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Furniture Glossary®

Furniture Design Styles
  1. General Style Categories
  2. Specific Styles
Living Room
  1. Living Room Seating
  2. Living Room Motion Seating
    • Motion Seating Terminology
  3. Sofa Styles
  4. Sofa Cushion Styles
  5. Sofa Arm Styles
  6. Accent Chair Styles
  7. Upholstery Terminology
    • Seat Cushions
    • Cushion Construction Terminology
    • Upholstery Fabrics and Leathers
    • Fabric Accent Terminology
  8. Living Room Tables and Entertainment Furniture
Dining Room
  1. Dining Room Tables
    • Dining Table Terminology
  2. Dining Room Chairs
    • Dining Chair Back Styles
  3. Dining Room Furniture
Bedroom
  1. Types of Beds
  2. Bed and Frame Terminology
  3. Bedding Terminology
Office
  1. Types of Office Furniture
Accessories and Decor

Aesthetic Design Elements
  1. Foot and Leg Styles
  2. Finishes and Exterior Accents
General Construction Terms
    • Drawer Construction Terminology
  1. Types of Wood
  2. Types of Metal
  3. Other Construction Materials
  4. Veneer Terminology
    • Veneer Cuts
    • Veneer Matching

Furniture & Design Styles


General Style Categories

Contemporary:

Contemporary is a general style term used to describe furniture that feels “current” or in-line with the prevailing tastes of today. Like other general style terms, the term contemporary doesn’t necessarily represent a specific time period; instead it changes over time. From the 1990s - 2010s, the term contemporary was commonly used to describe an interior style that was centered around a neutral-toned color palette and clean-lined, minimalist furnishings. In more recent years, the contemporary look has been going through some dramatic changes. It still tends to prefer clean-lined foundational pieces, but since 2020 it’s been more and more about blending in traditional pieces, opposing styles, and maximalist motifs.

Modern:

Like the term contemporary, “modern” is a general style term that changes according to public sentiment. Since the turn of the 20th Century, the modern look has generally been one that looks to the future and prioritizes innovation at all levels. Today’s modern furniture continues this emphasis on innovation with a demand for sleek, streamlined design elements, sophisticated construction materials, and state-of-the-art functionality.

Transitional:

This aptly-named general style term is used to refer to interiors and furnishings that represent the transition periods between traditional and modern eras. In today’s furniture industry, it is most often used to describe contemporary upholstered pieces which also feature traditional design elements, such as a streamlined, contemporary accent chair that rests atop classic cabriole legs.

Traditional:

Traditional is a general style term given to furnishings that were either crafted centuries ago, or made to appear as if they were crafted centuries ago. Rather than being used to describe anything that looks outdated, the term “traditional” is usually reserved for those pieces with specific design elements which were known to have been popular in past eras. These types of elements are often ornate, and can include anything from hand-carved elements like crown molding, scrollwork, and parquetry to structural elements like rolled arms, saddle arms, or cabriole legs. Similar terms include “antique” and “classic”.

Specific Style Categories

Amish:

Amish furniture is furniture that is made by Amish Americans. The Amish make their furniture with time-honored and time-tested construction techniques, so Amish furniture is renowned for its outstanding quality and longevity. Amish furniture often boasts solid wood construction, and it usually displays a look that is more traditional or rustic in nature.

Art Deco:

A style born in France in the early 1900s, characterized by its elegant blend of man-made materials and unexpected combinations. Art Deco can be seen as a reaction to Art Nouveau, where instead of reveling in the beauty of nature and asymmetry completely, the general trend started to become more and more about embracing sleek lines and man-made materials. Art Deco furniture combines simple, streamlined designs with eye-catching decorative elements that showcase bold, geometric or curved lines. Art Deco pieces are also known for incorporating man-made substances like plastics, concrete, and vita-glass.

Art Nouveau:

This style was at the height of its popularity from around the 1880s - 1910s, and it drew much of its inspiration from all fluid forms in nature. Art Nouveau is characterized by curved/flowing lines, intricate ornamentation, asymmetry and human stylized figures for portraits, and plenty of floral or other nature-inspired motifs like animals and sunbursts.

Baroque:

A style popular in the European aristocracy from the 1600s - 1700s. Baroque furniture pieces are known for having very elaborate ornamentation, plenty of details, and an overall tendency to strive for symmetry. Some common elements included large-scale pieces with twisted columns, multi-faceted pediments, and heavy moldings.

Boho, Bohemian:

A free-spirited approach to furniture design that takes clean-lined foundational pieces that feature natural materials and combines them with accent pieces and decor full of playful colors, fabrics with woven textures, and retro appeal.

Casual:

An offshoot of the contemporary look, this design style places a huge emphasis on comfort, and often features plush upholstered pieces with convenient functionality. Common characteristics include relaxing lines, soft fabric edges, and inviting, neutral colors complemented by mild wood tones.

Coastal:

An interior aesthetic that starts with simple foundational pieces showcasing a rustic or transitional look. Coastal interiors are often centered around upholstered seating arrangements made from organic materials that showcase plenty of whiles, neutrals, and refreshing blues, and they usually feature nautical and beach-themed accents and decor.

Cottage:

A style that cultivates inspiration from French, traditional, and rustic designs to create a cozy ambiance reminiscent of pre-industrial pastoral homes. This style features traditional foundational pieces, invitingly plush seats, mismatched and secondhand pieces, as well as upholstery showcasing floral or playful prints.

Eclectic:

An experimental interior style that achieves its look by mixing patterns, bright colors, and materials that don’t typically go together, but can create a unique sense of dimension when combined.

