The Ultimate Guide to Types of Furniture
Have you ever wondered how to furnish a room but felt a little taken aback – what does go in a dining room anyway, besides a table and chairs? Is there something obvious you’re missing? What about the office? There has to be so much more to it other than just a desk and a chair, and this guide to types of furniture will help you to figure it out.
Reading all about different types of furniture that can go in a room may leave your head feeling cluttered, but did you know that knowing all your options might actually help you keep your living space clutter-free and only filled with the things that you actually need? Maybe there was an option you didn’t know existed, but it’s the perfect solution for you?
Yes, knowledge is power.
There are a lot of types of tables – from small to large. The most important table in our house is the dining room table – even if you live in a studio, a table is the central point of your living quarters. Meals, work, projects, conversations, coffee, guests – this all happens right here. And studies show that if you have a separate dining room – it seldom gets used in favour of a simple kitchen table. Based on the illustration below, you can see that the most often used pieces of furniture tend to be in the part of the home that gets the most social use.
Tables and other living room furniture
Here are some great examples of the different types of tables that can be put in your kitchen and dining room, whether you have a huge space to hold a large family and guests, or a simple studio.
Expandable dining room tables
Expandable dining room tables are a great option for those of us who need to dine by ourselves, with our partner or a small family group every day – but also tend to host events like:
- Family holidays
- Birthday parties
- Family craft nights
- Work gatherings
- Large dinner parties
It’s an amazing tool to help you maximise your space – whether you prefer a round table, a square or a rectangular table. They are all available in expandable versions and take seconds to pull apart and put back together again. They can also match all kinds of furniture styles and find expandable tables to match the furniture pieces you already have, or create a style that is modern, rustic, or antique.
You should think about leaving some dining room chairs in storage in case you have to serve a larger number of people.
You can choose an expandable dining table depending on the maximum seating capacity. There are expandable tables that can seat 8, 10, 12, or 16 people.
Small dining room tables
Sometimes all you need is a small table. A small dining room table is perfect for a nuclear family, with no added guests. If you have a tiny dining room that you want to use in accordance to its function or a kitchen that is big enough to become a dining space but not big enough for a huge table, small dining tables are a cosy solution.
Wall-mounted tables are an ideal solution for a minimalistic lifestyle. They are the ultimate solution to someone who doesn’t want to sacrifice a lot of space for a table but still wants to have the option of having friends over for dinner and seating them comfortably. Perhaps you don’t like hitting furniture with your arms when doing yoga or need some extra space for a kids’ play area.
Wall-mounted tables fold perfectly into the wall, creating space in seconds. They also make ideal work tables that you can mount in a hallway or a corner of the living room to make instant office space. It’s something you should think about if you’re struggling with a work-life balance and want to “put your office away” after you’re done working and reclaim some space in your apartment.
You can use an accent chair as your office chair – deep, comfortable, and decorative. After your table is put away it will stand its own ground and you won’t need to hide it.
When we think about a living room table we most think about a coffee table. This magical space in front of the couch that can be a host not only to your coffee but your magazines, remotes, phone, keys, and everything else that you have in your hands when you enter your living room. It’s also a centrepiece – a place to put flower arrangements and coffee table books. For people who don’t have enough space for a big dining table, the coffee table also becomes a default for consuming their daily meals.
Side tables are an important part of interior design and can be a useful piece of furniture as well as a perfect accent for your living room, bedroom, or hallway. Those tables are the perfect spots to put a vase of flowers on. Also, as a space for your favourite coffee table book, potted plant, or that always-needed box of tissues. In the olden days, these were often used as an honorary spot for a telephone. Usually, you should use side tables as a part of the design, so keep them as clutter-free as possible.
You can put helper tables or end tables in living rooms and dining rooms. Their purpose is to literally give a helping hand – you can put extra glasses, hors d’oeuvres, or become a spot where you can easily place a plate or a drink. They can become the refreshment station of any formal function or a kid’s birthday party. You can tuck the best kinds of “helper tables” in under your regular end table. They often come in a set of consecutive tables that can fold under each other. When you need extra space for guests or projects, you can simply slide them out. This is one of the most versatile furniture options when it comes to end tables or coffee tables. They’re called end tables because they’re usually placed at the end of a seating area – like a couch or on the side of an accent chair.
A bedside table can be a bit of everything – a bookshelf, a place for a reading lamp, putting aside jewellery, charging your phone, keeping your glass of water or medication. No wonder they usually come with some storage space.
Of course, some bedside tables are minimalistic and offer only a place for a lamp and an item or two. But most bedside tables have at least one drawer where you can hide your personal items from guests’ eyes if they happen to wander into your bedroom. They also help to hide some regular personal clutter, be it watches, pills or earplugs, and night cream.
