Furniture Glossary®

Be in the Know.


Antiquing:

The use of finishes and other techniques to create the appearance of age. Antiquing can be applied to metal home accents, wooden pieces, and even leather to create an elegantly worn look.

Attached Back:

Attached back pieces feature cushions that are attached, and cannot be removed or flipped. Prevents pillows from being moved out of place. Attached back cushioning maintains the durability of cushioning because the back does not move or wear as it would if it were detached.

Ball foot:

A basic, historic style seen on chairs, tables or other casegoods, which appears like a carved ball sitting at the end of the chair leg. Also called a bun foot.

Banding:

Veneer cut into narrow strips of contrasting color for decorative effect, typical of marquetry or inlay. Often used around the edges of furniture, drawers, etc.

Baseball Stitch:

Upholstered furniture containing a triple stitch seam of fabric, with two visible stitches bordering a center stitch between the two pieces of fabric. Inspired by the classic stitching on a baseball, this stitch is a design feature and often contrasts with the upholstery of a sofa, loveseat, or chair.

Barrel chair:

Semicircular upholstered chair with loose seat cushion. Originally made from wine barrel halves.

Bench Seat:

A sofa or loveseat that utilizes only one long seat cushion. Bench seating is streamlined, attached cushioning. Sofas and couches, loveseats and other upholstered pieces can feature bench seating.

Beveled Glass:

Thick glass with an angled surface cut around the entire periphery. The bevel on a mirror or glass piece adds visual interest, and enhances the formality of mirrored pieces. The bevel is cut into the glass, and is usually showcased by framing.

Block Foot:

A square, vertical foot at the base of a straight, untapered leg. Block feet are common on sleek, modern pieces and add a clean-lined look to home furnishings and accents.

Bonded Leather:

A composite material made of leather, polyester, cotton, and polyurethane. It contains about 17% genuine leather. Pieces of leather are applied to a polyester/cotton blend material as a backing, and then polyurethane is applied to the top to get the consistent look and feel. You gain the look and feel of leather, along with the easy maintenance, without the cost.

Bun foot:

A flattened ball foot. Bun feet are found across many styles, from traditional home furnishings to the most contemporary.

Bunk Bed:

A bed consisting of two or more lofted, joined mattresses and bed frames. Bunk beds are typically stacked, have a ladder, and are conjoined.

Burl:

A variation (or "knot") in wood grain that creates a pattern when cut thin; often used for veneer or inlay. Burls are naturally occurring in wood, and can be mimicked in manufactured pieces to add an organic appearance.

Burnishing:

Hand rubbed polishing to enhance the natural color of the wood. Burnishing adds a beautifully worn look to wooden pieces, and gives depth and warmth.

Camelback:

A sofa back with a protruding central "hump". Camelback shaping elegant, traditional, and can be found across various styles of furniture.

Casegoods:

A category of furnishings and home accents that is not upholstered, and is used for storage. Casegoods typically features drawer and cabinet storage, and can be used in most rooms of the home.

Caster:

Wheels that allow home furnishings to roll around. Each of a set of small wheels, free to swivel in any direction, fixed to the legs or base of a heavy piece of furniture so that it can be moved easily. Casters add versatility and easy mobility to a variety of home accents and furniture pieces.

Chairside End Table:

A smaller end table, usually half the size, designed for next to recliners or accent chairs. Chairside tables often feature a lamp, and are used for entertaining.

Chaise Pad:

The footrest of a reclining chair or sofa. This pad provides the complete support of your leg while in the reclined position. Chaise pads enhance the reclining and relaxing experience.

Charles of London:

A style of sofa or chair defined by its low rolling arm. Traditionally inspired by British furniture tradition, this style features dropped arms, with a classic rolled shape.

Chenille:

A fuzzy yarn that creates a velvet feel when woven tightly; often used for upholstery. Chenille is soft to the touch, durable, and found in home accents, furniture upholstery, and rugs.

