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In any organization, furniture covers a wide variety of different item, which will be in constant use and yet should retain their overall good appearance. People are seldom as careful of other people’s property as they are of their own and the handling of furniture by large numbers of people results in harder use than if one person was using it all time.

Therefore furniture needs to be:

  • Practical in design, size etc.,

  • Comfortable to use,

  • Sturdy to withstand considerable wear and tear (maintenance free),

  • Easy to clean and maintain,

  • Price must be within the means of the establishment.


Whatsoever the type of an establishment is, each piece of furniture must be fit for its purpose and meet the requirements of the guests and the housekeeper.

The following points should be considered when choosing individual pieces:

  • type of guest expected and standard of accommodation,

  • guests’ length of stay,

  • atmosphere to be achieved, e.g. modern, ‘old world’, and degree of comfort,

  • shape and size of article in relation to the human body (the science of ergonomics)

  • the durability of the article,

  • versatility and flexible for movement etc.,

  • ease of cleaning, e.g. castors on heavier items, shelves instead of drawers,

  • drawers with wipe-easy surfaces rather than lined, use of shelf-shine protective coatings,

  • standardization – items may be moved from room to room as required.


Style, Design and Construction

The style of any piece of furniture must tone in with the rest, though it will not necessarily be of similar design. Design and size are closely related to comfort, for inappropriate design or size may interface with the proper function or the serviceability of an article. The width of the seat and the shape of the back of the chair are important to its comfort: the height of the table and the chair in relation to each other, the height and depth of the wardrobe and the length and width of the bed are other examples. Ergonomics is important when considering shape and size of pieces of furniture in relation to the body.

Serviceability will also depend on design; shelves are probably more serviceable in the bedroom than drawers, and ‘built-in’ furniture can save space, labour, floor and wall coverings.

Flexibility and movability of furniture may be required in some places to enable the rooms to be put to different uses like extra bed, conversion of room to syndicate room for conferences, exhibitions etc., when not only has the room to be set up in the morning but also returned to normal in the late afternoon or early evening.

Easily cleaned furniture, because of its design and the material from which it is made, is of importance in all establishments but especially so when there is the possibility of a quick turn round of rooms (fast check in – checkouts).


The method of construction and materials used will affect price, appearance and durability and the finished article should:

  • be free from rough, unfinished edges or surfaces,

  • be free from surplus adhesive,

  • have the correct type of joints which fit well,

  • stand firm on the floor and be rigid in use,

  • if a cupboard or wardrobe, be stable and balanced whether empty or full,

  • have drawers which run smoothly,

  • have doors which fit properly and have stays to prevent them opening too far,

  • have sliding which runs smoothly,

  • have efficient locks, catches, hinges etc,

  • have handles conveniently placed, comfortable to hold and free from sharp edges,

  • have castors with no sharp edges.


When selecting furniture the following points should also be considered:

1. The furniture should be in proportion to the size of the room, dimensions of the room and available space should be kept in mind at the time of selecting furniture.

To bring in harmony in furnishing its proportion should relate to the rooms architectural design. E.g. Rectilinear rooms look good with rectilinear furnishings. If we have carved or curved openings, carved or curved furniture should be selected.


2. The furniture should be of plain design. Unless an article of furniture is useful as well as beautiful it should not be allowed occupy space.

3. The furniture should be comfortable and sturdy. Nearly all the furniture should be made for a person of average height. A standard easy chair is 22-24” deep and is 17” high and a bit lower at the back. Other chairs are about 19” deep and 18” high. Arms should be at least 7” above the seat. The seat back should normally be 17*19” high.

4. At the time of selecting furniture, one must take care of its construction. One should make a complete examination of it; its draws, joints, surfaces, edges, backs and undersides should be examined. Check the:

  • RIGIDITY: All furniture should stand firmly by jiggling. All the legs should be even and firm. One should place a hand firmly on a table or chest or drawers etc. and try to rock it back and forth. It should be sturdy enough to withstand firm pressure. Any place which wobbles or jiggles is poorly constructed.

  • UNEXPOSED PARTS: The finishing on the underneath part of a table, chair etc. should be sanded smooth with a sandpaper and stained to match the rest of the piece. On poor quality furniture, these unexposed areas may have little finishing. The wood may be rough and uneven and the colours may not match.

