Types of Furniture and Their Room-By-Room Uses

Updated: May 02, 2024

The pieces, places and purposes for each type of furniture in your home.

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armoire in kids room
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Armoire

Definition

An armoire is a tall piece of furniture often used to store clothing. There’s usually a larger or taller compartment inside on top or running down one side, and sometimes drawers on the side or bottom. It’s traditionally enclosed with doors or cabinet fronts.

 AKAs

  • Wardrobe;
  • Chiffarobe.

Rooms used

Although armoires can be big and heavy, they’re room-flexible for all kinds of storage needs:

  • Mudroom, to store coats and gear;
  • Kitchen or pantry, to store nonperishables, dishes or cooking gear;
  • Living room, to corral games, books and other small items;
  • Bedroom, for clothing or bedding needs.

Related furnishing

Clothing valet to hang suits, shirts, pants, etc. These usually have no enclosures, and can run from the basic to the finely crafted. Some include a built-in chair. They’re great for small bedrooms.

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Interior of bedroom at home
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Bed

Definition

Usually a rectangular, flat piece of furniture consisting of a frame, mattress and sometimes a headboard and/or footboard. Meant for sleeping or rest.

AKAs

Beds are beds, but they’re also known by type: four-poster; canopy; bunk (one on top of another); trundle (a mattress slides underneath the main bed to save space and rolls out as a guest bed); platforms (lower to the ground than a traditional bed frame with mattress and coil springs); daybeds (which look more like a sofa); futons; and Murphy beds, which fold up into a wall when not in use.

Rooms used

Typically, just bedrooms, although some can be found in an office or spare room for guests. Daybeds and futons can be used elsewhere in the house as seating with the right throw pillows and accents.

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Wooden cuisine cabinet with clean dishes. Scandinavian style kitchen interior. Organization of storage in kitchen. Different kind of cookware and ceramic plates on tabletop. Cleaning at kitchen
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Cabinets/Cabinetry

Definition

Here, cabinetry is defined as freestanding furniture for storage and organization, usually consisting of a box and a front. It can also feature shelving or drawers. Built-in cabinetry is part of a wall in your home.

AKAs

Pieces of furniture that fall under this category include, but are not limited to:

  • China cabinets (used for storing fine china and other less-used serving pieces, among other items);
  • Cupboards;
  • Curio cabinets (usually tall and enclosed with glass to display collections and other items);
  • Hutches;
  • Filing cabinets;
  • Liquor cabinets;
  • Pie safes (hot on furniture resale sites now, probably in part due to Cottagecore trends);
  • Record cabinets.

Rooms used

Just about anywhere.

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Turquoise blue armchairs on parquet floor in the living room
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Chair

Definition

A piece of furniture for sitting or reclining, containing a back, seat and sometimes arms, depending on the style. They can be used as a main statement piece or purely for function. Styles vary widely.

AKAs

  • Accent/occasional chair;
  • Armchair;
  • Barstool;
  • Dining chair;
  • Chaise lounge;
  • Glider;
  • Recliner;
  • Rocker.

Rooms used

One of the most versatile furnishings, chairs can be found in nearly every room in the house, often with specific designs for each room and use.

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Retro style, wooden sideboard with green plants and a poster on a white wall in a simple apartment interior with herringbone hardwood floor. Real photo.
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Credenza

Definition

A specialized type of cabinetry or cupboard. A credenza is usually a long, lower piece that includes smaller cabinets or drawers that hold dishes, flatware or other serving pieces. They’re housed under a surface meant for serving food or displaying items.

Credenzas are usually in a dining room or kitchen. Styles vary.

AKAs

  • Buffet;
  • Sideboard.

Rooms used

  • Dining rooms;
  • Kitchens;
  • Offices;
  • Living rooms;
  • Sunrooms.

Credenzas really had a moment in the midcentury modern craze of the early aughts. Furniture collectors love them for their design and versatility in the home.

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Work at home office, modern simple desk
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Desk

Definition

Essentially a small table for writing, reading or typing at a computer. The top can be flat or angled. The desk can include drawers or cabinets underneath the work surface. They come in many styles.

AKAs

  • Roll-top desk;
  • Secretary (typically more vertical, with shelving or cabinets above the work surface).

Rooms used

Offices, mainly, but also bedrooms. You’ll occasionally find a more built-in desk in kitchens of the 1970s through 1990s. They can be tucked in alcoves, too.

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Old solid wood furniture
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Dresser

Definition

Dressers are pieces of cabinetry, often with a top surface for displaying items and a set of drawers beneath for storing clothing. Some come with a mirror attached to the top.

AKAs

  • Bureau;
  • Chest of drawers;
  • Highboy;
  • Lowboy;
  • Tallboy.

Rooms used

  • Bedroom;
  • Office;
  • Living room.
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A general interior view of a lounge with yellow accent chair with navy blue cushion, sideboard with flat screen television set, floor standing tripod style lamp
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Entertainment Center

Definition

A freestanding piece of furniture with the TV as the focal point, along with sound equipment and other electronics. Often framed by shelving to holding accessories and media like movies, books, knick-knacks and photos.

AKAs

Sometimes called a TV stand, although those are usually smaller and more simply designed.

Rooms used

  • Living room;
  • Den;
  • Movie room;
  • Large bedrooms.
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ottoman
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Ottoman

Definition

A low, typically upholstered and sometimes padded seat or footstool. Some are hollow for storage, with a top panel on hinges. Can also be used near seating areas as a coffee table. Smaller versions feature recliner-type chairs without a built-in footstool.

AKAs

Rooms used

  • Living rooms or dens, primarily where there’s a couch or recliner;
  • Bathroom or bedroom in front of a vanity;
  • In nearly any room as an accent.
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Yellow cups, amber coloured glass drinking glasses and jug and potted plant are displayed on wooden shelves made from reclaimed scaffold boards supported by gold colored metal brackets
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Shelving

Definition

A flat length of material, often wood or metal, attached to a frame. Shelving can be freestanding or hung. Handy to store or display art, books, music and other smaller items.

AKAs

  • Bookshelf;
  • Display shelf;
  • Etagere.

The Barrister’s bookcase is hot right now. These are often wooden bookshelves encased with glass fronts, which may have a twist lock to close. The shelf fronts lift up and out, then slides back to reveal what’s behind them.

Rooms used

Virtually every room of the house can feature shelving of many kinds. Most frequently found in:

  • Dens;
  • Living rooms;
  • Bedrooms.
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couch with pillows in living room
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Sofa

Definition
A long, lower upholstered (fabric or leather) furnishing for sitting, reclining or sleeping. It can seat two or more people. While taking various forms, from L-shapes to sectionals to round, it’s typically one linear piece.

AKAs

  • Couch;
  • Davenport;
  • Divan;
  • Fainting couch (typically with one arm; may have a curvy silhouette);
  • Loveseat (typically a two-seater);
  • Settee.

Rooms Used

  • Den;
  • Living room;
  • Entertainment/recreation room.
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A general view of a dining table with a place setting, plain grey dinner set, plate, bowl, place mat, wine glass and cutlery
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Table

Definition

A piece of furniture with a flat surface top and legs, used for eating meals, playing games, working and more.

AKAs

Names vary by design, function and placement in the home, including:

  • Accent/occasional tables;
  • Coffee tables;
  • Consoles;
  • Dining tables;
  • Nightstands;
  • Side tables.

Trending now: Antique woodworking benches which may have a crank and a smaller, narrower design. They’re often repurposed into bars.

Rooms used

Nearly every room in a house can feature a table.