The Secret Life of Chairs

Have you ever felt…I don’t know, weird vibes from a piece of old furniture? Like it contains the history of the people who have used it before? Recently I visited a furniture exhibit in an art gallery. I have to tell you, it was one of the creepier exhibits I’ve experienced, and it was only furniture — just antique chairs and tables strewn about. But it was as if these pieces had lives of their own.

As I meandered through the rooms, I started thinking about the significance that furniture has on our lives, beyond its functionality. They are only things, but in our homes they transcend their commodified status. I like to think that my furniture gets encrypted with my own history; that it absorbs the sounds and feelings of the experiences happening around, or even on it. We live with these objects in intimate quarters. Their presence is a comfort – both physical and emotional. Color and light, hard edges and soft fabrics, glittering steel and warm wood — all of these things can impact our mood. A cozy sofa can give us a feeling of security, just as florescent lighting can cast a sickly glow and make us uneasy. Studies have shown that neighborhood beautification projects reduce crime rates in the area. The application of feng shui is premised on how the arrangement of our interiors can impact our exterior lives.

Our environment affects us in subtle but significant ways. Whether you subscribe to feng shui or not, our homes are meaningful; what we fill them with matters. It’s such a lovely thing to help someone furnish his or her home. With any luck, these pieces will be imbued with many years of happy memories.