At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Occasional Furniture?

Alicia Sparks
Alicia Sparks

Occasional furniture is a type of furniture that can serve various purposes or meet various needs, but typically is only used when purpose or need is relevant. This category of furniture includes pieces such as tables, nightstands, chests, commodes, and chairs. Typically, occasional furniture is small furniture that is easy to move or rearrange. Still, this furniture is available in a variety of styles, sizes, and materials. People shopping for these kinds of pieces can find them in department stores and traditional furniture stores, as well as in the catalogs and on the websites of companies that sell all types of furniture.

Typically, occasional furniture is actively used only occasionally but the pieces are permanent fixtures in their respective rooms. For example, most people use their beds, couches, and kitchen tables on a daily basis. On the other hand, other kinds of furniture like nightstands, chests, and commodes, serve functional purposes but are only attended to when the need arises. Also, sometimes this furniture serves more than one kind of purpose or meets more than one need. Nightstands, for instance, can work to store items in their drawers as well as act as tabletops for lamps, alarm clocks, picture frames, and other objects.

Wicker chairs are a good example of occasional furniture.
Wicker chairs are a good example of occasional furniture.

Similar to other kinds of furniture, occasional furniture is available in a variety of styles and sizes. For example, shoppers can find both large and small nightstands or commodes with cabinets, drawers, or both. It is also possible to find furniture made of different materials, such as chairs made of wood, wicker, or metal. Due to this variety and depending on where a person shops, it is possible to find occasional furniture that will match any interior design. People can find this furniture to complement their current decors, or they might find certain pieces that inspire entirely new looks.

People shopping for occasional furniture can usually find a good selection at furniture stores.
People shopping for occasional furniture can usually find a good selection at furniture stores.

Similar to shopping for any other kind of item, browsing multiple retail venues expands shoppers’ selections. People can purchase occasional furniture from many of the same kinds of stores that sell other types of furniture. Department stores that sell small furniture in addition to other kinds of merchandise often sell occasional furniture. This kind of furniture can also be found in larger furniture stores that also sell bigger kinds of furniture like couches, beds, and dining room sets. Shoppers who are not able to find the kind of occasional furniture they are looking for in stores can shop catalogs or with online companies.

Discussion Comments


I have two nightstands in my bedroom. One is a piece of occasional furniture, and the other is used every day.

The one closest to my side of the bed is where I put my alarm clock, lip balm, a glass of water, and a box of tissues. I use all of these every night and when I wake up during the night.

The nightstand on the other side of the bed holds photos and a beautiful aquarium sandcastle that I got on vacation. I basically got this nightstand just to balance out the look of the room, and it was nice to be able to put a few souvenirs on top of it.


@shell4life – I use my coffee table everyday. My dining room table, on the other hand, has become occasional furniture.

I'm sure if I had kids, then we would all eat at the dining room table. However, my husband and I live alone, so we prefer to eat at the coffee table while watching TV.

I also drink my morning coffee and eat my cereal there. The dining room table is so big that it seems a waste to use it just for us. I wait until my family comes over for this.


I suppose that my coffee table would be considered a piece of occasional furniture. I don't allow anyone in my family to put food or drinks on it, and I make them eat in the dining room only. So, we rarely have need of it.

It is mostly for decoration. It has a glass top, and underneath this, I have arranged seashells from our beach vacations, along with starfish and sand dollars. I would hate to cover it up with a cloth or a bunch of magazines.

I do use it when I balance our checkbook, though. Once a week, I go through receipts and write everything down, and I use the coffee table as a makeshift desk. I put everything away when I'm done, so the beautiful inlay can be seen.


I knew when I got my first house that I would be having guests over often, so I got several matching chairs and accent tables that I knew I would only be using occasionally. When I have more people over for a meal than can fit at the dining room table, I set up the extra chairs with an accent table in front of every two.

The tables are small, but two people could fit their plates on top of one. This is good, because I have fewer accent tables than chairs.

When I'm not using them, I stack them in the corner of the room. These particular chairs and tables were built to interlock for easy storage.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Wicker chairs are a good example of occasional furniture.
      By: Andro
      Wicker chairs are a good example of occasional furniture.
    • People shopping for occasional furniture can usually find a good selection at furniture stores.
      By: Photographee.eu
      People shopping for occasional furniture can usually find a good selection at furniture stores.