Furniture is an essential part of our everyday life. Somehow it’s evident to eat at a table, sit on a chair and sleep in a bed. But has it always been so? To that question you can almost answer yes. At least for the last 6 thousand years humans have been using furniture. Yet someone must have invented it one day. Who? Now it’s unlikely we will ever be able to uncover the mystery of furniture appearance. However we can trace the first furniture pieces as early as the ancient Egypt.

Archeologists verify furniture appearance by excavated fragments of the ancient Egyptian artifacts: furniture pieces made of black wood, ivory, papyrus and animal skins. Certain separate and absolutely necessary furniture pieces really appeared in ancient Egypt. Thus we might call chairs, benches, stools, tables, beds and chests a pure Egyptian innovation.

And like every innovation for the first time furniture stayed a privilege of the rich and powerful before going into masses. Ordinary people often store food, clothes and other utensils in baskets, boxes and earthen vessels. They slept on woven mats spread out on the floor. Sat, depending on welfare, on bundles of reeds, straw or simple stools. By contrast furniture pieces found in ancient tombs of the richest persons – priests and pharaohs strike in their intricacy and luxury. Chests and boxes of extraordinary beauty are made from the most valuable timber species, decorated with precious materials: ivory and stones: colored malachite, turquoise. This luxurious furniture even at the epoch was rather a piece of art than a household item. Natural motifs are to be found in abundance: chair legs in the form of paws and hooves, armrests in the form of lions. The decoration of the throne for the pharaohs did not stint on gold, colored enamel, pearls and colored glass. Warm colors were predominant: yellow, red, green, black, brown interspersing with blue and white.

But in fact it’s astonishing how little the furniture has changed in its essence! New technologies offer us a whole array of new materials more affordable and endurable than ebony wood, designers compete in inventing new forms and still the genius simplicity of a chair stays the same!

Still nowadays Ancient Egypt stays a powerful source of inspiration for designers. You can find collections patterned on the classic shapes, mimicking the colors of ebony and terebinth, using leather and natural motifs the way Egyptians did 6 thousand years ago. And if you are inspired by this epoch as well, use the style of those-who-have-invented-furniture for your own home decoration!