Noble and common people of ancient Egypt used very different furniture. In general, because timber was very scarce in the Nile Delta, furniture was constructed from alternatives to wood such as reeds, alabaster, leather and pottery. The Egyptians didn't use many surfaces, such as tables or chairs or counters, but almost every household had storage containers and low stools.
Working and cooking on the ground wasn't considered uncomfortable to the common people. They knelt or crouched on a mat made out of papyrus or flax. All of their belongings were carefully protected from dirt and rodents in closed vessels. Food, jewelry, and clothing were stored out of sight in covered pots, woven baskets, or small wooden boxes with hinged lids. These were undecorated and utilitarian. For sleeping, they laid on mats or thin mattresses of grass ticking. They had no pillows, but rested on a curved, elevated stand that cradled their head. Short, three or four legged stools might be just three curved sticks bound together with animal skin or woven reeds.
The nobility enjoyed taller and more ornate furnishings. This royal furniture, preserved in many burial chambers, included armchairs, tables, giant boxes, and bed frames. First, they had access to more wood, so their furniture looks familiar to a modern eye. Carpenters used dowel joints and right angles. However, chairs and tables were still lower to the ground to account for the Egyptians' smaller stature. Instead of rush seats, they could afford soft leather. Every surface was decorated with elaborate inlaid alabaster, gold-leafed and gilded designs, or bejeweled embellishments.
Even among the wealthy, tables were rarely used for household chores. Instead, archeologists believe these tables were made specifically for burial to elevate the offerings above ground. Jewelry, incense, and food were set on these beautiful tables to provide for the deceased in the afterlife. Often the table legs are carved into animals. When left undisturbed in sealed chambers inside pyramids, these furniture pieces are preserved very well and can tell us a lot about the daily life and beliefs of the ancient Egyptians.