Artstory Advisors | Interior Design Terms
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Interior Design Terms


Decorative objects of art, lighting, plants, area rugs, wall decorations added to the interior to enhance and reinforce the design style.


Accordion fold

Tailored, pleated fabric with uniform exterior & interior appearance. (zigzag configuration)



Manufactured cellulose acetate textile fiber with fast drying, wrinkle & shrink resistance



Plastic resins to make synthetic fibers as coating or to bind pigment


Acrylic Coated

Fabric coated with resin for waterproofing



Architecture and Design


Advancing Colors

Warm or dark colors that make surfaces appear closer or larger



Tacky material, glue like, mastic, paste, cement to secure one object to another.


Alligator Skin

Printed or embossed fabric simulating the alligator skin



A chemical process where a coating is etched onto metal



The study of human measurements



All items that exists within or over 100 years (items, buildings, furniture)



Decorations sewn onto or added on an existing surface; section of a wood that has been pre-cut, then glued and tacked to the main body parts of the furniture



Horizontal member or decorative band mounted below a work surface, attached to side vertical elements for stability and support; raised panel below a window seal



A pattern with multiple interlaced flowers, foliage, fruits, urns, and scrolls, often symmetric plaster castings adhered to wood doors and framed wall panels



A large cabinet or wardrobe; can be converted to entertainment or computer center



A small convex molding, like a repetitive beaded details



Named after a French village, these are handmade area rugs & tapestries for walls, featuring figures & scenic landscapes

Bachelor’s Chest
A small, low, wooden cabinet w/ drawers & a top surface for writing


A vertical area behind a counter w/ or w/o sink, 4″(partial splash) -18″ (full backsplash)


Baker’s table
English marble-topped table, w/ decorative open iron base use for cooking pastry, 32-33″ high


A small, heavily proportioned pillar used for vertical support of a railing. (vern: balustre, barandilla)


Venetian balcony
A column form of turned wood, twisted or tapered form or vase-shaped column


A railing composed of a series of balusters, bottom rail or top handrail; also used in smaller scale for furniture embellishments


Balloon Shade
Fabric shade when raised, has a gathered bottom edge; it forms like a balloon


Inlay or marquetry technique producing a contrast on the surface of the wood furniture


A built-in or free-standing upholstered bench


Thin layers of natural or synthetic cloth used to line cushions, pillows, quilts, & crafts


A 20th century design school; promotes practical, theoretical, and influential art, craft, and architecture


A small round ball made of a variety of materials with a center hole; that can be sewn or strung onto a cord


A custom handmade or manufactured materials used on a bed for utilitarian purposes


Bed sheet
A square panel of fabric w/ or w/o elastic edge used to encase the top mattress on a bed


Bed skirt
Fabric bedding treatment, which spans bet. the upper & lower mattress beginning beneath a comforter to touch the floor. (to cover the bottom part of a bed with sewn fabrics)


A fabric bedding treatment that covers a top mattress


A long seat for several individuals, w/ or w/o a back support; workable for machinery


One artisan creates a piece of furniture from start to finish


Bench seat
A built-in bench


A wood steamed and bent to form a structural member of a furniture


Bergeré chair
An overstuffed French upholstery chair with exposed wood frame; an armchair with closed arms; a chair with curvy wood frame or “bones”, & with soft padded cushions


The slopping on the edge of a material (mirror) that diminishes the apparent size of the surface; it provides play of light and shade on the material


Beveled edge
A slanted and polished edge detail used on wood, stone, glass, etc.


