The furniture was produced under a government scheme which was designed to cope with raw material shortages and rationing of their usage.  This, combined with losses caused by bombing and the establishment of many new households, had created a severe furniture shortage.
The Utility Furniture Advisory Committee was set up in 1942 in order to assure that the available resources were used efficiently. It drew on expertise from Gordon Russell, Edwin Clinch, Herman Lebus and John Gloag. The aim was to ensure the production of strong, well-designed furniture which made efficient use of timber. The Arts and Crafts movement influenced the designs, which were considered to be simplistic due to their lack of decoration (which was contrary to the popular taste of the immediate pre-war period).
Furniture based on these designs was constructed by about 700 firms around the country, with quality varying between manufacturers. [ citation needed ] Utility chair in laminated wood, produced after design rules were relaxed in 1948 and showing the growing influence of European styles.
 In 1946 the panel unveiled three new furniture ranges (Cotswold, Chiltern and Cockaigne), intending to display their post-war design ethos at the "Britain Can Make It" exhibition. However, demand for ornamentation arose, and there were instances of black market utility furniture with added decoration.