With the exception of certain monumental spaces such as lobbies, circulation areas, and ceremonial interiors, almost all interiors require furniture. For most users, it is the furniture that makes the architectural space into a useful and personal place where human activities can take place with comfort and convenience.
Human beings, especially the populations of the Western, developed countries, have come to regard furniture as a virtual necessity for almost every activity. We use chairs, tables, and desks for working; chairs and tables for dining; chairs and sofas for conversation and watching television. Sleeping has become synonymous with coins to bed.
We store our possessions in chests, cabinet, and on shelves. Even such special-purpose objects as television receivers, stereo equipment, and some musical instruments turn into pieces of furniture.
It is not surprising, then, that most people think of an interior as the sum of its furnishings.
The process of moving into a house, apartment, or other space turns out to be primarily a matter of placing furniture. No one considers a space occupied until this process has been carried out. The completed interiors visual character and comfort are largely derived from the furniture within it.For the designer, therefore, the selection-and in some cases the designing-of furniture is a key activity.
While it may come to seem simple and almost routine, it is actually based on a considerable fund of knowledge combined with much complex decision-making. All furniture types exist in an almost infinite variety of materials, constructions, sizes, and styles. Choosing intelligently among them demands studying the characteristics of each material, the different construction techniques, styles, and finishes.
Each of these factors must be balanced against the others when making a decision about a furniture piece for a particular context which usually imposes a set of constraints about size, appropriateness, durability, and ease of maintenance.
The usefulness of a piece of furniture relates to its and details in fairly clear ways. The functional values of some special-purpose furniture types are described by their names: tea carts, typewriter stands, mobile files, cribs and highchairs, wheelchairs, outdoor furniture. They are available in considerable variety and tend to be closely suited to particular function. Other furniture types have so many variables that they can be studied individually.