Furniture refers to fitted pieces used to support various human activities such as seating (chairs, stools and sofas), eating or working (tables and desks) or sleeping (beds and hammocks). It is generally not permanent in nature, but movable. It also serves decorative, symbolic or ceremonial purposes.
Furniture designs reflect the changing needs of society and individuals. Early furniture was often multifunctional, such as a table that folded down into a trunk. Furniture could also be ornamented with carvings and gold plating.
In modern times, furniture design became more focused on efficiency and practicality. Simpler forms, such as a chair with straight lines, were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Post-World War II, modernism (including the Bauhaus movement) influenced designers to create sleeker furniture using metal frames and wood veneers.
Wood can be treated to improve its durability and appearance. Finishes include staining, painting, varnishing and polishing. Stains are applied in a variety of ways to change or accentuate the natural grain, for example, by distressing or antiquing.
The cost and style of furniture vary widely depending on the materials used, quality and design. Some homeowners may feel limited by the amount of money they can spend on furniture, but many retailers offer a wide range of price points to suit most budgets. If purchasing online, shoppers should look for warranties and return policies. If possible, Maxim recommends shopping one week after major sales like Black Friday and Father’s Day, when suppliers have the most excess inventory.