A cabinet that stores literary and artistic materials


Board and Batten
A barn like exterior siding constructed of 12″ wide vertical boards joined side-to-side with smaller 1/2″ – 1″ boards covering the joints


A glass ring added at the base of a candle to gather was or on the base of an electrified chandelier candle-cover to dangle prisms


A cylindrical shaped pillow (w/ or w/o tassels, & trims)


An outward swelling of a commodes, bureaus, and armoires


A chest constructed with several open shelves to hold books and accessories


Book match
A method for a veneer, glued together to create a mirror image pattern


Bow front
A convex cabinet front


A board that does not sit flat, warped


Box spring cover
A fabric sleeve constructed to hide box springs, often gathered with elastic on the underneath side


Box springs
Wire coils connected to one another with an outer metal frame, often padded and encased in quilted fabric


Boulle work
Applied to form a marquetry, veneer of tortoiseshells and brass, sometimes with other materials


A decorative or structural (upside-down L-shape) projection of wood, iron, marble, polyurethane, or other materials to support overhangs, cantilevered objects; corbel


A large cabinet where the center section projects beyond the two side sections


Brushed finish
A fabric finishing process using an abrasive surface creating a raised nap on the surface


A linear furniture piece with storage for flatware; can also be use as a counter for serving


Bullion fringe
A long, twisted, heat-set, multi-ply fringe often used on upholstery


Bullnose edge
A thick, round edge detail usually for counter tops or other areas with edges


Bun foot
A furniture leg shaped like a bun or series of flatten balls


An american dresser or French writing desk


Burled wood
A hardwood w/ swirling growth patterns, used as a veneer for inlays


Burn out
A fabric composed of 2 fibers chemically printed to dissolve one of the fibers, leaving a see-through design or a positive/ negative appearance


Butt joint
A woodworking joint for decorative purposes; 2 pieces of wood are joined together

A free-standing / built-in furniture w/ shelves & drawers for display and storage


A combination of built-in cabinets


Cabriole leg
A carved wood furniture leg that resembles an animal’s hip, thigh, & ankle, curving outward at the knee & tapering inward at the ankle (finished w/ foot, claw or a rounded pad)


Camelback Sofa
A sofa style with a hump or a large rise that resembles a camel’s back


A decorative candle holders, can also be electrified


A projecting structural member supported on a fulcrum, held in a place by a downward force behind the leverage point


A process by w/c woodwork materials are manufactured and produced


Adorn objects by cutting wood w/ sharp handheld instruments


Case goods
Furniture pieces primarily constructed of wood


Casement cloth
A semi-sheer, translucent, or opaque novelty fabric, in neutral color ways


Custom woodwork of all parts that constitutes a finished case (e.g. cabinet)


Cast Iron
Molten iron poured into a mold to create multiple castings (vern. pundido)


An individual seat constructed w/ a backrest, w/ 4 supporting legs or so


Chair rail/ Dado
Any material in a horizontal trim installed on the wall in a room, usually 30″ / 762mm off the floor; used in large walls, further adorned with bead board, trim, wallpaper, or contrasting colors below and above


Chaise lounge
Long reclining chair or sofa


A large furniture wardrobe with drawers


A style of art depicting Asian/ Chinese motifs popular in France and England


Stone shaped by a sharp hand tool


Designs having withstood the test of time; classical proportions in architecture; classy or sleek


Claw foot
A carved end of a furniture leg resembling an animal’s claw


A free-standing furniture, sheetrock enclosure or custom made cabinetry implemented to store belongings, fitted with drawers, rods, & racks


Coffee table
A low table placed in front of a sofa for coffee


Patterns, images, and textures joined together in a surface to show another image, decoupage contrasting


A faux painting technique the teeth of the tool is dragged onto wet paint creating striations


A bedcover with 2 fabric layer stitched down filled with a down or synthetic fiber fill


A cabinet or chest, typically raised off the floor with a legs, w/c can hold a wash basin or chamber pot


Concealed hinge
A hinge attached to a frame and door from the inside, making it invisible from the outside


A carved decorative bracket; a control panel for monitoring electrical equipment usage


Console table
A table supported by ornamental consoles


A design style with simple lines, curves and geometric patterns


Continental pillow
A 24″ European square decorative pillow, often used in sets of 3 on a king bedding as a backrest for a bank of pillows


A machine-made or handmade decorative binding


Corner cabinet
A built-in or independently crafted cabinet designed to fit tightly into the corner of a room, often symmetrically flaking 2 sides of a room


Upholstered furniture used for seating or reclining; sofa


A horizontal work space that can be built-in or free-standing; 29″ for seat ht., 36″-39″ for standing ht.