Cheval mirror:

A mirror that is freestanding. Cheval mirrors can be used for dressing, or as home accents. These mirrors enhance the décor of a space, and allow for easy dressing in a bedroom or dressing area.

Club Chair:

Low back upholstered chair with arms. Club chairs are streamlined, often scaled down, and are versatile in use. These chairs can be used in dining, or in arranging seating areas.

Coffee Table:

Also known as a cocktail table, it is any long low table customarily placed in front of a sofa, or in an entertainment space. Coffee tables often double as ottoman pieces, and are found across all furniture styles.

Corner blocks:

Small pieces of wood, typically triangular in shape used to reinforce joints in the frames of wood furnishings. Corner blocks are used at the point of maximum strain on a piece of wooden furniture to enhance the lifetime durability. Corner blocks strengthen corners of seat frames and prevent the dowels from cracking under presser.

Crown Molding:

The ornamental trim around the top edge of a piece of furniture. Inspired by architectural molding, crown molding brings a classic finish to wood storage pieces like dressers, bureaus, and chests. Crown molding can also accent wood bedroom pieces, and seating pieces with wood accents or structure.

Curio:

A casegood with shelves, glass panels and doors, designed for displaying collectibles, etc. Curios are often found in dining room groups, or entertainment centers. Ideal for displaying collectibles, curios are a traditional furnishing that has become popular across many styles.

Daybed:

A versatile bed that can be used as a sofa, a sleeping bed, or a lounge area. Daybeds are common in guest rooms, as they double as seating and sleeping areas.

Density:

Often used to reference the weight per cubic foot of foam. Density is independent of firmness, but is an important marker of foam quality: the denser the foam, the higher quality the foam. Foam with a density of 1.8 pounds per cubic foot is less likely to "bottom out" or flatten.

Distressed finish:

The intentional marking or denting of wood to give an antique appearance. An antiquing treatment, distressing adds vintage appeal, disguises normal furniture wears, and gives depth, texture, and visual interest to wooden pieces.

Double Pedestal:

A tabletop supported by two supporting columns. The two supporting columns, or pedestals, allow sturdiness and give the table a distinctive, symmetrical style.

Dovetail:

A type of joinery using interlocking wedge shapes, often used in drawer construction. They are associated with quality of drawer construction. Its purpose is to stabilize drawer fronts so that years of use won?t loosen them. In earlier construction, concealed or discreet dovetails were common. Dovetail construction and detailing is a classic, traditional feature common in English design, and found now throughout quality made furniture.

Down:

Pillow or cushion stuffing made of goose or duck breast feathers. Authentic down is naturally durable and holds it shape well. Down is common in decorative and sleep pillows, as well as in seating and backing cushions on upholstered pieces.

Drop-leaf table:

A dining or occasional table with hinged leaves that can be lowered. The leaf is an extension piece, and on a drop-leaf table, hinges are to be lifted as needed to put the extensions in place.

Drop-in Coil Springs:

A pre-made wire assembly usually containing coil springs, which is inserted into the seat frame below the deck to provide a desired level of seating comfort and elasticity. These springs add structural support and maintain seat height.

Duvet:

A down-filled comforter. Duvets are often an interior piece that fits within a duvet cover. Duvet covers are decorative, washable, and removable.

Eight-way, hand-tied:

A marker of high quality furnishings, these are the hand-tied springs in a sofa to hold the supportive springs in place. In today?s furniture, most sofas feature metal clips and wires that keep coils in position.

Elastic Webbing:

Interwoven synthetic and nylon-blended strips that provide a foundation for upholstered furniture in the arms, backs and seats. Replaces sinuous springs or eight way hand tied coils. As alternative, elastic webbing provides support for cushioning along all seating areas of sofas and couches, loveseats, accent chairs, and other upholstered pieces.