When you and your partner share a bed, you can get two matching bedside tables on each side of the bed. Some couples have different tastes in furniture pieces, not to mention different needs – there’s always an option of getting completely different ones as well – they don’t usually come in pairs unless they’re a part of a master bedroom set.
Sofas vs Couches
This is where the relaxing happens – and as of very recently, it’s where a lot of work happens as well. Couches, sofas, and ottomans are crucial pieces of living room furniture. The materials used in production include fabric or leather.
Sofa vs. Couch – what’s the difference?
In the interior design industry, “sofa” is just a fancy word for “couch”. But in the real world, it seems that “sofa” means something simpler than a couch. A couch can be L-shaped, roomy, comfy, full of pillows and gadgets. A sofa usually means a simple upholstered bench with cushions, arms and enough room to seat approximately 3 or 4 people – no bells and whistles. A sofa usually won’t fold out into a bed – but there are exceptions to this rule.
Sleeping couches are ideal for those of us who don’t have a spare guest bedroom or are expecting to have a lot of people over. Whether it’s family, people who stay after a party or just friends staying overnight.
A sleeping couch will fold out into a double bed, have storage for sheets and pillows inside, and serve as a comfortable sleeping option for out of town guests.
People who have studios and don’t have space for an extra bed sometimes use this option. Once you put away your sleeping space for the night you can enjoy a “real” living room, with no signs of bedroom use. Because it all just looks like normal living room furniture.
If you have space, L-shaped couches are great as far as living room furniture is concerned. L-shaped couches are ideal if you want a lot of relaxing room and they are so comfortable that they’re a great furniture idea even if you live alone. They can sit more people but also create a feeling of a cosy, closed space that is ideal for conversation between friends and family. Most L-shaped couches fold out into a full king-sized bed.
These are great for a dynamic living room – when you want to adjust your furniture around, change the design and feel of the room and adjust the space for different occasions. A sectional couch is composed of different pieces that can be arranged together or apart, depending on the occasion.
These types of couches usually consist of the main couch section and an additional module that can be used as a side seat or attached to the couch in order to sit more comfortably or stretch your legs. One of the most important functions of this type of couch is that the different pieces can be made to face each other – it’s a great option for intimate parties where the conversation is important or family game nights. A sectional may include a large ottoman or a few smaller ones.
Simple Couches and Sofas
Love seats, sofas or futons – sometimes you don’t want or need a huge couch, and you can make do it with a simple type of sofa. These are ideal for small living rooms, or can be purchased as a sofa set and be used to design a stylish seating area with multiple smaller furniture pieces.
Sometimes, even a simple sofa can be folded out into a sleeper sofa. This way, they can be put to a playroom and serve as a seating option. Also, when guests stay overnight, the sleeper sofa will transform the playroom into a guest bedroom.
A small, simple sofa can be fitted into any space that has the potential of becoming a gathering spot for people to meet and sit together – it’s an invitation. Sometimes, even a large hallway can become a place for relaxation and socialising if you strategically install a simple sofa.
There are a lot of options for kitchen furniture – and never-ending interior design styles, from rustic to cottage, craftsman, industrial, minimalist, and the popular farmhouse or French country. Let’s concentrate on the types of furniture needed for every one of these styles – this doesn’t change much even if the style of furniture changes.
Fixed cabinets are the permanent types of cabinets that hold the sink, the plumbing from the sink, the oven and the stove including any wiring or gas pipes that power them. These are probably some of the most permanent types of furniture you’re going to decide on – unlike a sofa or accent chairs that can be easily replaced.
Aside from their role when it comes to the stove, sink or oven, fixed cabinets are the most important storage in your kitchen. Consider these items when you’re designing or picking your kitchen cabinets:
- large utensils
- at least three types of plates
- formal dining sets
- dry goods like pasta or rice
- root vegetable storage
- glasses – at least three types
- baking sheets
- cake pans
- graters and collanders
- Tupperware (the storage nightmare)
- cleaning supplies
- canned food
- cutting boards
- mixing bowls
- measuring cups
- tea towels
- zipper bags and cling wrap or aluminium foil
- Odds and ends – egg timers, tea baskets and all the small stuff
Think about these carefully! Starting out with enough storage space is crucial from the very beginning. It will keep your kitchen free of clutter and easy to clean.
Different Types of Kitchen Islands
Kitchen islands are incredibly versatile – there are a few different types. Sometimes, they serve as a divider between the kitchen and the dining room, and they become a defacto piece of dining room furniture.
L-shaped kitchen island
This can create a closed space for the cook – with more storage, and more counter space as well. This means having a larger island, and many have the option of having a sink in the island counter, instead of the kitchen counter.