A decorative bedspread or bed covering


A surface finish creating a glaze of fine cracks; a fake crack texture


A handmade object; or hand-fabricated


A linear wood chest, may have shelves and drawers, usually used in commercial spaces as other work space for computers, or sideboard or buffet in residential spaces


Cremone bolt
A French surface mounted finish locking hardware with a sliding knob, operated by the center knob, in which the rod goes opposite directions to lock


Crown molding
Molding installed between the wall and the ceiling, applied at the top of case goods


Curio cabinet
A slender display cabinet with glass shelves


Undulating (wave-like) grain in wood, ribbon spiral


A smooth continuous line deviating from a straight line (arch, wave, etc.)


A soft pillow or padding




Cut glass
A clear glass ornamentation cut by a diamond wheel to create decorative pattern on the glass, sometimes combined with etched glass patterns.
Note: the art of creating hand-cut glass ornamentation on a curved glass surface has been lost; a method where a large curved glass panel is manipulated, suspended in a sling, over a diamond cutting wheel to create patterns

Dacron wrap
Wrapping foam cushions with synthetic polyester layers for padding


A decoration on the lower portion of the wall, between the baseboard and the chair rail; section of a column pedestal above the base


Dado joint
Woodworking joint where a groove is cut across the grain and another board is fitted into the groove


The art of decorating a surface with cut-outs, papers, memorabilia, that are sealed with lacquer or varnish for protection


Embellishment, ornamentation


A molding pattern that is rectangular/ square blocks that are equally spaced along the surface creating a “teeth” motif


The overall measurement of an object from front to back


Executing, creating artistic arrangement skillfully


A horizontal or slanted working surface with storage, most often 29-30″ high (736mm)


A drawing in a larger scale, showing a portion or a part of a drawing, indicating the components all in all; specified markings


Diagonal cabinet
A corner wall cabinet


Spatial qualities; measurements or height, length, width


A finish technique creating an aged patina, uneven or worn appearance


A mechanical attachment on a loom to weave geometric patterns


Dobby weave
A small symmetrical pattern repeats, formed by adjusting the harness attached to on a plain loom


Dovetail joint
A furniture joinery technique of interlocking “wedge” shaped finger cut-outs


A round wood or metal pin used to reinforce furniture construction


A wooden box, upper side open with a handle, function to be pulled out horizontally w/in a cabinetry or furniture


A horizontal cabinet with drawers and usually with back paneled mirror, designed to store clothes, & personal items (bureau)


Drop match pattern
Patterns where every other repeat (side to side) is dropped down one half of its length


Dust ruffle
A custom fabric bedding treatment applied between upper and lower mattress, touching the floor. (bed skirt)


Duvet cover
A fabric casing for a comforter or soft fill

A design style that utilizes elements from multiple style sources

Eight-way hand-tied
Coiled springs used in furniture construction, knotted with twine from front to back, side to side and diagonally, interlocking adjacent coils


Raised ornament work/ 3d like design impressed on a surface; fabric created by rolling goods between engraved cylinders


The act of creating raised effect on the surface


A hard, glossy surface finish


End lap joint
A strong woodworking joint where two boards are rabbeted and joined


A block, print or surface made from an etched or engraved plate


Entertainment center
Cabinetry designed specifically to house for TV and audio items


A decorative centerpiece having a stand that holds branches where dishes and flowers can be displayed


Study that deals with space planning in relationship with man’s activities, behaviors, and movements


Products, methods, equipment, designed by scientific analysis of human function to enhance and improve health, safety and welfare


A writing desk (vern. eskritoryo)


A protective plate installed behind door knobs, or as a key hole cover


A tall, open shelving unit to display accessories, a hanging or standing shelves that is open in all sides


A design on metal, glass, etc. using wax or film created by revealing specific areas with a special needle/ tool; applying an etching material for frosted appearance


An etched plate, drawing or design (etched glass)


Euro shams
Square pillow shams, 24″x24″ used in combination with other bed pillows


Exposed hinge
A visible hinge attached to the door, and frame


Materials forced through a machinery die to form a specific shape (i.e. synthetic fiber)