End Table:

A small table that is used beside or at the end of a larger piece of furniture. End tables often are used for reading lamps, or in entertainment spaces to hold drinks.

Enduro Suede:

Trade name for a washable synthetic fabric with a suede-like feel. This material gives the look of genuine suede with the durable, and easy maintenance of washable fabric. Enduro Suede is a durable, lasting alternative to genuine leather pieces.

Finger joint:

Connector consisting of interlocking projections used in furniture construction. These joins enhance the durability of furnishings, and add reinforcement.

Finial:

A decorative knob that caps the top of a bedpost or lamp. Finials are a traditional design element, but have been modified for use across various styles. Finials can additionally be found on accent pieces.

Flared Arm:

An upholstered arm that rolls out away from the midline of the sofa or chair. Flared arms resemble scrolls that move outward and draw the eye away from the seating area of the piece.

Fly Speckling:

A technique of antiquing that makes tiny spots in the staining process.

Fluting:

A method of carving parallel channels in wood; typically used in columns or legs, fluting can be found on carved beds, table legs, occasional tables, and other home accents.

French Dovetail:

A joint type made of a long dovetail shaped piece that is slipped into a complementing mortise. Often used in drawer construction, French dovetail joints add to the durability and craftsmanship of casegoods and other storage pieces.

Futon:

A sofa with a thin mattress/cushion that can also be laid out flat as a bed. Futons are great sleep solutions for dorms, spare bedrooms, and offices as they double as sofas when not in use.

Glider:

A mechanism that allows the chair to glide back and forth on a hinged or ball bearing assembly. Often coupled with swivel and reclining motion, gliders allow for a smooth horizontal motion.

Hardwood:

Any wood created from broad-leafed trees. Well-known examples of hardwood include walnut, beech, mahogany, maple and oak.

Inlay:

A cut ornamental setting of a contrasting material (such as marble) in wood. Inlays are a popular design feature in tabletops, and add visual interest. Inlays can be stone, tile, glad, or two-toned wood to contrast with the base layer of the furnishing.

Kiln drying:

A controlled technique of drying wood that regulates heat and humidity the heat and humidity to reduce moisture and ensure the wood is as durable, firm, and h5 as possible.

Knock down (KD):

This refers to any furnishing purchased that requires at-home assembly; also called ready-to-assemble (RTA). Knock down furniture cuts back on costs.

Lacquer:

A smooth coating added as the last step in finishing furniture that adds a hard layer of protection. Lacquer enhances durability to hard surfaces, and can add richness to the finish depending on the style of lacquer.

Ladderback:

A chair with a series of horizontal cross-rails connecting the backing posts. Ladderback style is casual, common on dining chairs, and is found across all styles. Ladderback style is an open-backed design that has become very popular.

Laminate:

A light wood compound made of glued layers of wood grain. Laminate can also be made of a layer of wood grain glued to the outside of a piece of furniture. Laminate is a cost-effective alternative to solid hardwood, and gives the look of wood.

Leaded Glass:

Leaded glass is made by soldering small pieces of beveled glass to create a larger glass product. From vases to decorative bowls and other home accents, leaded glass is common in home design.

Leaf:

A single panel in a tabletop, sometimes removable or droppable, dependent on construction. A leaf is often an extension piece used whenever additional seating is needed. A leaf can be hinged, discreetly concealed within a table, or an additional piece that fits inside the extended area.

Lift Chair:

A reclining with a mechanism that raises the chair off the ground, elevating the sitter to a standing position. Lift chairs are great for people with difficulty standing from seated position.

Loft Bed:

A single bed that is elevated from the floor requiring stairs or a ladder. Loft beds save on space, and free up floor space for additional storage. Loft beds are ideal for students and children.

Loose Back:

An upholstery furniture piece in which the back pillows are detached from the back frame. Specifically allows for cushions to be flipped. Loose back cushioning on sofas and couches, loveseats and other upholstered pieces is versatile and allows cushions to be flipped and moved as needed.

