Occasional furniture in the modern home comprises items of furniture, usually relatively small in comparison with the other pieces furnishing a room, which can be used on occasion when required. Such items need not be placed in a permanent position, but can be moved around according to its needs. It is not optional, but usually comprises useful items such as coffee tables and side tables.
In fact, occasional furniture can be essential components of a properly furnished home – if there is such a thing. The wrong choice of such furniture can look out of place and ruin the decorative and functional effects you are trying to attain, while the correct choice can convert an ordinary room into a magnificent one.
Examples of Occasional Furniture
So what type of furniture are we discussing here? Examples are coffee tables and end tables, traditional hickory rocking chairs, chests, ottomans and commodes. Items of home furniture that are not classed as occasional furniture include small round display tables, free-standing globes, such as globe wine racks, and curio cabinets which are generally classed as accent pieces.
Occasional furniture is functional rather than decorative, and can be used when needed rather than being essential items such as sofas and chairs. Yes, many believe a coffee table to be essential, but only on the occasions when you need it to rest a drink or a plate. You can spend an evening comfortably watching TV from your sofa without having to use an occasional piece of furniture.
Ideas for Occasionally Used Furniture
A traditional rocker might be used when you want to relax while reading a newspaper or book. The gentle rocking action is soothing and relaxing, and the traditional hickory rockers with the curved feet are often preferred to modern sliders or rockers. However, some occasional furniture is required only when you have visitors.
A spare chair can be used when you have more visitors than your armchairs and sofas can accommodate. Your prize occasional chair might be a reproduction of a beautiful Louis XV sofa, hand-crafted by Southwood Furniture, the premier reproduction furniture firm in the USA. You could use this for special guests, or you may bring out another occasional piece, your fabulous Codman library chair in sumptuously deep buttoned soft leather.
Obviously you would only use such pieces on occasion, which explains the idea of this type of furniture perfectly. Most of this type of furniture, however, comprises modern pieces with a specific use that are used only when the need for it arises. Let’s look at more examples.
Examples of Occasional Furniture
In addition to the above, here are some examples of this type of furniture that may not be regularly used, but add to the look of your room and can be put to use when needed. You may recognize some of these as being standard items of furniture in your home, although you will likely use them less frequently than the bulk of your furniture, and then only on certain occasions.
Commodes: The term has taken on a more functional use in modern parlance, although the original commodes were French chests, commonly used by the French aristocracy for storing small or valuable items. Many commodes were lockable, which in the 18th century was a good form of security.
Chests: Chests are used as a means of storage, and while they are deemed essential in most bedrooms, are classed as occasional pieces elsewhere in the home. They can be used both for their storage capacity and for the top that can be used as a writing or display surface in a living room or even a home office.
Ottomans: Ottomans can be used as footstools, foot rests when used with reclining furniture and also for seating. Ottomans have no single use, which is one of the definitions used for occasional furniture. Not only that, but storage ottomans can be used to store bedding, tablecloths, sheet music and books and any other items according to the room in which they are situated.
Side Tables: Small tables such as side tables and small circular tables are either occasional tables or accent pieces. The difference lies in their functionality. Tables used only for display are accent pieces while those that have a more practical use, such as side tables or end tables for chairs or sofas, are used on occasion for drinks or snacks.
To summarize, occasional furniture has a practical use at certain times, but not on a regular basis as your dining tables, sofas and armchairs are used. They are distinct from accent pieces in that are in active use, but only from time to time. Such furniture can enhance the look of a room in addition to providing a practical use on demand in the modern home.