  • JOINTS: The various sections of a piece of furniture must be joined firmly and securely. Careful joinery is an art that is of utmost importance to the consumer. Nails, screws, glue are also used to hold sections together at points of strain. Nails are the least desirable but they are quick and cheap to use. Various methods are used to join the framework of chairs, tables, desks etc. On high-quality furniture, the joining is nearly perfectly matched as smooth and tight. Few types of joints are

    • Butt: A butt is a simple joining made by nailing or glueing two ends together. It will not withstand much strain.

    • Dovetail: A series of projections fit into a series of grooves. The grooves are often fan-shaped. This is a secure joining and indicates good craftsmanship.

    • Dowel: A small peg of wood is used to join two edges. The dowel pins are used for various types of joining on chairs, frames etc.

    • Double-Dowel: Provide added stability.

    • Lap: Two pieces have equal sized grooves so that they join firmly when placed together.

    • Miter: Square corners are often mitred. Each edge is cut at a 45° angle and the two are held together with glue or nails.

    • Mortice and Tenon: This is one of the strongest joints for frames of chairs. A groove also called a mortise on one edge is cut to fit a projection called tenon on the other edge. The projection and the groove may be square, rectangular or triangular. Sometimes glue or screws are added for extra stability.

    • Tongue and Groove: A projection on one edge fits into a matching groove on the other edge.

  • CORNER BLOCKS: Triangular pieces of wood are often used to support and reinforce the frames of tables, case goods and seating pieces. They are screwed and glued into place to keep one side from pulling away from the other.

  • GRAIN: Grains of wood in legs or posts of furniture should run vertically otherwise the chair or article might split with the grain.

  • FINISHES: The surface of the wood is treated and polished to develop a beautiful patina colour. Patina is the mellowness or glow that comes from rubbing and polishing. The grained pattern is carefully placed to enhance the design of the piece. The initial steps of finishing may be done by a machine but the final operations in high-quality furniture are usually done by hand. Several sanding and applications of stain develop a uniformity of colour and bring out the beauty of the grained pattern. Some woods must have a sealer to close off the pores of the grain. Wood finishes are applied:

    • To produce or develop colour.

    • To seal off the pores and produce a smooth and levelled surface. To protect the wood from heat and moisture.

    • To decorate the surface.

  • DRAWERS: the drawers should glide back and forth easily. They may be mounted on metal tracks, with wheels or ball-bearings to ensure easy movement. A drawer stop or a tiny lock on the back of the drawer prevents it from pulling all the way out. The inside of the drawer should be smoothly finished and treated with varnish. The top edges on the back and sides are rounded for smoother operations. All handles and hardware on any piece of furniture should be in keeping with the design of the piece. They should be firm and substantial enough to withstand strain over a long period of time.

  • TABLE TOPS: The joinery on the table top should be barely visible. The table leaves need to fit perfectly when inserted in the table.

  • CABINETS: Open and close all the doors making sure that they do not sag. Check to see if the doors fit well.

  • LOCKS: If buying in bulk care should be taken to ensure that all locks are different and that duplicate or replacement keys are available.


Classification of Furniture

  • Wooden furniture

  • Wicker and cane furniture

  • Metal furniture

  • Plastic


Upholstery Material

The upholstery coverings will to great extent determine the appearance, durability and cost of the piece of furniture and may be made from textiles, i.e. woven fabrics, hide or plastics. The covering required to be:

  • Resistant to abrasion, snagging, creasing, soil and fading,

  • Non-flammable,

  • Non-shading,

  • Pest proof,

  • Easily cleaned

  • Elasticity & resiliency


Types of Coverings

a.Textiles- Cotton based, Satin, Velvet, Organza, net, Corduroy, Leather

The textile coverings are the types of fibre, yarn and weave used in the production of the fabric.

Smooth fabrics, e.g. brocades and damasks of cotton, rayon or synthetic fibres show soiling more but hold dust less than the rougher, textured fabrics of wool, wool/nylon and wool/Evan mixtures. The latter has a warmer appearance, are less slippery and are less likely to show shine on clothes when sat on.

Cut and uncut pile fabrics, e.g. velvet, corduroy, or moquette made of wool, cotton, rayon or synthetic fibres are hardwearing but hold the dust, and cut pile fabrics may show shadowing.

The use of synthetic fibres, e.g. nylon, dralon etc, either alone or in the mixtures and blends increases the durability and ease of cleaning of many coverings.

b. Plastic – vinyl

There are many plastic materials available. They are more easily cleaned, equally hardwearing and less expensive than leather coverings. They are mainly vinyl.

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