Mahogany:

A brown tropical hardwood with reddish undertones often used in furniture construction. Mahogany is associated with a rich, deep tone. Mahogany is used in office, dining, and bedroom furnishings and is very popular.

Matte:

A finish that does not have a reflective quality. Unlike a glossy finish, matte finishes do not have any sheen to them.

Miter joint:

A diagonal joint formed by two pieces of wood. A miter joint is a simple joint type, and can be used in a variety of wood constructions.

Mortise-and-tenon:

A joint formed of a cut slot in one piece of wood and a cut "tongue" in another. A classic example of this style of joint is dovetail. Mortise is the groove or cut slot, and the tenon is long, projectile piece that goes into the mortise to create the joint.

Motion furniture:

Any furnishing that feature movement or mechanisms that allow for motion is a motion piece. Recliners, swivel chairs, rockers, gliders, lift chairs, sleeper sofas, futons, and folding pieces are each examples of motion furniture. Motion pieces can be power or manually operated, and vary in complexity.

Molding:

Shaped strips of wood or other material added to a surface for ornamentation. A classic example is crown molding along a ceiling; molding adds a classical or traditional style element to furniture, and can be found in bedroom pieces, entertainment, and dining sets.

Nail head trim:

An ornamental trim of metal tacks that gives the illusion of nail heads. It is often found on the edge of leather and upholstered sofas, chairs and ottomans. Nail head trim is popular across various styles, and adds an industrial feel.

Nesting tables:

Small occasional tables that are designed to store one under another, typically in sets of three. Nesting tables store in a space-saving way, and can be separated as needed for entertaining, and use.

Non-Skid Foot:

Any foot containing a rubber grip base to prevent the furniture from moving on a wooden or laminate floor. Non-skid feet are intended to protect flooring from the wear caused by moving of legged furnishings.

Overlay:

A piece of decorative trim applied to a flat surface. An overlay can be a veneer, and is an aesthetic addition to enhance the look of a surface. Overlays can be found on refurbished or reclaimed pieces, or on new furniture as a design touch.

Patina:

A luster or shine that develops with use over time, characteristic of antique furnishings. Burnishing, or rubbing, a surface creates a patina over time. Antiquing and faux finishes can add patinas to a piece of furniture to give it a timeworn look. Metal, wood, and leather can have a patina.

Pedestal table:

instead of legs supporting it, a pedestal table rests on a single central column with a broad base. Pedestal tables can be traditionally or contemporarily styled. These tables can have glass tops with wooden or metal bases, or can be made of all one material.

Pillow Top:

Seat cushions or arm pads including an additional section filled with a poly-dacron material to add a level of comfort. Synonymous with comfort, pillow top accents add comfort to the arms, seatbacks, and seating areas of sofas and couches, loveseats, chairs, and other upholstered pieces.

Pocketed Coils:

Cylindrical innerspring mattress coils, individually enclosed in separate flexible fabric pockets, attached together to create support. Pocketed coils are common in sofas, chairs, and other upholstered seating pieces. They add durability and lasting firmness to furniture.

Polyurethane:

The ingredient of synthetic foam used in seat cushions. It is used to create the high-density foam associated with top quality furniture, and is known for durability. Made to wear well over time, polyurethane is a man-made material common in a variety of high-end upholstery and furniture.

Rain or Bubble Glass:

Glass with air bubbles throughout the piece. Rain or bubble glass is common in home accent pieces for its visual interest and design appeal. Rain or bubble glass is common in vases and decorative bowls, and adds texture.

Rolled arms:

The flared arms of a chair or sofa that "roll" back in to meet the sides. Rolled arms are traditional, but found across a variety of styles. Rolled arms, or scrolled arms, are comfortable as arm rests.

