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Furniture Information

Furniture Overview

Contract furnishing is an area covering everything from furniture for schools, hotel furniture, restaurant furniture and even hospitals. Office furniture is also a large section of this industry....more


Featured Furniture Companies (3 of 60)

  • Furniture designer Thomas Messel designs custom built, bespoke furniture for the worlds interior designers and their clients.

  • Demonstration of craftsmanship at its best, every piece is immaculately created from solid wood, using a combination of traditional skills and new...

  • David & Jane Paine Furniture supply top quality modern leather upholstered furniture that is hand crafted to the highest standards.


Furniture Explained

Furniture is a large essential and diverse category that spans many different sectors. Sectors catered for include commercial, public sector, industrial and residential. Furnishings are used to provide a functional and operational environment within a building and also offer an important contribution to interior design. During furniture design both form and function must be considered in order to create a valued design.

Residential furniture can be purchased in a variety of styles and is produced from many different materials depending on the effect required. Furniture can be purchased to fulfil every conceivable need within the home environment. Key examples include bedroom furniture which is considered an essential requirement in the developed world. On a basic level bedroom furniture includes essential products such as beds and mattresses. Other functional bedroom furniture items include shelves, bedside cabinets, bedside tables and wardrobes. Articles of bedroom furniture are generally purchased to complement each other in order to create an overall design theme. Themes may be traditional, which can typically be achieved with solid wood furniture. With the advent of flat packed furniture many different contemporary furniture styles with a range of finishes can be provided, along with designs that mimic natural wood work with substantial cost savings. Period furniture styles such as Edwardian and Victorian also remain ever popular with many furniture design companies offering bespoke furniture products to cater for this need. Bespoke furniture usually represents the higher end of the furniture market as items are generally hand made. More commonplace bespoke furniture solutions include fitted wardrobes where products are made to measure to individual space requirements. A number of niche furniture products have been developed to incorporate electrical products, examples include cabinets and drawers that can conceal televisions when not in use.

As modern manufacturing processes and composite materials have developed contemporary furniture styles have been able to become more elaborate for little extra cost. However a return to manufacturing niche furniture from more traditional materials, often in a creative and artistic manor, has occurred. Bespoke products include hand crafted ornate metal furniture and specialist glass furniture. Many items are produced in glass, such as chairs, tables and audio visual storage units, to name but a few.

Kitchen furniture represents a large section of the furniture industry output. Shifts in house design mean that houses now incorporate large dinning areas within kitchens and many are not built with separate dinning rooms. A kitchen has therefore become an important focal point of any home. In order to create the desired effect a wide range of kitchen furniture styles and construction formats are available on the market. Traditional styles are generally composed of wood or a quality wood veneer. Popular wood finishes are oak, beach and maple. Many laminated wood effect veneers are available to replicate real wood and can offer significant cost reductions over real wood. For a period property timber kitchen units may be an essential consideration. Many contemporary kitchen units are available in laminated format in which a wide selection of colours and styles are produced. Kitchen unit carcases represent the basic 'undressed' kitchen unit and are generally supplied preassembled in rigid carcase format or in flat pack format for self assembly. Most kitchen manufacturers offer a standard and premium carcase on to which the chosen style of doors and shelf fronts are attached to form the complete kitchen unit. Kitchen worktops can be supplied in many materials such as solid wood, natural stone and laminate and are simply attached to the chosen carcase. Marble worktops are a classic natural stone choice to provide a hardwearing and decorative surface finish. Cheaper coloured laminate work surfaces can also provide a heat resistant and eye catching finish. A number of kitchen specialists catering for the higher end of the market can offer bespoke kitchens with a design and installation service.

Furniture must also be designed to meet the specific needs of its operational environment. Both office and school furniture are designed to provide both form and function. A key specification for school and office furniture is durability which greatly influences material selections. Historically, as with other furniture, school furniture was made from wood, however with increasing wood prices furniture work tops are usually made from veneered chip board or MDF. Laboratory furniture is an important subdivision of school furniture where plastic veneered work tops are typically used in place of wood to provide an easy clean surface that is particularly important in a laboratory environment where chemicals are used. Complementary items like fume cupboards are also readily available. School chairs are built for function and durability. Typical modern school chairs are manufactured with a one piece plastic back and seat fixed to steel legs to enable multiple chair stacking. A number of companies specialise in turnkey school furniture packages where the design, installation and commissioning of school furniture is undertaken from start to finish.

One of the largest sectors of commercial furniture is office furniture. Office furniture is essential to the efficient function of an office environment and the overall interior design theme. Products must be designed for function and comfort as workers will rely on the products on a daily basis. General office furniture styles are more contemporary and are constructed using materials such as stainless steel, for an ultra modern effect, and laminated or varnished plywood to reduce costs. Bespoke office furniture, also referred to as made to measure office furniture, can be used to contribute towards a whole building interior design scheme. Interior design themes are used to promote and enhance company status. A bespoke design solution may be chosen to create a pleasant and admirable board room environment as a show case to potential customers. Here traditional materials are more likely to be used. Office chairs are a key area within any office setting as they must provide support and comfort to the user. A wide selection of office chairs are on the market produced from a range of materials. Leather effect or leather trimmed office chairs are popular for a more executive appeal, whilst fabric trimmed swivel chairs are common to suit a variety of postures. Office accessories from filing cabinets to book shelves can be purchased to complement many office styles. Office furniture solutions are well catered for with many companies able to offer complete office fit outs from concept to commissioning.

Shopfitters specialise in a number of services, from office and school fitouts, through to more tailor made purpose built furniture for use in libraries, bars and restaurants. Refurbishments are also required for these applications on a regular basis and are generally referred to as contract furniture.

An often forgotten area of the furniture industry is that of exterior furniture. Exterior furniture, usually used in the summer months, is common in residential and commercial environments. Within a residential environment outdoor furniture plays an important role in social functions and for relaxation purposes. In a commercial setting external furniture is commonly found in beer gardens and on patio areas. Specialist furniture is also available for concerts. All outdoor furniture is required to be durable and consequently long lasting materials such as metals (cast iron and aluminium), hardwood timber and heavy duty recycled plastics are commonly used to create various furniture forms. The picnic table represents a classic example.