Furniture is household equipment, usually made of wood and sometimes other materials. It ranges from a simple pine chest to a gilded console table or marquetry work cabinet. Both functional and decorative aspects of a piece of furniture have varied throughout history according to fashion and economics.
Early furniture was covered with animal hides or leather. Later materials included burlap, boiled wool, cotton and velvet. New fasteners, such as nails and tacks, became available to hold these coverings on to the wooden frames of pieces of furniture. The padded fabric coverings on upholstered chairs were held in place with buttons, clips and tacks as well.
Modern manufacturing techniques have enabled a variety of new types of furniture to be produced. Some examples are pressed or laminated woods, plywood and hardboard (fibreboard). Furniture makers also use different methods of construction in order to produce certain shapes or styles of furniture such as:
One important consideration when choosing furniture is durability. Durable, quality furniture will last a long time and should stand up to heavy usage. A good way to judge the durability of furniture is to run a fingernail firmly across its surface. It should leave a mark, but not a deep one. Also look for furniture that has dovetailed or mortise and tenon joints as these indicate strong, quality construction. Finally, it is a good idea to look for the gold label indicating that a piece of furniture has been made with the UFAC method for fire resistance.