This is for smaller kitchens, and it’s ideal when you simply need more working space. It can roll up to when you need it most and help you with food prep – or simply serve as a kitchen coffee table. Rolling islands can range from the truly tiny, with the counter space of a cutting board, or heavier pieces that can change the look and feel of your cooking space whenever moved.
This type of island completely changes the feel of your kitchen and provides a show space for any chef. It makes it easy for guests to sit and participate in the cooking process, either simply by providing company or pitching in with food prep. The extra storage space is also hard to refuse – but remember that you need a truly huge kitchen in order to accommodate this type of island comfortably.
Master Bedroom Furniture
The master bedroom is one of the most important spaces in the house – but its design is much different than the “common” areas – because it’s supposed to be purely an intimate space.
There are a few bed frame types to take note of when choosing furniture:
Divan bed frames
– simple and modern design with a base that’s joined together – and have a lot of storage. The divan bed provides a cushioned, sprung support for the mattress, giving it a supportive feel. Divan beds can come in many upholstery choices, and if you like austerity but also love the feel of different fabrics, this one might be for you.
Sleigh bed frames
– a sleigh bed is incredibly solid and old-fashioned. A lot of sleigh beds out there right now are actual antiques, particularly from the Art-Deco period. The brand new sleigh beds are just as solid and offer classic design styles with varying materials and colours.
Canopy bed frames
– the stuff of dreams of any little girl, canopy beds used to be built because they were practical in cold climates. Today, they provide a “wow” factor and a sense of exuberance to any master bedroom. Canopies can be old-fashioned but they can also be modern and minimalistic.
Platform bed frame
– platform beds are inspired by minimalistic Japanese beds – they help to clear the mind, don’t have any frills or accents. It’s a simple (but well designed) platform for a futon mattress. Sometimes, the platform design is elongated so that the platform extends into a bedside table on each side.
Closets and Storage Types
Closets are a crucial element of master bedroom furniture – if there’s not enough storage, then your room will become cluttered and there will be things everywhere – from dirty laundry to things that just don’t fit anywhere other than the chair or the floor. There are a few types of storage t consider when choosing bedroom furniture:
– if you want the appearance of a neat and orderly space, a built-in closet allows for a completely personalized design and layout. It’s customary that a built-in closet takes up a whole wall, making them blend in perfectly but also giving you enough space for two people.
– These are a great option for apartments or guest bedrooms. They might not offer you the same type of space as a walk-in closet or a built-in, but they are very easy to put together, less expensive, and they give you an opportunity to express your design style because they can be antique, modern, industrial – you name it.
– if you’re lucky enough to have space, a walk-in closet can be a lifesaver. Carefully laid out with built-in shelving and sometimes even a vanity or a sink for your morning routine, they are the stuff of dreams for many people. A word of caution – organisation of your walk-in is crucial if you want to keep it neat and clean – otherwise, it becomes a danger zone were built up of “stuff” and junk can occur.
Trunks and boxes
– sometimes there are things that don’t fit into any closet but you need to put them somewhere. This is especially true for bulky items such as blankets, extra sheets, pillows or quilts. In the olden times, people used trunks to hide their linens – and this is a great solution for modern times as well. Trunks and large boxes can hide your not-so-often used bulky items, and they can become a great space for a vase or potted plants as well.
Extra storage – trunks and hidden compartments
Other master bedroom furniture to consider:
- TV Stand
- Extra Drawers
- Side table or coffee table
- Small accent sofa
- Accent chairs
- Reading lamps
Home Office Furniture
A home office is a room apart from the rest of the house – if you have a separate room for an office that is. If you’re lucky enough, you can plan a more permanent space, that’s private and conducive to focusing on your work. If you don’t – don’t worry – there are some tricks that people use to have a home office without their work encroaching on their home life too much.
Home office desk
Executive Desk – we don’t need to tell you how important a good desk is – even if all you need for work is a laptop and good coffee. If you have the room, it’s best to choose a large, spacious work desk that will give you a sense of control and importance. After all, a good home office is where you want to be productive and focused.
Fold-out and on the go – if you don’t have the space for a large office desk, you can make do with a smaller one – preferably one that you can hide away when you’re done working. A fold-out drafting table style desk can add a stylish flair to a loft-style or a modern apartment, while a bureau is perfect for the more classic interior. A classic bureau looks good in any living room, and there are different types to choose from – the solid oak or cherry wood antiques and the modern simplistic bureaus with no extra curves. Just business.
Bookshelves and file cabinets
Even though we have mostly gone paperless in this day and age, and you don’t need the types of furniture that can store hundreds of files, papers and photocopies. But you still need something for correspondence, some client files and other documents. If you do deal with your share of paperwork, you can buy a variety of filing cabinets that will fit in with the types of furniture you already have in your office, living room or guest room.
