There are some words you use very regularly without knowing exactly what they mean. It’s only in very rare situations that you will have to actually dig down and work out precisely what a word means. This can be tricky when you’re trying to work out the boundaries of a category, for example, furniture. For example, are rugs considered to be furniture?
Generally rugs are not considered furniture. Although it is hard to say exactly why, rugs come under the category of furnishings which is different from being furniture, although there is a lot of overlap with the two categories.
We’ll look at the history of the word, definitions, and go through examples to find out exactly what makes rugs furnishings and not furniture. The world of design and interior decorating has many interesting aspects and history leading to why rugs are not considered furniture.
What Is Considered Furniture?
Furniture is a very broad term that can cover many objects. Even looking at the dictionary definition does not define it very specifically. Some definitions just refer to furniture as being ‘movable, generally functional articles’ that you find in a room, house, office or similar.
Etymology does not help too much here either. The term furniture came about in the 14th or 15th century from French, translating to the act of ‘supplying or providing’ from the word fourniture. As we’re going to see, furniture tends to be something that you use to sit, lie down or use as a storage space, which has a link to supplying or providing in the broad sense of the term.
Another way to consider what counts as furniture is to consider what are the tax or accounting definitions. Rules relating to furniture generally also cover equipment that has no permanent connection to the structure of a building. For example, this could include desks, chairs, computers, electronic equipment, tables, bookcases, and partitions.
This broad definition for tax or accounting reasons is normally referred to in totality as furniture, fixtures and equipment and so does not narrow it down what the specific meaning of furniture is to a great degree.
Other definitions state that furniture covers the movable articles in a room or an establishment that make it fit for living or working. Common items that are cited as furniture include sofas, chairs, tables but specifically other items that come under categories such as appliances are generally not considered furniture despite fitting the above definition, such as refrigerators.
What Are Furnishings?
Furnishings are generally considered to be a broader term than furniture. The difference between the two is very slight but generally, furnishings include furniture but also appliances and things like carpet, curtains and other accessories.
The definition of furnishings is very similar to furniture. It includes any moveable article or piece of equipment that is provided as a normal accessory to an accommodation. This means that even things like ironing boards and irons, remote controls, and any other decorative accessories like paintings, cutlery, and almost anything found inside a home.
There is also the category of home decor which has a lot of overlap with furnishings. Home decor is a very wide category that includes things like paint color, ornaments, and other pieces of art. It refers to almost anything that decorates or has a functional use inside the house. The line between all these categories can get very blurry.
The difference is made clearer when you consider whether an item is used to decorate the room or to be used as an object for some purpose. For example, one difference between furniture and non-furniture items is that furniture normally involves items that you sit, sleep or place your things on.
Is A Rug Considered To Be Furniture?
Rugs, carpets, and other floor coverings are generally not going to be considered furniture. Their primary purpose is to decorate the home (particularly in the case of rugs) while still offering a level of comfort, style, and usability to space. From a definitions point of view, it is easy to say that a rug will fit into the furniture category but actual practice shows that it is not.
Even the word rug refers to a specific furnishing. A rug normally will be smaller than 6 x 9 inches and anything larger than that is considered a carpet. If it is a long, narrow rug it tends to be called a runner.
What Is The Difference Between Furnishings And Furniture?
So now we come to the issue of trying to tell the difference between furnishings and furniture and it is a little bit arbitrary where the distinction lies. As mentioned there are some items used just to decorate the home and make the space inviting but they are not really furniture items.
One example of this would be the furnishing known as an area rug. It is the type of furnishing that may go on top of the carpet but under certain furniture items, like a couch. This item will add style to a home; it can enhance artistic choices made in other home furnishing items. It also adds a degree of comfort and functionality to a living space.
The image that comes into people’s heads for furniture would be a chair, sofa, table, cupboard, or bed. Given the prevalence of wood as a material for furniture, most images are also brown in color. Eventually, you run into a problem with certain edge cases for whether a certain object belongs to a certain category.
This is just semantics and the decision has been made that rugs are not classified as furniture but rather as furnishings. This decision was made for ease of use but it is unlikely to have a massive impact on your life.