Scatter Back (or Scatter Pillow Back):

An upholstery furniture piece in which the back pillows are loose and can be arranged in any manner. This adds design and style versatility to sofas and couches, and loveseats. As opposed to a traditional loose back pillow piece, scatter back pieces have more back pillows than seat cushions, and the back pieces can be moved and removed.

Shaped Back (or Conversational Sofa):

An upholstery furniture piece that has a curved back, making the two outer seats face slightly towards each other. Shaped back sofas and couches, loveseats, accent chairs, and other pieces are visually interesting and stylish. The shaped back feature is a deliberate design and accent feature.

Sheaf back:

Inspired by the shape of a sheaf of wheat, this style of back is common to dining chairs. The spindles on the chair?s back gather in the middle, join at a connecting plank, and flare at either or both ends. This style of chair back is found across a variety of chair styles.

Sinuous Springs:

Steel wire bent into a continuous "S" shape used for the support system in upholstered furniture. These h5, sculpted springs provide resilient support, and enhance the durability of upholstered pieces. From sofas and couches, to loveseats and accent chairs, sinuous springs are an important structural support.

Sisal:

A h5, durable natural fiber that?s often used in weaving rugs. Sisal rugs are known for their lasting weave. Sisal rugs are typically low profile, and tightly woven.

Skirt:

The fabric that hangs near the bottom of a sofa or chair, or a bed. A skirt can be a removable fabric piece, or a panel of wood connecting the legs of a piece of furniture. Beds, casegoods, sofas, and other home furnishings can feature a skirt piece.

Steel Band Base:

Trademarked by Flexsteel, these durable steel bands are an advanced support system for your upholstered furniture. Flexsteel steel band bases provide unmatched support for reclining chairs, motion sofas and couches, and other upholstered pieces.

Stretcher:

The underbracings of chairs or tables that connect the legs. Common stretchers include the "H," "X," boxed, serpentine and arched forms. Stretchers are common on casually styled pieces, but can be found on various other furnishings.

Swivel Chair:

A chair with a rotating seat, typical of some office chairs. A motion piece, swivel chairs allow the sitter to turn and change the faced direction. Common in office pieces, swivel chairs can also be recliners or lounge chairs.

Tapered Leg:

A furniture leg that narrows toward the floor. Tapered legs can be rounded, block style, or spindles, and are found across various styles. Tapered legs can be on sofas, accent chairs, casegoods, and more.

Tight Back:

Fully upholstered back designed not to have a cushion or pillow. The tight back design enhances the durability of sofa and couch, loveseat, and other upholstered pieces because the back does not move, and breakdown.

Throw:

A light, decorative fabric or blanket typically draped over the back of a sofa or the end of a bed. Throw blankets add color, texture, warmth, and interest to a space. They are available in variety of materials, weaves, and styles to suit any home.

Throw pillow:

A loose, decorative pillow typically used with sofas, loveseats and large armchairs. Throw pillows can be tossed onto a variety of pieces to add interest and style. Throw pillows can be placed on a sofa, accent chair, loveseat, or a bed. Pillows are available in a variety of colors, materials, prints, and shapes.

Throw rug:

A small area rug designed as an accent piece. Throw rugs can be placed under a chair, in front of a door, in a hallway?or anywhere to add color, texture, and interest to the flooring.

Track Arm:

A straight, squared off arm, usually found on more contemporary sofas and armchairs. Described as sleek, track arms are lower-profile and scaled down. Various styles of sofas, loveseats, accent chairs, and other pieces feature track arms. Versatile and contemporary, track arms are a common design feature.

Trestle Table:

A long, narrow dining table supported by two posts with feet and a stretcher connecting them. Trestle style tables are ideal in long rooms, and are a popular choice for spacious dining areas.

Triptych:

Refers to any art, mirrored piece, or panel made of three separate pieces. Triptych often refers to a series of three photographic or graphic artworks. In interior design, triptychs can be mirrors, abstract panels, or any pieces of three that are used in décor.

