The idea of a modern home and office brings to mind a spacious place--one that’s bright and cosy and where people can feel relaxed yet motivated to get important things done. There will be a few pieces of nice modern furniture, some state-of-the-art equipment, and a few embellishments that give a warm vibe.
The design of modern interiors and modern furniture are not without basis. In this article, we will look into the most notable features of modern furniture for modern spaces. What makes these furniture different? Why do many homes and offices prefer them over others?
Aside from that, we will also look into a few historical facts about furniture so that we have an understanding of why there are so many existing furniture styles. We’ll also briefly discuss how furniture pieces and sets can be classified according to the reason why they were designed in the first place and the materials used to design them.
- I. Definition & Evolution of Furniture
- II. Classifications of Furniture
- III. Top Features of Modern Furniture
- A. Form follows Function
- B. Adaptable and Adjustable
- C. Simple and Sophisticated
- D. Uncluttered instead of Adorned
- E. Natural and Neutral Colors
- IV. Advantages of Modern Homes and Offices
- V. Summary & Conclusion
Definition & Evolution of Furniture: An Overview
Ever since the beginning of human civilization, people have used different elements of nature to meet their different needs. Some records say that people from the earliest eras may have used tree stumps, rocks, and other materials from nature to provide them areas for eating, sitting, and sleeping. As such, we can say that people have had furniture even during the prehistoric times.
The evolution of furniture can be segmented according to different periods. However, so as not to overwhelm you with a lengthy historical narrative, we will summarize the evolution of furniture into three phases: (a) the Early Eras that highlighted decorative features and cultural symbols, (b) the Industrial Era which emphasized mass-production and revival of styles, and (c) the Modern and Post-World War II Eras that incorporate technology and style into the form, function, and other elements of furniture.
As we have learned, furniture have existed even during the prehistoric times. What’s more, some excavated artifacts from the paleolithic and neolithic periods prove that people during those times learned to build different types of furniture.
For example, a recovered Venus figurine shows a goddess sitting on a throne, which means that they have had seats like thrones during the early times. Also, another figurine from around 6000 to 5500 BCE, known as the Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük, depicts a woman on a seat with armrests.
These artifacts reveal the functional purpose of furniture back in the day. However, it is also true that serving a function was not always the primary purpose of furniture. In fact, in the early eras, when cultural expression and religious symbolisms drove most of the creative endeavors of people, furniture makers put more emphasis on decorative elements than they did on functional features.
Styles also varied across different times and civilizations, which can be attributed to the various building techniques that prevailed through different ages. The availability of materials was also an important factor as makers used what they had copious amounts of.
This era is marked by a sudden growth of the workforce and the prevalence of mass production. Due to the technological advancements of this time, furniture making became easier and more efficient. What once was an art that only a few craftspeople can create became a typical product that industries can easily manufacture.
The downside, however, is that unique artistry became less emphasized. Instead, furniture manufacturers depended on reviving the styles of older furniture by imitating their designs--sometimes even combining several styles in a single piece of furniture.
Because of this, furniture from the Industrial Era became known for having excessive ornamentation that represents one or more revival styles.
Modern & Post-WWII Eras
While revival styles bring forward the designs made in the past, modern furniture are those that highlight the present and the future. Modern furniture is made with materials that were only developed during the modern era, like plastic, fiberglass, and laminated plywood. Also popular are the use of wood, patterned fabrics, and polished metal.
Modern furniture boasts of several features that kept them popular among many homeowners and workplaces--features that we will tackle in a bit. However, before we go farther, it’s important that we also understand the difference between modern and contemporary furniture since these two are often confused with each other.
Basically, contemporary furniture are those that feature the prevailing styles of the present. They can change as trends change. Modern furniture, on the other hand, have distinct features that will distinguish them from other designs for all time.
Classifications of Furniture
Aside from identifying furniture types according to their style and the era they originated from, furniture can also be classified according to their purpose and the materials used to construct them. This way of classifying is much simpler, and this is also one of the easiest ways by which furniture buyers can narrow down their choices.
According to Purpose
This way of classifying puts the function of a piece of furniture at the center. Is it to support people who are working? Is it for lying down or relaxing? Is it for supporting one’s feet while the person is seated on a chair?
Because of the innumerable furniture designs that have been invented, it can be challenging to classify all of them. However, the common purposes that people look for in furniture include:
- For working - some examples are office desks, drawing boards, whiteboards, etc.
- For dining - some examples are dining tables and chairs, kitchen cabinets, etc.
- For sitting - some examples are office chairs, patio or lawn chair, etc.
- For sleeping - some examples are bed frames, sleeping chairs, etc.
- For relaxing - some examples are couches, recliners, flip chairs, etc.
- For storage - some examples are closets, cabinets, safes, etc.
Some furniture pieces are designed for more than one function. For example, a flip chair can be for sitting, lying down, and for sleeping. Some types of dining tables may also be converted into a work table or a surface where one can display their collections like books, framed photos, or any other object.
