Interior Design Terms

Interior Design Terms​

Becoming an interior designer requires a sophisticated design style and a thorough understanding of both interior design terminology and the basic principles of design. If you’re embarking on a career as a designer, understanding interior design vocabulary is a necessary first step. Knowing how to clearly communicate with other interior designers and decorators will help you execute your creative vision and streamline your design process


Means all items that have existed for 100 or more years.


Is a pattern with multiple interlaced flowers, foliage, fruits, urban, and scrolls.


It is a panel behind a sink or stove that protects the wall from splashes


A banquette is a built in bench, often used in a breakfast room along a wall with a pedestal dining table.

Chair rail

Horizontal molding that is generally placed towards the middle of a wall, close to the height of a standard dining room chair.


Chenille is a soft but thick textural fabric that has a bit of iridescence to it.  It is used for upholstery and heavy draperies.

Console table

A freestanding table, often found in the entryway of homes, that typically serves as a space for decorative elements.


Contemporary style refers to interior decorations that are in style now.  Do not confuse with modern.


A credenza is a piece of furniture that is approximately 30″ tall with enclosed storage below.  Credenzas are often found in dining rooms, however they are also found in offices with file storage below.

Dining room

A designated room in a house used for formal dining that is separate from

the kitchen. It is generally furnished with a long dining table and enough chairs to accommodate larger parties.


Eclectic is a decorating style that mixes decor and furniture from different styles to create a unique blend of styles.


An etagere is a small piece of furniture with several open shelves for displaying accessories.

Feng shui

A traditional method of Chinese design based around energy forces. Feng shui is meant to bring the individual in harmony with their surroundings.

Focal Point

A focal point is a part of a room that visually grabs your attention, such as a beautiful light fixture or fireplace.


A futon is a mattress on a frame that is able to bend in half and convert from a sofa to a bed.


A grommet is a donut shaped eyelet that is often made of metal.  Grommets are commonly used on shower curtains and contemporary curtains.


Named after a type of loom, jacquard textiles are woven, highly textured fabrics in which the design is incorporated into the weave rather than being stamped or printed on the material.


Laminate is an item topped with a decorative veneer.  The veneer could be

wood, but more often paper printed with a pattern.  In a home, laminate is often used for countertops


An ottoman is an upholstered footstool often upholstered in the same fabric as a chair.  It can also refer to an upholstered coffee table.

Tray Ceiling

A tray ceiling is a ceiling that has one or two stair steps up on the exterior perimeter of the room.  Not to be confused with a coffered ceiling.

Trompe l’oeil

A technique used to trick the eye into thinking that something flat, like a wall, is actually three-dimensional. This is often achieved through photorealistic painting.

Trundle Bed

A trundle bed is a bed on wheels that is stored underneath another bed in the same room.  Children often have a trundle bed for guests when they come to visit.


Tufting is a technique where buttons are recessed into upholstered furniture creating an interesting detail.  Tufting is often used on sofa backs and upholstered headboards.


A veneer very thin decorative layer often made of wood, brick, or stone. Underneath a veneer is a lesser expensive and/or more durable building material.

Window treatments

Window coverings that are used for aesthetic design purposes as well as to provide privacy and insulation.