An item created; produced

The process of creating or producing an item


Faux bois
Reproducing or re-interpreting a painted wood grain finish, and furnishings; objects imitating wood logs, branches, and bark textures


A carved stone/ wood garland of fruits and flowers; folded window treatment


Fiber saturation point
Refers to the limit reached of a wood when hygroscopic water remains


A board compressed of wood shavings and glue


Figure pattern
Refers to the design of timber produced on smooth longitudinal surfaces; rays, growth rings, change in color and texture


A decorative finish hardware of any material, used to cap drapery rods, newel posts, furnishings; used as a crowning ornament for furniture/ architecture


Refers to the final material outcome or treatment on a surface


Different types of final treatments, coatings, stains, etc. on a surface


A fabric manufacturing process including weaving, printing, bleaching, dyeing, heat setting, napping, embossing , pressing, calendaring, or coating for fire-retardant/ waterproofing


Finish schedule
Documents detailing doors, windows, furniture, room finishes, and other components for clarification for construction purposes


Finish hardware
Refers to hardware such as hinges, locks, catches, that has finished appearance, functional fittings for doors, windows, cabinetry


Pertains to either pipe part, window hardware, decorative or functional hardware, or to building components that are fixed but not built-in


Synonymous for floor covering


Decorative parallel grooves, concave, and semi-circular in section on classical columns and frieze


Foam back
A product with a laminated polyurethane foam backing


Foam core board/ foam board
A stiff Styrofoam sealed on front and back w/ laminated paper


A classical geometric ornamentation pattern that is repeated within the border


A Victorian machine-made wood work panels with different shapes that are intricate, openwork design; a Chinese lattice work


A drafted elevation or pattern of an item in its actual size for comprehensive production guide


Are items including accessories, cabinets, furniture, window treatments, lighting, upholstery, etc.


Any free standing or built-in object that is constructed to be functional, it may be for seating, writing, storing, and other parts of human life


Furniture layout
Is the positioning and arrangement of furniture, accessories that are space planned


Futon bed
A convertible frame with a mattress that can be use either as a sofa or a bed

Gate-leg table
A table with a drop leaf and a movable leg that supports the leaf when swung into, and retracted to let the leaf stay down

An object that has a very thin gold overlay


The act of overlaying thin gold film in an object ; or applying coating of gesso with gold leaf


A term with elaborate lathe-turned or carved wood that adorns victorian structures, including brackets, posts, fretwork, pilasters, etc.


An embellished mirror with a pair of sconces installed permanently


Glazed chintz
A resin finish applied through a heat pressure process to chintz creating a polished surface


Gold leaf
A thin gold that is used to for gilding; usually applied over a red primer to increase vibrancy and luster


Greige, gray, grey goods
Are unfinished and unbleached woven goods


Are two round metal sleeves that protects an eyelet; another term for “hole”


A decorative pattern of interlacing curves

Half-lap joint
A woodworking joint that one end is rabbeted and the other board is dadoed somewhere in the middle

Hand forged
An iron heated and formed by means of hands e.i. wrought iron


A material made from wood fibers compressed into sheets, having many household and industrial uses.


Any material that is added to mechanize the operation of cabinetry, drawers, doors (ie cremona bolt)


A wood plank from a dense and strong slow-growing tree


It is a part of a tree trunk used to produce lumber, usually darker in color when it goes old and harder


A tall queen Anne style chest of drawers with legs


High low
A multi-level pile heights


Any fashion or style that is up-to-date and costly

It is a an ornamentation process whereas to set one material into the surface of another creating a pattern; inserting any material like ivory, stone, or shells to a surface;
is a decorative technique of inserting pieces of contrasting, often colored materials into depressions in a base object to form patterns

Interior trim
Refers to the linear objects like baseboard, railing, molding, window and door trim


Decorative hand-forged iron and cast grilles and etc.

