The furniture in a castle is made of thick solid woods, like oak, ash, elm, poplar, larch and beech. It was put together much like our wood furniture is today: wooden pegs and iron nails. Have you ever bought a bookshelf from Ikea? You’ll put it together with wooden pegs and nails—although I’m pretty sure they aren’t iron :)
An adhesive like glue was used to attach fabrics (tapestries, brocades, leathers, and velvet) to the furniture. The woods were also painted: reds, golds and greens being the most popular, but whites, yellows, black and blues were used too. Paint and fabrics were not the only ways to decorate furniture. Often times the woods were carved into intricate designs, or metal work and gilding adorned it.
So now that you know how furniture was made and decorated, what types of furniture did they have? Large four-poster beds, pallets, stools, benches, trestle tables, smaller tables, desks, chairs, chests, coffers, altar tables, buffets, wooden barrels (used for storing food/drink, and for taking baths). The previous list could be moved easily to another castle or manor home, if needed, as some nobles and royals often did. They’d load up their furniture every few months or so to go and live at their other holdings. Furniture that stayed put were: cupboards, window seats, and built-in wall seats.
Décor in the home consisted of portraits, tapestries, candle holders, religious artifacts, weapons, nick-knacks, jugs, statues, clocks, deer/elk racks, hunting horns, in a bed chamber you would occasionally find a rug either made of animal skins or woven fabrics (like a tapestry).
I want to direct you to the following site: http://www.bunrattycollection.com/collection-highlights.php I had the pleasure of visiting Bunratty Castle, Ireland several years ago and it was amazing. Click on “Collection Highlights” and then click on various pieces of furniture and décor to see what they look like and read the descriptions, they are simply beautiful! Please note that some of the pieces are from later years. If you click on “Search the Collection” a diagram of the castle comes up with different rooms you can click on. When you click on the room it will tell you what pieces were kept there, and you can then click on the pieces to see them. I really love this site and I can’t recommend enough that you add it to your favorites for research and pleasure.
Want to learn more about medieval castles and the life of a noble? Sign up for Eliza's workshop, A Noble's Life in Medieval Times, class starts October 5th! Click here for more info