Bookshelves for the office – If you don’t want anything that resembles a filing cabinet, you can hide files in file binders on a bookshelf, amongst the living room or dining room furniture. If you decide to store and organise paperwork in archival boxes or binder storage boxes, you can make the colour scheme create an accent in whatever room you put it in. Some binder storage boxes are even made to look like leather-bound books, for an added sophisticated effect. The great thing about bookshelf is that you can use it for both file storage and as an actual bookshelf – or as a display.
Any type of furniture in the restroom is going to focus on storage. Unless, of course, you have a very spacious restroom that can handle an accent chair or an end table where you can place your champagne. In most cases though – storage it is.
Since people usually try to get the most out of their bathroom space, the furniture should be as narrow as possible – taking up little space and giving you maximum storage.
For storing “extra items: remember that you should think about storing these within reach:
- Extra toilet paper
- Bathroom cleaning supplies
- Extra toothpaste, soap etc.
This can all usually fit in a large under-the-sink cabinet. For the things you use every day, it’s best to have a mirror shelf, so you can have things like our toothbrush within reach, but also be able to close it. It’s more sanitary to keep toothbrushes in a closed cabinet.
What’s Your Interior Design Style? Here Are Some Must-Have Types of Furniture
A chair isn’t always just a chair – in fact, you can look at chair designs through the past one hundred years and across different architecture and interior design types, and you’ll be surprised how the design of a simple piece of furniture can change.
Deep down, their simple utility stays the same – but the feelings they envoke and the atmosphere they create can be worlds apart.
The Minimalist style of interior design has a few key attributes – it has simple, crisp lines, stays away from any clutter. It tends to go for monochromatic colour schemes, with colour used only as an accent. This is the favourite style of a lot of people who are trying to get their lives, thoughts and feelings under control, and focus on only the most important things in their lives. No disorder, no confusion.
Loft / Industrial
The “loft” style is a gentrified copy of what artists would do in order to have large studio spaces mixed with a place to live. They often occupied old industrial buildings like factories or warehouses, where exposed pipes, raw brick and wooden beams were the norm. The loft-style is a mix of the industrial, with metal, brick and vast open spaces. The furniture used for this type of space will often be minimalist, but not always – most of the time it might be eclectic, artistic and creative, using a mix of antiques and more modern types of furniture. You don’t have to live in a post-industrial area to have a loft- a lot of developers started to copy this style and are building brand new modern lofts with residential luxuries like ample heating and storage space, but keeping the desirable industrial features like huge windows and high ceilings.
Cottagecore is a relatively new concept, and it seems to have taken off in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Why? Cottage Core is reminiscent of a simpler time, influenced by western cottage farm life. Yes, it’s an idealised version of country life much like Marie Antoinette’s Hameau de la Reine at Versailles, but why can’t we take our living room inspiration from what we want the world to look like? Types of furniture for Cottagecore style include distressed or raw wood, natural colours like raw linen, faded moss or light blues. Accessories to adorn your dining room furniture can be jars of herbs, wildflower bouquets or antique plates put on display. While the furniture types for this style are mostly eclectic and whimsical, you can invest in items like a retro design refrigerator or a farmhouse sink to really bring it together.
Not far off from Cottagecore is the French Provincial style. This is a particularly interesting style, especially when it comes to types of furniture used. The original style copies old country farmhouses with a naughty twist – some furniture types used in those farmhouse kitchens were luxury items. Often stolen from palaces of the unfortunate royalty and nobility during the French revolution. This produced a rather eclectic but interesting mix of all different types of influences. Big farmhouse sinks and heavy wooden furniture crisscrossed with fanciful embellishments – like a Rococo styled mirror or a painting in an overly embellished Baroque frame. An interesting collection of objects indeed.
The Scandinavian style is simple, with different types of raw wood, natural wool, stone, and linen colours that create a feeling of coziness – or hygge. Some of the best interior design for the home comes from Scandinavia. The living room is usually open and bright, with light colours used for the walls and rather minimalist types of furniture – with warm accents like pillows, knitted blankets or sheepskin. Bare windows and minimalism also are a hallmark of Scandinavian home style, which has its origins in the 1950s. The better known deigners of this type of Nordic design are Arne Jacobsen, Ingvar Kamprad, Alvarr Aalto and Hans Wegner.
There could very well be a whole book if not a dictionary written about the subject of furniture, and different types of furniture. In fact, there are thousands of books written about the subject already. Materials, styles, philosophies, time periods, and design schools – it’s a fascinating subject.
Whether you’re furnishing your home from scratch or looking for extra storage, make sure to do your research, try not to clutter, and give yourself some breathing room. Make use of this guide to types of furniture and above all, do your research!