Types of Furniture Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Furniture comes in all types, and it has changed throughout history. In this lesson, learn about the historical origins of furniture, how furniture has adapted over time, and different types of furniture.

Furniture Everywhere

What did the cat say when accused of getting hair all over the couch? Well, it is called FURniture! Good one, right?

Most likely, furniture is something you don't think about much. But you're probably using furniture right now, maybe sitting on a chair or at a desk. There are all different types of furniture, and the purposes and styles of furniture have changed over time. Let's explore different types of furniture, from crude ancient forms to the modern pieces of today.

Early Furniture

In ancient civilizations, furniture didn't look like what we are used to today. Simple items found in nature often served as pieces of furniture, like rocks piled together used for storage cupboards. Rocks were even used for beds. Ouch! Some people were able to afford a little more complicated pieces, but these were not exactly the comfortable pieces that we are used to today. Still, they were types that functioned similar to some of the furniture we have now, like couches.

This couch was most likely built for someone in a wealthy class, and was a much simpler version of couches today.
Roman couch

Changes Over Time

As people became more sophisticated and learned how to use tools, furniture changed as well. Wooden beds, tables and chairs were common, although not for everyone. Nice furniture beyond the simple basics was mostly for the wealthy.

After a dark period of time called the Middle Ages, life began to get more comfortable for everyone. After this era, furniture was made to be sturdy, because the goal was to use it from generation to generation. You might inherit your mother's cupboard and then give it to your children one day. Hopefully, unlike Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard, that cupboard won't be bare!

Furniture was not only more sturdy, but it was fancier also. Wooden pieces were carved with intricate designs and covered with protective coatings of lacquer so they would last longer. Lacquer is a liquid that is brushed on to raw wood, and when it dries it hardens to create a protective coating.

Furniture after the Middle Ages became more ornate, with detailed wood carvings and fabrics.

Furniture makers also began to use methods to reduce the cost of making pieces. Many carpenters who built furniture would use a technique using veneers. This meant they would use a cheap piece of wood for most of the chair or table, but then cover it with thin strips of a more expensive wood to make it look like it cost more.

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