A 17th century embroidered crewel work imitating a stylized floral pattern

A finishing method of successive application of lacquer to an item from Japan and China


A various method of connecting a material to another: butt, dovetail, dowel, mortise;  A craft assembling woodworking joints

Kiln dried specification of a wood


A furniture sold in parts to be assembled, also referred as KD

A synthetic coating dried to form a protective film

A cloth and synthetic layers bonded together to improve appearance and performance


A method/process of bonding one layer to another under heat or pressure to be united


Lap desk
A wooden hinged box that when flipped open, provides a slanted writing surface; usually with leather or tooled inset


A crisscross diagonal pattern


It is a preserved and tanned hide of an animal


A reproduction of material emulating an animal hide


A man-made leather and has a different kinds of colors


Linen fold
A Tudor carved wood detail representing fabric folds on paneling



An upholstered seat with arms and back rest that is for two

A faux finishing technique imitating a real marble

It is the art of inlaying different woods, and other natural materials to create a picture.


Matte finish
A finish that is not glossy or shiny


Medium Density Fiberboard


Miter Joint
Are two boards are cut at a 45 degree angle and joined e.i. photo frame


A specific unit of measure to compute for length, area, distance and etc.


Metal Finish
Are real or imitated metal finishes including brass, bronze, chrome, steel, zinc, etc.


Metallic Finish
A metal finish with iridescent and reflective qualities


A ready-made woodwork manufactured at a lumber mill


A glass panel with mercury backing that reflects anything, it is often framed


Mitered corner
Any material, wood, fabric folded or joined to create a 45 degree angle


Modesty Panel
A panel used on furniture to conceal view


Moisture content
Refers to the water present in a wood and is expressed as a percentage of weight of oven dry wood


It is a form that when used reproduces multiple work of the same patterns from it; plaster, cement, plastic, etc.


It is the result created by a mold


A slot cut into a piece of wood; it is where the tenon fits snugly into it to create a strong joinery


Motion upholstery
A soft seating offering swivels, recliners, and incliners


Murphy bed

A framed mattress that can be folded, or raised up to be concealed in a wall or a cabinet

Nail-head trim
Is upholstery detail using a series of decorative tacks


A crevice or recess part of a wall

Occasional table
A generic term used for any small table

Ogee edge
An edge detail with a “S” profile


It is what you call any material or surface that the light can’t pass through


A cast brass, chiseled and gold-gilded decorative mountings for furniture


A decorative object or a design added to an object


The act of applying purely decorative details on an object



A heavy fabric with pronounced crosswise ribs; it is a foot stool

A fabric or material used for creating cushion

A tinted liquid agent that coats a surface making it opaque


A surface fully or partially coated with paint


The act of applying and coating of a surface with paint; an object of art created with various types of paints


An intricate interlocking curvilinear pattern from India


A geometric wood patterns inlaid in flooring and furniture


Particle board
Is also called as chipboard, it is a sheet that made up with wood chips glued and pressed to form under a high pressure and temperature


Partition wall
A non-structural dividing wall


A green film that forms in an aged copper or bronze due to the exposure of chemicals


A repetitive or random arrangement of designs


Pattern repeat
Are increments between horizontal or vertical patterns repeated in fabric, wallcoverings, etc


Is a support or stand for an object of art


A specific time in history


A stuffed cushion object that is made in various shape and sizes


Pillow sham
A fabric cover designed to protect a pillow


A molded or extruded compounds formed through a chemical process


A manufactured sheet of wood from a thin pile of veneers and solid slats on the middle core


A several layers of thin wood veneers glued together one top to another forming a wood sheet


A synthetic polymer fiber manufactured from coal, water and petroleum, and has a shrink, stretch, and wrinkling resistant properties


A synthetic material composed of monomers


A synthetic resin manufactured from polymers joined by urethane used in adhesives, carpet padding, plastics, etc.