Trundle bed:

A low-profile bed that rolls away, or slides under another bed when not in use. Trundle beds can be on casters for easy mobility, and are designed to discreetly store away between uses. Trundle beds are common in spare bedrooms, and in children?s rooms.

Tufting and Buttoning:

A classical, traditional technique for securing stuffing to upholstery by pulling out material through the fabric at evenly spaced intervals, then securing those material pulls with upholstered buttons. Frequently used on sofas, chairs and headboards, button tufting is a romantic, traditional accent to home furnishings. Leather and fabric can be tufted.

Turned Foot:

A wooden foot for furniture that has been finished using a lathe. Turned feet have carved appearance, and are common on sofas and couches, loveseats, chairs, and other upholstered and wooden pieces.

Turning:

Turning is the classic technique of using a lathe to carve and finish legs on furniture. A lathe can create a variety of leg styles, including spindle legs.

Tuxedo Arms:

Slightly flared arms that are the same height as the back. Tuxedo arms are a sleek, streamlined style. Tuxedo arms are more common in contemporary and modern interior design.

Veneer:

A thin sheet of wood applied to a surface to give the appearance of wood grain, or to create an inlay. A quality veneer enhances the appearance of a wooden piece. Veneered effects are efficient and economical ways of using scraps of wood to create a cohesive, stylized surface. Veneer is a very stable product and is not impacted by stretching or contracting of wood. Veneers are made of strips of wood, and are adhered to give the appearance of a consistent top.

Veneer Cuts:

  • Rotary - Log is cut or "peeled." It can yield full sheets of veneer with broad grain pattern and no plain or quarter sliced appearance.
  • Flat Slicing - The log is cut in half. Then cuts or slices are made parallel to the center cut of the log producing a variegated figure.
  • Rift-Cut - Cut from oak, a 15% angle from the centerline of a quarter piece generates the even lines of grain.
  • Half Round - Using a similar technique to the "peeling" of a Rotary cut, but only starting with half of the log, this results in a cut slightly across the growth rings that creates a grain with characteristics of both flat slicing and rift cut.

Veneer Matching:

  • Slip Match - Adjacent veneer sheets are joined side by side, matching sides up, for a uniform grain pattern.
  • Whole Piece - One single piece of veneer is used, with continuous grain characteristics running across the sheet.
  • Pleasing Match - Veneers are matched by color or similarity, not necessarily by grain characteristics.
  • Random Match - Veneers intentionally do not match at the joints, providing a causal effect.
  • Bookmatch - Every other piece of adjacent veneer is turned over, resulting in identical, but opposing patterns.

Veneer Types:

  • Burl - Characterized by a swirling, highly figured grain.
  • Quarter Sawn - Displays a subtle wavy ribbon-like pattern across the grain.
  • Sunburst - Grain pattern that seems to grow out and expand from a center point.
  • Wood Plug - Veneer cut to look like a wood plug is holding two pieces of wood together.
  • Bow Tie Joint - Veneer cut to look like a bowtie shape piece of wood is holding two other pieces together.

Wall Hugger:

Also known as a wall saver or space saver, wall huggers are recliners that can be placed in close proximity to a wall in the closed position. The reclining mechanism will flow away from the wall to avoid damaging contact with the wall behind the chair.

Welt:

A material covered cord typically used to decorate the edge of a sofa arm; often made with contrasting fabric. Welting in a formalized finish to the edges of upholstered pieces, and can be made of fabric and leather.

Wingback chair:

This is a traditional style of chair that?s often overstuffed, and fully upholstered. "Wings" come from the back of the chair, and extend above the arms on both sides to protect the sitter from drafts. In current design, the wing is purely aesthetic and is commonly used to mimic classic or vintage pieces.

Worm Holing:

A technique of antiquing that makes small holes in the wood mimicking those found in nature made by worms. This adds natural appeal, and is a useful accent in disguising normal wear of furniture.





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