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...

Image via Wikipedia

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.