H. L. Haywood wrote in “More About Masonry,”
"In the Eighteenth Century Lodges the Feast bulked so large in the lodge that in many of them the members were seated at the table when the lodges were opened and remained at it throughout the Communication, even when the degrees were conferred. The result was that Masonic fellowship was good fellowship in it, as in a warm and fruitful soil, acquaintanceship, friendship, and affection could flourish - there was no grim and silent sitting on a bench, staring across at a wall. Out of this festal spirit flowered the love which Masons had for their lodge. They brought gifts to it, and only by reading of old inventories can any present day Mason measure the extent of that love; there were gifts of chairs, tables, altars, pedestals, tapestries, draperies, silver, candle-sticks, oil paintings, libraries, Bibles, mementos, curios, regalia’s and portraits. The lodge was a home, warm, comfortable, luxurious, full of memories, and tokens, and affection, and even if a member died his, presence was never wholly absent; to such a lodge no member went grudgingly, nor had to be coaxed, nor was moved by that ghastly, cold thing called a sense of duty, but went as if drawn by a magnet, and counted the days until he could go.
Since time immemorial, artistic brethren have created unique furniture for their lodges, and each lodge has its own look and feel and personality because of these items that were lovingly crafted or donated.
A contemporary example is this unique modern lodge altar at Pearl of the West Lodge No. 146 in New port Richey, Florida. It was created by Brother Dave Rasmus (left), and donated by W:.B:. Ray Trahan, PM (right). The altar features a etched granite tops, a rotating square and compasses and lighting under the tabletop.
The brethren of this lodge have added many other details over the years, including a checkered floor with tessellated border, and an original painting of the construction of the Temple in the East. Click the photo to enlarge.
H/T to Jason Connors.