A fabric gathered into a puff; a round upholstered tufted ottoman seen in the dressing area


The first application of paint to seal or prepare the wall surface


Is the comparative relationship between elements or objects in ratio, balance, degree



Is a reference to the production of a 3d sample design, either full-sized or re-scaled

Are logs cut in quarters lengthwise to reveal intricate wood grain patterns

Rabbet joint
A cut into the edge of a board (w/c can be joined to another board w/o notches)

A carved wood detail combining a series of thin, parallel, convex lines used as inlay or applied carving


A raised ornament


A decorative metalwork outlined and embossed, hammered or punched on the back side


A term used for the style or fashion during 1940’s-1960’s


A thin band of fabric with finished edges used to tie, trim or embellish


A French origin shell-covered rock work ornamentation

A younger and softer sap-containing and usually light colored portion of the woody stem

A curved shapes repeated along the edge of an object


A woven cloth with errors and flaws


A cabinet hinged surface opening forward onto pull-out supports revealing chubby holes for writing materials with a bookcase, often with glass door cabinet above


An elongated seating created with multiple connected units


A furniture utilized in a dining area for storing and table services


Winding and curving back and forth like a serpent


Set match
Patterns set side by side on the same level


A light scaled, medium-sized or long bench


The quality of difference of any color from its original color


An effect, w/c appears along a seam of the same product, when ink is unevenly applied during the dying or printing process


Shoji screen
An oriental, geometric, wooden screen with rice paper panels


A case goods, often 36″ high, used for serving food and storing china


A stationary, vertical windows flanking an operating exterior door


Slipper chair
A low arm less upholstered chair with skirting usually used in a bedroom


An upholstered seat usually with back and arm rest that can accommodate 3 or more people


A detailed outline with important notes that is necessary for the implementation or construction of a design


A shaft that connects to a knob in a lockset; is a vertical post that supports in a stairway; is a decorative sticks in a wooden furniture


A long metal ruler or tool used for trimming selvage edges, or marks and cuts straight lines


A tanned leather animal hide with the exterior layer removed and napped surface


Suede cloth
A synthetic woven textile with a brushed nap surface imitating a suede


An opening enclosed with decorative trim in all sides

A top surface of a table that can be of any material

A solid wood, wood veneer, metallic face laminate, or cork, laminated to a tempered hardboard core with brown fabric backing


Technical working drawings
A set of visual presentations made through technical drafting for details and specifications


A narrow piece of wood custom cut to fit in a mortise


A specialty seating for two for an intimate conversation, it is often “S” shaped, but can be seen side by side


A chair foe the kings, cardinals for ceremonial occasions


Tongue and grove
A wood joinery with an extruded edge on a flat board which slips into a corresponding groove on an adjacent board


A standing lamp with indirect upward lighting


Tortoise shell
A hard, black-brown mottled shell of turtles and tortoises used as inlay or imitated in other surface


A semi-opaque surfaces, w/c diffuses light and partially obscuring a view


Any material which light passes through, and is completely see-through


A decorative textile bands used for edging fabric or upholstery panels


Trumeau Mirror
A French mirror with decorative carvings and oil painting above it


Trundle bed
A daybed twin bed with a pull-out mattress

Materials used to make soft seating furniture

A liquid coating applied to wood forming a protective thin sheet on the surface when applied

Veneer/ wood veneer
A paper-thin wood sheet that is installed on the surface of an object for decorative purposes


Veneer match
Are patterns created by placing thin slices of wood together featuring the grain in various combinations


A greenish patina found on aged brass, bronze or copper


A random pattern of curving, squiggly lines


A fiber made w/ a compound polymer


A glass-sided display cabinet with glass shelves to highlight special collections


An acronym for Volatile Organic Compound

A material applied to the bottom third of an interior wall

A free standing or built-in cabinet for storing clothes


Windsor chair
A spindled-back, turned legged chair with rush seat


Wing-backed chair
A high back chair with protruding wings on sides of it, often with exposed carved cabriole legs


Wood furniture
A hand-crafted, or manufactured wooden case goods


Wood Grain
Refers to the general alignment or direction of fiber wood to the axis of the tree trunk


A handmade cabinetry or casing out of wood


Work station
Floor areas and furniture used by employees to do their tasks


Work surface
Any surface designed for accomplishing a task


Writing desk
A cabinet or piece of furniture incorporating built-in drawers and slots for pens, letters, etc.


Wrought iron
A heated, hammered, bent iron