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35 Interior Decorating Terms to Know to Help You Sound like a Pro

The world of interior design and architecture can be an intimidating one. If you're someone who has had any work done to your home, be it a small or large project, or if you simply enjoy reading articles or watching shows about home design, chances are you've come across a few terms you are unfamiliar with. 

Whether you're embarking on a renovating/decorating journey or you simply want to educate yourself on some design terminology, we've collated a list of words and their meanings to help you get a better understanding of the various components of home design.

From to shiplap panelling to coffered ceiling, these are 35 interior decorating terms to add to your repertoire that will help you sound like a pro.

35 Interior Decorating Terms to know 

1. Architrave

An internal moulding that frames the edges of rectangular structures such as windows, doors, and other openings.

2. Armoire

A large, two-door freestanding cabinet with shelves and drawers that typically stores clothing. Armoires are historically more ornate than wardrobes.

3. Alcove

A small recessed area set off from a larger room or garden.

4. Backsplash

A protective material at the back wall of a kitchen or bathroom behind the countertop or vanity.

5. Balustrade

A railing found on stairs that's supported by a row of small columns called balusters.

6. Banquette

Built in bench-seating that's typically uphostlered and used in dining areas.

7. Boudoir

A bedroom, sitting room, or private sitting room. Historically 'boudoir' has been defined as a 'woman's bedroom'.

8. Brocade

Heavy cloth with a raised and richly decorative design often of gold or silver threads.

9. Ceiling rose

A decorative moulding on a ceiling in which a pendant light or chandelier hangs from. 

10. Chevron

Typically seen in flooring, rows of interlocking parallelograms are joined end to end at 45 degree angles to form a zig-zag style pattern.

11. Coffered ceiling

A classic architectural detail in which a ceiling has decorative sunken panels, usually in a rectangular or square grid.

12. Console

A narrow and long side table that's placed against a wall, usually in an entryway or hallway.

13. Cornice

A decorative moulding found at the meeting point of a ceiling and wall that conceals the joints between them.

14. Feng Shui

The ancient Chinese art of arranging buildings, objects, and space in relation to the flow of energy to achieve harmony and balance.

15. Herringbone

Not to be mistaken with Chevron, the Herringbone pattern is where rectangular planks or tiles are cut precisely so that the end of one plank or tile meets to the side of the other.

16. Jute

A durable, rough fabric derived from the bark of the white Jute plant, or Corchorus capsularis, and is typically used in the interior design world to make rugs.

17. Kickboard

The panel used to cover the space underneath base cabinets in kitchens, so there are no gaps or openings showing.

18. Laminate

A four-layer synthetic flooring product made from composite wood that's intensely pressed together at high temperatures. Designed to mimic natural hardwood, stone, or stone, Laminate is a popular flooring option as it's affordable and durable.

19. Linoleum

A floor covering made from a mixture of natural materials such as wood flour, rosins, ground limestone, powdered cork, pigments, jute and linseed oil, applied to a felt or canvas backing.

20. Patina

A weathered or tarnished finish on a a surface for decor item.

21. Rattan

A tropical climbing palm that is a popular material choice for furniture because it is lightweight, durable, and looks stylish.

22. Roman shade

A style of material window covering that stacks up evenly when opened.

23. Runner

A long narrow carpet that is typically found in hallways.

24. Scale

The size of an object or piece of furniture within the dimensions of a space.

25. Sconce

A light fixture that's mounted to a wall.

26. Sectional

A type of sofa that has a modular design, with two or more pieces typically coming together to form an L or U shape.

27. Shiplap panelling

A type of wooden boarding typically used in the construction of coastal homes and barns characterised by long planks. Traditional shiplap has an overlapping joint to form a seal that makes it tight and weatherproof. 

28. Skirting Board

Timber planks that run along the lowest part of an interior wall that cover the joint between the floor and the wall surface.

29. Slats

Long, thin pieces of wood, plastic, or metal, which overlap or fit into each other, that are typically used as a support for a bed or to create Venetian blinds.

30. Terrazzo

A popular composite material used for flooring or countertops that consists of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other aggregates that are then smoothed to create a stylish, speckled look.

31. Travertine

A form of terrestrial limestone used for a variety of purposes including to make tiles.

32. Upholstery

The textile that covers a piece of furniture. 

33. Vanity

A bathroom cabinet that houses the sink and storage space for toiletries.

34. Wainscoting

A type of wood paneling on an interior wall, typically on the lower part of the wall only.

35. Window treatments

Any kind of window covering be it sheer curtains, blinds, or shutters. 

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