. There are also surviving works from the 9th-8th-century B.C. Assyrian palace of Nimrud. The earliest surviving carpet, the Pazyryk Carpet was discovered in a frozen tomb in Siberia and has been dated between the 6th and 3rd century B.C.. Recovered Ancient Egyptian furniture includes a 3rd millennium B.C. bed discovered in the Tarkhan Tomb, a c.2550 B.C. gilded set from the tomb of Queen Hetepheres, and a c. 1550 B.C. stool from Thebes. Ancient Greek furniture design beginning in the 2nd millennium B.C., including beds and the klismos chair, is preserved not only by extant works, but by images on Greek vases. The 1738 and 1748 excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii introduced Roman furniture, preserved in the ashes of the 79 A.D. eruption of Vesuvius, to the eighteenth century.

Early Modern Europe

The furniture of the Middle Ages was usually heavy, oak, and ornamented with carved designs. Along with the other arts, the Italian Renaissance of the fourteenth and fifteenth century marked a rebirth in design, often inspired by the Greco-Roman tradition. A similar explosion of design, and renaissance of culture in general, occurred in Northern Europe, starting in the fifteenth century. The seventeenth century, in both Southern and Northern Europe, was characterized by opulent, often gilded Baroque designs that frequently incorporated a profusion of vegetal and scrolling ornament. Starting in the eighteenth century, furniture designs began to develop more rapidly. Although there were some styles that belonged primarily to one nation, such as Palladianism in Great Britain, others, such as the Rococo and Neoclassicism were perpetuated throughout Western Europe.

19th Century

The nineteenth century is usually defined by concurrent revival styles, including Gothic, Neoclassicism, Rococo, and the Eastlake Movement. The design reform of the late century introduced the Aesthetic movement and the Arts and Crafts movement. Art Nouveau was influenced by both of these movements.


The first three-quarters of the twentieth century are often seen as the march towards Modernism. Art Deco, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Wiener Werkstätte, and Vienna Secession designers all worked to some degree within the Modernist idiom. Postmodern design, intersecting the Pop art movement, gained steam in the 1960s and 70s, promoted in the 80s by groups such as the Italy-based Memphis movement. Transitional furniture is intended to fill a place between Traditional and Modern tastes.

Asian history

Asian furniture has a quite distinct history. The traditions out of China, India, and Japan are some of the best known, but places such as Korea, Mongolia, and the countries of South East Asia have unique facets of their own.
Traditional Japanese furniture is well known for its minimalist style, extensive use of wood, high-quality craftsmanship and reliance on wood grain instead of painting or thick lacquer. Japanese chests are known as Tansu, and are some of the most sought-after of Japanese antiques. The antiques available generally date back to the Tokugawa era.
Chinese furniture is traditionally better known for more ornate pieces. The use of uncarved wood and bamboo and the use of heavy lacquers are well known Chinese styles. It is worth noting that China has an incredibly rich and diverse history, and architecture, religion, furniture and culture in general can vary widely from one dynasty to the next.

External links

furniture in Afrikaans: Meubelstuk
furniture in Arabic: أثاث
furniture in Belarusian: Мэбля
furniture in Bosnian: Namještaj
furniture in Breton: Arrebeuri
furniture in Bulgarian: Мебел
furniture in Catalan: Moble
furniture in Czech: Nábytek
furniture in Danish: Møbel
furniture in German: Möbel
furniture in Dzongkha: ཁང་ཆེས་
furniture in Estonian: Mööbel
furniture in Spanish: Mobiliario
furniture in Esperanto: Meblo
furniture in French: Meuble
furniture in Scottish Gaelic: Àirneis
furniture in Ido: Moblo
furniture in Icelandic: Húsgagn
furniture in Italian: Arredamento
furniture in Swahili (macrolanguage): Fanicha
furniture in Macedonian: Мебел
furniture in Dutch: Meubilair
furniture in Japanese: 家具
furniture in Norwegian: Møbel
furniture in Polish: Meble
furniture in Portuguese: Mobiliário
furniture in Romanian: Mobilier
furniture in Quechua: Kuyuylla
furniture in Russian: Мебель
furniture in Simple English: Furniture
furniture in Slovak: Nábytok
furniture in Slovenian: Pohištvo
furniture in Finnish: Huonekalu
furniture in Swedish: Möbler
furniture in Turkish: Mobilya
furniture in Ukrainian: Меблі
furniture in Chinese: 家具

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1