There’s a lot of furniture vocabulary in English. I mean, furniture is a big part of our everyday lives, right?
So let’s take a walk around your home and learn the names of furniture in English!
Furniture in the bedroom
OK. Look at your bedroom!
What’s the most obvious thing in the room?
It’s the bed, right?
While I was researching this post, I realised something: We spend more time touching our bed than we do touching anything else.
That’s got to be true, right?
I mean, we spend a third of our lives in bed. More if we’re ill or hungover or just feeling really, really lazy.
Or, if you’re someone like Mark Twain or Winston Churchill, then you might just decide to wake up, stay in bed for breakfast and then proceed to stay in bed while working.
So, sometimes it’s a surprise that we only have one word for bed. And that word is … “bed.”
To be fair, we do have different types of beds, especially when it comes to talking about how big or small the bed is.
We have single beds, double beds, queen size beds and king size beds.
We have cots (or, if you’re American, cribs) for babies.
We have folding beds and sofa beds for our guests.
We have futons for our hippy-ish friends.
And we have waterbeds for … for … No, I don’t know who waterbeds are for.
And what about tables?
Sure, sure. There are tables everywhere in the house, not just the bedroom.
But, since “bedroom” is the first category of this post, let’s put the table here!
In the bedroom, you’ll probably find a couple of different types of tables.
Most people, for example, have a bedside table (or, in the US, you might call it a nightstand).
This is where you’ll probably have your bedside lamp and a good book.
You might also have a dressing table in your bedroom, too. This is a low table, perhaps with some drawers, and certainly with some mirrors (at least one). It’s super useful for sitting down and doing your makeup (hence all the mirrors).
If your dressing table is extra awesome, it’ll have a few cupboards (pronounced “CUB-ud”) for storing things.
There are cupboards everywhere — not just in the bedroom.
As I’m sure you’re aware, cupboards are basically little rooms for storing things in. They have a door and … not much else. Perhaps a couple of shelves inside to put things on.
But what about that tall cupboard for keeping clothes in?
Good question. That’s a wardrobe.
Some wardrobes are separate pieces of furniture, and some wardrobes are actually built into the wall. In the UK, we call these built-in wardrobes. In the US, they call them closets. Ah, those crazy Americans with their crazy words …
If you’re particularly lucky, rich or just really, really into your clothes, then your wardrobe might actually be a whole separate room.
That’s right — a room just for your clothes!
A wardrobe that you can actually walk into.
Or, in other words, a walk-in wardrobe.
Furniture in the bathroom
Well, what is there in the bathroom?
You might find a washing basket (US “laundry hamper“) — you know, that thing that you throw your dirty clothes into before you put them in the washing machine.
You’ll almost certainly find more mirrors in the bathroom. I mean, it would be a weird bathroom if there were no mirrors. Most bathrooms have wall mirrors, and you might also have a full-length mirror, which is pretty handy when you’re getting dressed.
There’ll also be cupboards here, too, though in the bathroom (and in the kitchen), they’re sometimes referred to as cabinets.
Now, I did a bunch of research on the differences between “cupboard” and “cabinet,” but it seems that they’re more or less the same thing.
The main thing is that we tend to use “cabinet” in particular contexts.
We have bathroom cabinets, medicine cabinets (for storing medicine), filing cabinets (more on those later) and kitchen cabinets (for the garden. No, just kidding. For the kitchen).
Furniture in the living room
OK! Time for the big guns!
The living room! The centre of household life!
So what can we see here?
Let’s start with things we can sit on.
Yep — there are definitely some soft places to sit around here.
Most living rooms have a sofa (a nice soft place for more than one person to sit) and even a couple of armchairs (a nice soft place for one person to sit).
The sofas and armchairs might even have some cushions on them.
But there are plenty of other places you can sit in the living room.
You might have an ottoman, a sort of big box with a soft top — you can sit on it (or use it as a footrest), and you can often store things in it, which is handy.
It might not be very surprising to learn that Europeans first got ottomans from the Ottomans (the empire that became modern-day Turkey). So they unimaginatively decided to name the piece of furniture after where it came from.
You might also have, in your living room, a rocking chair.
These are chairs with a rounded base that you can sit on and just … well … just rock back and forth.
For some reason, these are often associated with old women, but I’m a big fan. They’re great places to just sit and read.
That reminds me of a terrible joke: “Why did Granny put wheels on her rocking chair? Because she wanted to rock n’ roll!”
I told you it was terrible.
