Furniture design is a very special field in which both practicality and artistic beauty collide head-on. Many interior designers consider furniture to be one of the vital aspects of interior living space. Most pieces of furniture not just add practicality and function to a room, they also add character and style. The term “furniture” can mean many things and there are many different types of furniture that fall under this broad umbrella.
The term “custom furniture design” can refer to both commercial furniture designs and interior design. For the purposes of this article, custom furniture design will generally be substituted with “commercial furniture design.” Furniture designers can create furniture designs that are specifically for commercial settings, as opposed to residential areas. Commercial furniture designs are often more sophisticated and may utilize fancier finishes. The styles may be designed for larger spaces with a focus on practicality and function, or they may focus on making a statement through the unique aesthetics and materials used in their construction. Many times custom pieces are designed to enhance a company’s branding or show some form of unique innovation.
Most interior designers begin their careers by focusing on one particular area. This may be due to personal interests or career preferences. Interior designer schools will usually funnel their graduates into one of three major categories: architecture, industrial design, or furniture design. While most furniture designers begin their careers as architects, those who possess industrial design skills may choose to specialize in this area. Furniture designers may choose to pursue a certificate in either of these areas, however those pursuing this career option must complete an associate’s degree at a community college or vocational school first.
Every furniture designer will have a certain “style” or “look” that they are known for. Though there are many variations of design styles, the common elements found in all interior designers’ styles are contemporary and eclectic. Though this is the most common style, there are other styles that have become popular over the last few years including modern, rustic, or Victorian. Each furniture designer must follow certain guidelines when designing an interior space. These guidelines include the color scheme, type of wood used, size and shape of furniture, lighting and placement of furniture, and the architectural details of a space.
Wood is the most common element found in furniture design, and it is often seen in the construction of tables, chairs, and accents such as couches and loveseats. While there are many types of wood, maple, birch, ash, oak, mahogany, and cherry are the most common types. Other types of wood often seen are Wenge, Beech, Poplar, and pine. Those interested in using metal are often seen with bronze, wrought iron, chrome, and wrought silver finishes. Those interested in utilizing plastics as well as other man made materials are often found using wrought iron, aluminum, and fiberglass finishes.
The furniture designer must also consider the size of the room or space that they wish to design. Different types of wood will fit into different sized rooms. For instance, a small room where there is only a bed or two will require small pieces of wood such as end tables and armoires while a large room will require larger pieces of furniture such as a sofa and chair. In addition, different types of wood can be used in different areas of the home such as on the floor and in furniture closets.