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The game definition of furniture differs somewhat from what one might expect or is used to from the real world. The most blunt definition is "anything that goes on a furniture pile". Elaborating from that, furniture is something that
- a building or construction can be made of: (querns, grates, mechanisms..)
- is part of a building (mostly workshops, but also e.g. a well): (buckets, barrels, anvils..)
- can be "built" from the b menu (and thus be placed in your fortress), including most "proper" furniture like beds, tables, and chairs, but also windows, millstones and coffins, among others (including gem windows).
For completeness, and to further complicate matters, there are also a few items that are made from the furniture submenu of the metalsmith's forge, but don't go on a furniture stockpile:
Several furniture items have additional functions, like buckets (transporting water) and barrels (containing booze and food).
An important exception from the above is bins whose sole (but much needed) purpose is to increase the capacity of stockpiles, reducing clutter and hauling.
Furniture can be created at a variety of workshops. All furniture has a practical use in your fortress, though it is sometimes limited to looking nice (statues). Dwarves get good thoughts when admiring high quality furniture.
When starting a fortress most furniture will usually be made in your Mason's workshop and Carpenter's workshop, depending on the materials used. You can also make furniture out of metal at a Metalsmith's forge, but this consumes more valuable and potentially rare materials. Some furniture can only be made from certain materials. For example, beds can only be made of wood. A few unusual types of furniture are made elsewhere, like mechanisms, traction benches, siege engine parts and ammo, or glass furniture.
Furniture is produced at a workshop through its q (view building) menu.
The function build is not only used for building workshops and the like, but also for placing items like beds, tables and chairs in your fortress. Most furniture must be placed before it can be used, but a few (like bins and barrels) are moved around as needed by your dwarves. Bags can serve either role: placing a bag turns it into a dwarf's personal storage, but bags for agriculture, clothing industry and glassmaking will be taken from the pool of bags that haven't been placed by the player.
When you try to build a bed/door/chair and it says 'needs bed/door/chair', that means none is currently available, not that there has been a problem with producing one. Usually, brand new items are not immediately available because some dwarf has expressed the intent of carrying them to their corresponding stockpile.
Building a door from scratch
- Go to your Mason's workshop and select it in view room (q) mode and "add task".
- Select "d build rock door".
- Wait for a dwarf to fetch some stone and carve it into a door. You need at least one dwarf with the Masonry labor enabled. The higher the Dwarf's mason skill, the faster the door will be built (it will also be of better quality).
- Once the door is finished, then go to the space you want to build the door and press "build".
- Select "door".
- Move the cursor to precisely where you want the door to be, and press Enter.
- If it says 'needs door', that means that the door you made is in the process of being stored in your furniture stockpile and that no other door is available: you have to wait a bit.
- Select which type of door to put there, and press Enter. The doors are listed in order of distance.
- Wait for a dwarf (with the Furniture Hauling labor enabled) to come and put the door where you want it.
With the exception of mechanisms and traction benches, every other piece of stone furniture is built the same way: tables, chairs, cabinets and so on.
Building a bed from scratch
- Go to your Carpenter's workshop and select it in view room (q) mode then "add task".
- Select "b Construct wooden bed".
- Wait for a dwarf to get some wood and build the bed out of it. You need at least one dwarf with the Carpentry labor enabled. The higher the Dwarf's carpenter skill, the better.
- Once the bed has been constructed, then go to the space you want to place the bed and press "build".
- Select "bed".
- Move the cursor to precisely where you want the bed to be, and press Enter.
- If it says 'needs bed', that means that the bed you made is in the process of being stored in your furniture stockpile and that no other bed is available: you have to wait a bit.
- Select which particular preconstructed bed to put there, and press Enter.
- Wait for a dwarf (with the Furniture Hauling labor enabled) to come and put the bed where you want it.
Every other piece of wooden furniture is built the same way. Barrels and bins, in particular are useful to a growing fortress. Keeping an extra bucket around is a good idea.
- Stone and wood furniture is made from 1 stone or log.
- Most metal furniture requires 3 bars to forge (including pipe sections), except for chains, animal traps, buckets, and blocks, which require 1.
- Glass furniture requires one bag of sand for green glass, one bag of sand plus one unit of pearlash for clear glass, and one unit of rough rock crystal plus one unit of pearlash for crystal glass.
How do I move furniture?
Moving a piece of furniture is as easy as positioning it in the first place.
- query the piece of furniture.
- Press x to designate it for removal.
- Unpause the game, and wait for a dwarf with the Furniture Hauling labor to pull it loose.
- Choose to build the furniture in its new location. You may have to wait for it to be hauled away and into a stockpile before you can do so.
- Wait for a Furniture Hauling dwarf to install the furniture once again.
List of furniture, siege ammo, and other items used in buildings