If you’re a student in the ’90s, you probably don’t bother with all this chair nonsense and opt, instead, for a collection of bean bags.
What are they?
Well, they’re just big bags filled with stuff that may or may not (probably not) be beans.
They’re comfortable for about 20 minutes, and then you stand up and realise you’re never going to be able to walk properly again.
Wherever you’re sitting, you might need some light, though, right?
That’s when standing lamps come in handy.
Yeah — a cup of tea, a rocking chair, a standing lamp and a good book!
What more could you want? (Don’t say “money.”)
And what about tables?
A table’s a table, right?
Well, yes. That’s technically true.
But there are different types of tables.
You might have a big table in your living room (or even in your dining room). This might be where you have your main meals and your long dinner parties.
If so, that would be your dining table.
But what about when you want to just have a cup of tea and watch Netflix?
The dining table’s just too big for that, right?
That’s when you want something low. Something small. Something casual.
In other words, that’s when you want a coffee table.
There are also lots of places to store things in the living room.
OK. So most rooms have shelves — little platforms on the wall or inside cupboards that you can put things on …
… or you might even just have free-standing shelving units around the house.
Just as long as you have somewhere to put files, books, stationery and all the random stuff you end up having when you live somewhere.
That might include books. In that case, you’ll definitely want a bookshelf.
And, just like in most rooms, you’ll probably find some drawers and cupboards in your living room.
Maybe there are some in that big piece of furniture that holds your TV. That’s your TV unit (or TV cabinet).
But maybe you’ve just got a piece of furniture that’s all about the drawers.
Then that’s a chest of drawers.
And maybe you’re just using a plain old chest to store stuff — essentially just a big box.
Some chests, especially old wooden ones, almost certainly contain pirate treasure. That’s a fact.
OK. Got it? Good!
Now … look down!
What are you standing on?
Chances are you’re walking on a carpet — a soft layer covering the hard floor.
Or maybe, just a simple rug — a mini carpet that doesn’t cover the whole floor, but, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to turn into a flying rug (confusingly called a magic carpet) and travel the world!
Furniture on the terrace and in the garden
OK. Let’s go outside.
Maybe even make some food outside? Yeah! That’s a nice idea.
But how do you cook food outside?
With a barbecue, of course!
And it’s nice to eat the food you’ve cooked out in the garden or on the terrace, too, right?
So you might have some plastic tables and chairs that you can just leave outside without them getting too damaged.
Amazingly, this furniture that you put outside is called garden furniture.
If it’s too sunny, you might want to put the parasol up. You know, that big umbrella that protects you from the sun and that costs a small fortune to rent when you go to the beach in the summer.
Some gardens and terraces also have a swing chair — a chair that swings in the wind. Ideal for afternoon naps.
If you have a dog, you might also have a little place for him or her, too. Now — are you ready for this crazy, complicated word?
OK. Here it is.
It’s called a dog house.
Seriously, how do they think of these?
Furniture in the kitchen
When it comes to kitchen furniture, we’ve basically covered it in the other rooms.
I mean, there are cupboards and shelves and drawers.
What about the flat surface in the kitchen, usually a bit higher than a regular table, where you prepare food? Well, there are quite a few different names for that: countertop, counter, worktop, benchtop and work surface.
If you have a big kitchen, you might also have a separate kitchen table and more chairs.
And perhaps, if you have a breakfast bar, you might also have some bar stools.
A breakfast bar is a high surface in the kitchen where you can sit on the tall chairs (bar stools) and have breakfast.
I guess one other thing that kitchens tend to have is a clock.
But you already knew what that was, right?
OK. Moving on!
Furniture in the office or study
OK. Let’s end up in the room where I’m writing this from — the study (or some people call it the office).
Again, there’s nothing much new here.
I’m currently working at my desk, which happens to be a standing desk (seriously recommended!).
I’ve got a desk lamp for when the sun goes down (and, since it’s November, it’s something I’m going to be using a lot soon).
Some offices also have a filing cabinet — one of those big metal (well, usually metal) boxes with massive drawers that people in spy films steal documents from.
But I don’t have a filing cabinet — mostly because it’s not the ’80s anymore.
So there we have it: 63 furniture words in English.
But here’s the thing.
The furniture in your house might vary depending on what kind of person you are and which part of the world you’re in.
My house is relatively Western, but I’m sure that if you’re from Japan, Namibia or Qatar, your house is going to look really different.
So tell me about your furniture!
If there’s something in your house that I didn’t mention in this post, tell me about it in the comments section.