According to Application
This classification is related to grouping furniture according to their purpose. However, instead of emphasizing a piece of furniture’s function, the emphasis is placed on what type of place the furniture would fit in. As such, furniture pieces can be classified as office furniture, living room furniture, kitchen furniture, bedroom furniture, and the like.
Some furniture manufacturers design furniture pieces that they sell as complete sets. These sets are intended to support various human activities in specific areas. A living room set, for example, may include comfortable seats, a center table, a lamp stand, and other furniture pieces that make a comfortable and stylish living space. Furniture sets offer plenty of advantages, including their uniformity in terms of palette and overall design.
According to Material
Another way of classifying furniture is by identifying the primary material or materials used to make them. The common furniture types according to material include those made of wood, plastic, metal, leather, glass, upholstery, and a combination of two or more of these materials.
Most types of modern furniture incorporate different types of materials to provide the best possible level of comfort to people.
Top Features of Modern Furniture
Furniture is defined in various ways. A common definition refers to furniture as large and movable objects that support human activities. In this definition, some examples of furniture include dining tables, office or home office workstations, and stools.
These mentioned types of furniture are often designed on the basis of the modern style. What is this style and how is it different from others? Below are five of its finest features favored by many homes and offices.
Form follows Function
This tagline is probably one of the most popular lines associated with modern furniture. “Form follows function” means that modern furniture is designed to meet a particular purpose and to meet it successfully. It means that purpose precedes style, which is a preference of many who are after practical purchases.
Some examples of furniture for sale where function is a more important concern than form are workstations, office chairs, high chairs for infants and toddlers, book shelves, and many more.
Adaptable and Adjustable
The modern style, particularly for workplaces, is after boosting workers’ productivity. However, unlike the older work culture where everyone is stationed in a specific area and focused on their own job, modern workplaces are more flexible. This flexibility is partnered by modern furniture with their adaptable and adjustable features.
Thus, whether a task requires individual work or a collaborative one with a group of people, modern furniture are intended to meet the different setups that workers may need.
Flexibility is also often necessary in other settings like schools, churches, and even restaurants and coworking spaces. Thankfully, flexibility has become a lot easier to achieve with the help of certain types of furniture like foldable or adjustable tables, movable classroom desks, room dividers, and others that allow quick and easy changing of a room layout.
Uncluttered instead of Adorned
Unlike the ornamented furniture styles of the early eras, modern furniture are less decorative. Instead of highlighting adornment, they put emphasis on neatness and giving an uncluttered vibe and look. Not only that, but some pieces of modern furniture are made for the very purpose of helping people declutter.
For example, fittings like mounting kits and accessory bars assist workers in organizing some of the components of their workstation, including cords, power strips, and others that can pose hazards if left disorganized. Designs like security safes with internal organizers have also become very common, as well as computer tables with designated trays and spaces for different computer components.
Modern furniture boasts of more straightforward designs. Some of them still have a few decorative elements, but their overall look leans more towards minimalism and simplicity.
Simple and Sophisticated
The simplicity of modern furniture is one of the reasons why they have remained popular despite the trends brought by contemporary designs. This characteristic makes them easy to blend with any interior design, making them convenient for home and business owners who regularly redesign or reorganize their spaces.
What’s more, modern furniture pairs up simplicity with sophistication. Although they aren’t very decorative, their aesthetic value is still appealing to the eyes, especially for people who aren’t fond of extravagant designs.
Some examples of furniture where simplicity and sophistication are often preferred include office sofas, drawers or cabinets, closets, and dining tables.
Natural and Neutral Colors
Another distinguishing feature of modern furniture is their use of a neutral palette. Unlike other designs that highlight bright and even metallic colors, modern furniture place more emphasis on earthy hues. As such, these furniture give a more natural appearance that easily goes well with other pieces of furniture, equipment, and other elements of interior design.
Advantages of Modern Homes and Offices
The five abovelisted features make modern furniture not only appealing but also convenient and practical. Although there are many other elements that must work together to create a modern home or office, one’s choice of furniture is definitely a crucial point that must be seriously considered.
Modern homes are known for having efficiently utilized spaces, for maximizing natural sources of light, and being as environmentally friendly as possible. The same goes for modern offices, with the addition of more body-friendly furniture, more efficient equipment, and other details that help promote productivity and well-being.
Modern furniture is designed with human factors in mind, and that in itself makes them a smart and practical choice for many.
Summary & Conclusion
There are various furniture designs from which homes and offices can pick from. Some designs feature revival styles while others, like contemporary furniture, showcase whatever designs are trendy at the current time.
On the other hand, modern furniture designs are more straightforward. They boast of plenty of appealing and practical features, including their functionality that precedes their form, their quality of being adjustable and simple, and their emphasis on neatness over being decorative.
What’s more, modern furniture makes use of neutral or earthy colors, making them easier to blend with various interior designs.Because of all these features, it’s easy to understand why many who buy furniture choose modern designs. Are these features suitable for your home or office too? Engineer Warehouse has a collection of furniture you can pick from. Feel free to browse and find the best furniture pieces for you.