Furniture Design Follows Function


Have you ever wondered about mankind’s initial attempts at furniture design? Imagine this; long ago some innovative Neanderthal decided he was tired of sitting on the cold, sometimes damp ground around the campfire. He found himself a comfy looking rock and rolled it close to the fire. This clever Neanderthal had just created the first piece of furniture. By the standards of the day he did rather well; his rock kept his rear end dry and the proximity of his rock seat to the fire allowed it to be warm any time he decided to use it.


Tutankhamun's wooden chest from this pharaoh's...

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As time passed man’s ability to create utilitarian furniture evolved into making furniture that was not only useful but comfortable and decorative. The ancient Egyptians were masters at designing furniture for both beauty and comfort. They used head and neck rests for comfort; these were often highly decorated with symbolic figures. A look at the treasures entombed with the pharaoh Tutankhamen give a glimpse into the type of furniture the Boy King used in real life. Many of the artifacts are covered in real gold and decorated with religious emblems and scenes of everyday life.

The Greeks were among the first to make 4-legged wooden stools with seats made of woven rushes for comfort. The Romans were the first to use a lathe to turn wood and create furniture legs. Couches became extremely popular in upper class Roman villas. Roman couches were very luxurious and were heavily cushioned for total comfort.

Originally furniture was very simple; furniture was for sitting on or for storing things. Only the very wealthy could afford furniture that was considered decorative. It was not until 1754 when Thomas Chippendale’s pattern book was published (“The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker Director”) that names were even associated to particular furniture. Even today we hear of Chippendale and Chippendale type furniture; he was truly the first name brand furniture designer.

Successful furniture designers have found the magic formula that blends form, function and beauty. When you think of furniture do you first think of it as decorative or as functional? A truly excellent piece of furniture is both, it is useful and it is attractive.

One of the challenges facing today’s furniture designers is how to please the market; in other words, how to design what buyers are looking for. Today’s consumer is an extremely eclectic mix. Mass manufacturers can easily diversify their designs to meet with the vast majority of demand.

However, many furniture consumers find custom designed furniture to be the perfect choice. There are excellent craftsmen who specialize in creating magnificent museum quality oversize furniture for customers who need larger, durable pieces. Persons who are not “average” sized benefit greatly from commissioning furniture built to their specifications. Oversize furniture for plus-sized people is as beautiful and stylish as any furniture made. Self-designing your furniture means you choose the material, the dimensions and the style. Custom built furniture is a wonderful way to adapt your environment to you, not the other way around.

We design beautiful custom furniture for everyone’s needs at Big Drawer Furniture. Let us help you with your next project.

Focus on Coffee Tables


Many of us take our coffee tables for granted. We walk by them every day, we dump papers on them, we carefully dust them and every so often we move them around the room. Usually we don’t take the time to really look closely at our coffee tables; we just assume they are the same as ever. It’s time to get a good close look at your coffee table and review its place in your living room décor.

If you find yourself ignoring your current coffee table it is time to get a new one. If you don’t have one, think about having Big Drawers build you one to complement your living room décor.

First of all you need to decide what you expect out of a coffee table. Realistically, will it end up being a “catch-all” for the remotes and newspapers? Will it be the highlight of the room? Do you want all eyes to be instantly drawn to it when people enter the room? Do you have small children in the home? There are many factors to consider when selecting a coffee table.

Make a proportionate sketch of the room where the table will be placed. Make sure there is plenty of room for the table; you want to avoid clutter if you expect the table to be noticed. When it comes to picking the size for your table, the general rule is that the coffee table should be 2/3 the length of the sofa; its height should be 1”-2” lower than the sofa seat. Of course, this is only a guideline. The most important consideration is the dimension of the area where the table will be located and the way it will interact with the other furniture.

If you have small children in the home you will want a table that is durable, functional and safe. For example, a glass top coffee table is not a safe nor wise choice for the home with small children since the glass can shatter. For the home where entertaining is common, a coffee table that is both functional and eye catching would be the best choice. Choosing a gorgeous wood table that could be damaged by spills might not be a good selection in this case. FYI, alcoholic beverages can easily ruin fine wood finishes.

There are no limits to the styles and materials available for modern coffee tables. Ultra-contemporary coffee tables feature minimalist styling, bold colors and clean lines. They frequently are made from glass, metal, stone or leather. Modern designs created in wood are also in high demand.

If you want your coffee table to be the main attraction in the room, a custom built table made of the finest wood is the perfect selection. The advantage to custom building a piece of furniture is that it will be the only one, it will be unique. There are so many gorgeous woods from which to choose. Hardwoods such as oak, cherry and maple will last hundreds of years with proper care. Hire a master wood craftsman to build you a coffee table masterpiece that will last a lifetime. All eyes will be on the table, just as you planned.