The Essential Items

When we launched End Furniture Poverty, we often found that the term ‘Furniture Poverty’ was a very broad one, with different meanings to different people. To some, an appliance such as a washing machine was considered indispensable, whereas some thought it non-essential – others argued that it wasn’t furniture at all.

In 2016, we launched a consultation to establish what these ‘essential’ items were so we can share a collective understanding of what we mean by Furniture Poverty.

By assembling a list – the items that a household needs access to in order to lead that basic acceptable quality of life, including the social aspects of life – we can give ourselves a benchmark by which to judge whether a household was living in Furniture Poverty. Respondents were asked to rate from 1 to 5 a list of 19 items mentioned in the Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK (PSE) research project, led by the University of Bristol.

If someone is living without one of the items listed below and this is not by choice, they are living in furniture poverty.

Essential Furniture Items

  • Bed, bedding and mattress
  • Table and chairs
  • Sofa and/or easy chairs
  • Wardrobe/drawers
  • Carpets in living rooms and bedrooms
  • Curtains or blinds
  • Washing machine
  • Refrigerator and freezer
  • Cooker/oven
  • TV

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