Furniture Used in the Middle Ages

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

What sort of furniture did people use in the middle ages? What did they call the furniture? They probably didn’t have a love seat or a futon, but they had something similar. They probably didn’t have closets so what sort of furniture held their clothes? Here is a list of furniture used in the middle ages. This list came from various books which I researched when writing a fantasy novel.

-bed decor of the wealthy – “hung with black velvet with gold fringe”, “plain corded bedstead”, “elaborately carved”, “with more than one mattress”
-bed furnishings – mattress (of straw, feathers or down, wool), blankets (sheets, coverlets, blankets of fustian or wool), bolster (long cylindrical pillow), cushions instead of pillows, valance (fabric cover for a bed base)
-bedrooms of the wealthy might have had a bed, wardrobe or armoire, chair, writing desk, vanity, standing full-length mirror, benches, dining board, chests and trunks (could double as benches), coffers (chests made of cedar which contained linens and such), cupboards instead of dressers (no drawers)
-bed types – canopy, pallets (straw mats), barded bed (shallow wooden box standing on four short legs), flock bed (like a boarded bed but had a stack of chaff for the head), stump bed (bedstead with no valances or curtains), bed with a mattress on interwoven strips of leather that rested on four posts, trestle bed, trunkle bed (had wheels), field bed (portable folding bedstead), curtained bed
-dais table – grand table of fine wood and carvings used by the wealthy during social gatherings
-ottoman – low upholstered stool for the feet
-sitting furniture – chair, bench (most common amongst the middle and lower class), chest, trunk, stool
-studies of the wealthy had a desk and bookcases
-tables and chairs of the wealthy usually elaborately carved of dark wood such as walnut or mahogany
-tester of a bed is the canopy which suspended from the ceiling
-trestle table – a supporting framework consisting of a horizontal beam held up by a pair of splayed legs at each end

If writing a fantasy novel based on how people lived in the middle ages, you can’t use modern terminology. For more information on furniture used in the middle ages as well as other things about the middle ages check out our a-store “Guides to Writing a Fantasy Novel“. Some of the great books at this a-store include “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England” or “Life in Medieval Times“.


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