Design a comfortable and quiet place for work!

Nomadic people had no use for stationary objects since they moved from place to place – but as people put down roots in an area to live there year ‘round, there rose a need to have storage areas and other practical fixtures in the home. First documented between 3100 and 2500 BC, the early, functional pieces were dressers, cupboards and beds. When those early pieces were made, what did they look like? Was leather used? Who repaired the tears and loose stitches?

Most of the artifacts show that those items were made from stone. Wood pieces would come into use later on and leather more into contemporary times. The appearance of furniture became more sophisticated as time went on and would vary in intricacy with the level of wealth in a particular setting. Well to do individuals in the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations were able to own refined and stylish tables with one to four legs, easy chairs and early forms of chaise lounges. Couches and beds were the pieces found in most Roman homes, since chairs were perceived as a throne and therefore reserved for royalty.

The ancient Egyptians did use leather in their chairs from time to time, but this was reserved, again for the wealthy and upper classes. Throughout time, leather was a common material found in furnishings, usually as a back support mechanism and eventually as a covering for the seat and arm rests, since animal hides were often on hand from hunting expeditions. When chairs or pieces with leather needed repair, the owner had to make those fixes himself. A village may have had a skilled craftsman that could work on other people’s property to make repairs and keep furniture in working order.

Leather repair may have even been a skill that most people possessed in the early American west. As reliance increased on the horse to move livestock to greener pastures – pioneers needed to be able to make repairs to bridles and stirrups while away from home. The ability to transfer this technique onto a chair or stool that had a leather covering was one that families handed down from generation to generation.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, furniture began to represent more than its basic purpose, furniture creators added finesse and style, using wool and fabric to stuff and plump up leather cushions. In the late eighteenth century in England, decorative elements and carvings were very common – chairs themselves were also more important to a family’s home decor as the culture was developing to be more sociable.

Furniture design began primitively – with simple, practical features. Durability and comfort came second to the actual purpose of having somewhere to sit. Some cultures took a long time to adopt the use of chairs at all, resorting to sitting on mats or stools or pillows as was the custom. Building furniture that lasted was of utmost importance, so to was caring for and repairing that furniture.