In terms of purpose, i. e. the conditions and nature of use, furniture can be divided into three distinct groups. For furnishing:
• offices and public buildings (office furniture, school furniture, dorm furniture, hotel furniture, cinema furniture, hospital furniture, canteen furniture, common room furniture, etc.),
• residential rooms in multi-family and free-standing buildings (flat furniture, kitchen furniture, bathroom furniture, garden furniture) and
• transport (ship furniture, train furniture, aircraft furniture).
This division is extremely important, especially when shaping the technical assumptions for a new product. The requirements and conditions of use included in the design and manufacturing process are different for ship furniture, different for office furniture and different for hospital or school furniture.
In the group of furniture for offices and public buildings, there is another subgroup related to specific human activities:
• furniture for administration,
• furniture for offices and studies and
• furniture for workers.
The nature of work and method of use of rooms in office buildings and public buildings requires designing furniture intended for managers, group leaders, assistants and secretaries, employees working in groups and individually, serving internal and external clients. Within this group, the separate subgroups constitute hospital furniture, school furniture, furniture for waiting areas at train stations, airports, as well as restaurant and cafe furniture. The nature of these furniture pieces should correspond to the specific requirements of many different and often anonymous users. School and office furniture should be well suited to the anthropometric parameters of individual groups of users. Hospital furniture should be conducive to rehabilitation and should minimise the negative phenomenon of prolonged pressure of the human body on a mattress or seat. Furniture intended for use in waiting rooms is required to ensure high durability and functionality, adapted to the nature of travel of prospective users.
Furniture for residential rooms in multi-family and free-standing buildings should comply with the requirements of individuals and families, living together in a house or flat, as well as be able to perfectly incorporate into the room and make it possible to perform everyday activities in these rooms. The furniture should meet all the functional needs of the following zones: relaxation and lounging, sleep, work, learning, preparing and eating meals, physiological needs and maintaining personal hygiene, and storage.
Marine, vehicular (car and train) and aircraft transportation have very high demands in terms of quality of material used in the manufacture of furniture, quality of make and safety of use of furniture built into the body of the transport units carrying people.