The 5 Main Types of Furniture 

There are many ways to categorize furniture. For instance, you can group furniture pieces by their location within the house. This way, you’d have bedroom furniture, living room furniture, kitchen furniture, and so forth.

You can also categorize furniture broadly as exterior furniture and interior. This way, all furniture primarily stationed outside the house is considered exterior, while those inside the house are called interior furniture.

A third, and perhaps the most helpful way to categorize furniture, is by function. If you’re planning a major remodel or starting a new life in a new home, the following are the five main types of furniture by function to guide you through shopping.

1. Sofas

The first type of furniture is sofas. Also known by different names such as couches, davenports, and settees, sofas are long pieces of upholstered furniture typically stationed in living rooms or family rooms.

A living room with a yellow couch and coffee table.

The average sofa is about 70 inches long and has raised arms and a raised back. Sofas may also have built-in beds. Such sofas can be valuable if you don’t have enough space for sleeping or in case of a shortage of beds in the house.

A sofa can be a three-seater, a love seater, or an L-shaped unit. Three-seater sofas are generally 35 inches deep by 854 inches wide, while love sofas are 35 inches deep by 60 inches wide on average. L-shaped sofas typically combine a love seat and a 32×30 inch single-seater.

2. Chairs

Chairs are the next most common furniture pieces in the home besides sofas. The standard chair comprises two main parts – a back and seat – attached at a 90-degree angle or a slightly wider angle. The four corners of the seat are fixed or supported by four legs to raise the chair from the ground to the desired height.

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Two chairs in front of a bookcase.
The 5 main types of furniture – chairs

Chair legs are traditionally kept at knee height to allow the seated person’s knees to form a 90-degree or lesser angle. This is more comfortable as well as healthier.

Different chairs are made from different materials. Although the majority are made from wood, other materials such as metal and synthetics are also common. The seat may or may not be padded. Sometimes the entire chair is upholstered. Chairs also come in different styles, from wing chairs to slipper chairs and chaises to recliners.

3. Tables

The table is a piece of furniture with a flat top supported by four legs. It’s used as a surface for working, eating, or placing items. Tables also come in different shapes and styles. Whereas the standard table is rectangular, tables for smaller rooms can be square or even circular. Meanwhile, larger spaces feel better with oval tables.

A dining room with a wooden table and chairs. (Keywords: dining room, wooden)
The 5 main types of furniture – table

The most important thing to know about tables, though, is purpose/function. If you’re buying a table, ask yourself what you want to do with it. The four main types of tables (function) are dining tables, study tables, bedside tables, and dressing tables. You may even come across TV tables.

Remember to choose the right size depending on function. For instance, the standard dining table is about 30 inches high. Also, make sure to pick the right material.

4. Bed

The bed is another critical piece of furniture in the home as it’s where we sleep or rest when we’re tired. In general, the standard bed comprises a soft, cushioned mattress on a wooden frame. The mattress typically rests on a sild base, often wood slats, or a specially designed spring base.

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In the latter case, the spring base is a large, mattress-sized box containing wood and springs. These elements provide support and suspension for the mattress and help keep the user off the floor.

Beds are available in different shapes and sizes, ranging from infant-sized cribs and bassinets to small beds for single users and through to massive king-size beds designed for two adults. The King bed can be as large as 76 inches x 80 inches.

5. Cabinets

Finally, cabinets are also a must-have in many homes. If they’re missing, they’re likely on the way. The basic cabinet is found in nearly every room, from the kitchen to the bathroom, serving aesthetic and practical functions. For instance, the kitchen cabinet is the primary storage location while also providing décor qualities.

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Cabinets come in various sizes and shapes, with the size sometimes suggesting the purpose. Cabinets also come in a wide range of styles, from modern/contemporary to traditional.

Two other considerations when shopping for cabinets are permanency and material. Fixed cabinets that are fixed to the room are very common. However, standalone units that can be moved around are also available. Most cabinets are made from wood or MDF.


Obviously, you may want to add several other types of furniture to your home, including cupboards in the kitchen, a bench in the living room, and a nightstand in the bedroom. However, the above five are by far the most important.

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