Last edited 08 Feb 2021



The term ‘furniture’ refers to moveable objects that are used to support human activities in the built environment. However, it can also be used more widely to refer to fitted objects and equipment.

Furniture tends to be of a craft-based design type that can be functional, decorative, symbolic, ceremonial, and so on. Many different materials are used in the manufacture of furniture, most commonly; timber, metal, plastic, fabrics, leather, and so on.

Furniture is subject to frequent changes in fashion, and tastes for furniture can vary widely from person to person.

Some of the main types of furniture include:

  • Furniture for sitting: Chairs, stools, sofas, futons, etc.
  • Furniture for eating or working: Tables, desks, etc.
  • Furniture for sleeping: Beds, cots, bunks, etc.
  • Furniture for storage: chests, wardrobes, etc.
  • Garden furniture: Chairs, tables, etc.
  • Street furniture: Benches, barriers, street lamps, traffic lights, bollards, etc.

Furniture can be grouped together with other components as 'FF&E' (furniture, fixture and equipment). FF&E might be procured separately to the main construction contract (or elements of them), particularly by clients that already have systems in place for procuring fixed and loose furniture, fittings and equipment; for example, schools, universities, or hospitals. For more information, see Furniture fixtures and equipment FF&E.

Interior designers are often associated with specifying furniture, analysing how a space is to be used and how best it can be planned with the most appropriate objects, considering functionality, aesthetic, space efficiency, circulation requirements, and so on. For more information, see Interior design

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations define requirements for the fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. These Regulations are enforced by Trading Standards.

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