Farmhouse:

Farmhouse style is defined by practicality and comfort, often relying on simple designs and readily available materials like wood. Traditional farmhouse furniture often has a rustic or utilitarian quality, which means many farmhouse pieces on the market will also feel weathered or have an antique feel. The traditional farmhouse color palette employs plenty of natural browns from all the wood foundational pieces, and when it comes to upholstery you’ll find both dark and light neutrals, shades of blue, and prints that showcase classic patterns or pastoral imagery. Farmhouse decor is often traditional and full of nature-inspired charm.

French Country:

French Country style brings together homespun, rustic comfort with sophisticated traditional design elements. Inspired by the classic French style of the 1700s, the French country look is both lived-in and polished, and it is achieved by blending traditional upholstered seating and antique accents with natural and pastoral decor items. You won’t find new matching sets in French country interiors, though you should find a collection of timeworn heirlooms, upholstery with floral prints, and living accents.

Industrial:

Industrial interiors resonate profoundly with the types of factories that existed in the early 20th century because they embrace exposed architectural elements such as pipes, bricks, concrete and open floor plans. When it comes to furniture, this style is primarily defined by the use of exposed metal in structural and decorative elements.

Louis Phillipe:

Most popular in the middle to late 1800s, Louis Philippe furniture was inspired by the sophisticated designs of the preceding style movements, but with less of a focus on decoration and more of a focus on curves and comfort. In general, Louis Phillipe furniture has a traditional or antique look with refined ornamentation, but there is a definite emphasis on round and curved forms. Louis Phillpe furniture often features rounded backrests, sinuous S-shaped legs, and tables were often round or oval with cut-off or slanting corners.

Mid-Century Modern:

A style that was at the height of its popularity in the 1950s and 60s, during which time the trend was to move away from needless ornamentation and to embrace streamlined designs with an emphasis on functionality. Distinguishable motifs and features include simple geometric lines, exposed wood, and jewel-toned fabrics and decor. Mid-century modern pieces can also feature materials like vinyl or glass and they often showcase flared arms or legs, though some mid-century pieces swap out flared wooden legs for thin stiletto legs made from metal.

Minimalist:

The minimalist look places functionality far above ornamentation and is characterized by straight, clean lines and a monochromatic color palette. This definition may sound simple or rustic at first, but minimalist pieces are decidedly modern as they are using simplicity to make a statement. Minimalism is all about stripping a design down until all that’s left is its essential nature, the raw beauty of the unadorned form.

Modern Farmhouse:

An interior style that offers a modern interpretation of the classic farmhouse look. Much like with farmhouse, modern farmhouse is centered on simple, utilitarian foundational pieces made from wood, but instead of natural or rustic finishes, modern farmhouse pieces often feature painted white bases for a refreshing two-toned look. Natural, traditional, and agrarian accents can be found in both farmhouse and modern farmhouse styles, but modern farmhouse interiors tend to be less cluttered with more living decor.

Modern Glam:

Modern Glam is reminiscent of the glitz and glamor of Old Hollywood because it’s all about furnishings that showcase refined character and opulent construction materials. But, instead of using traditionally-minded furnishings to create a high-end, sophisticated look, Modern Glam uses distinctly modern furnishings made from materials with lustrous finishes and lasting appeal.

Mountain Modern:

This interior style harnesses its inspiration from the rugged beauty of today’s mountain living. Mountain modern homes opt for contemporary or casual foundational pieces that prioritize comfort, and they also prefer accents featuring natural materials like stone and wood with rustic finishes. Mountain modern pieces typically use color palettes consisting of earth tones and natural colors like navy blue and forest green.

Organic Modern:

This interior design style is centered around the idea of incorporating natural elements to create a peaceful feeling space. Organic Modern starts with clean-lined, minimalist foundational pieces that usually feature plenty of exposed wood and natural fabrics like cotton and linen. Then, it contrasts the sleek modern look with curved, organic pieces and simple accents plucked from nature.

Reclaimed:

Reclaimed furniture has seen a huge surge in popularity since the 2010s, so it makes sense that reclaimed style is centered around furnishings that have the appearance of having been salvaged and restored in some way. Furniture with reclaimed style can be simple and rustic, or it can showcase elaborate traditional or exotic design elements. Whether simple or finely-carved, reclaimed furniture is usually made from wood, and the wood itself showcases a weathered finish, residual paint from the past, or is simply sanded down to its natural or unfinished state.

Renaissance:

Renaissance furniture is furniture that was crafted in Italy during the Renaissance Era (14th -17th centuries). Like with most antique furnishings, Renaissance pieces were almost always made of wood, and they were known for being decoratively carved and inlaid with lavish materials including precious stones, ivory, and gold.

Rococo:

An elaborate style of furniture that followed the Baroque period in the 18th century. Like with baroque pieces, rococo style was characterized by ornamentation, namely in the form of scrollwork and foliate motifs. Where Baroque style often used ornamentation to emphasize formality or drama, Rococo was different in that it used ornamentation, curvy lines, soft colors, luxurious textiles and materials, and elegant craftsmanship to instill a sense of levity and enjoyment.

Rustic:

Similar to farmhouse style, rustic pieces often pay tribute to the simple, agrarian furniture designs of the 1800-1900s. These pieces, usually made of wood, are characterized by simple-yet-sturdy construction techniques, natural materials and finishes, as well as distressed and weathered detailing.

Shaker:

Not to be confused with Amish furniture, the term Shaker is used to describe furniture inspired by the creations of the religious group known as the Shaking Quakers in the 1700s. Unlike the Amish, the Shakers embraced technology that increased efficiency, and this forward-looking attitude can be seen in their furniture. Shaker furniture is characterized by clean lines, tapered legs, and a surprisingly minimalist look. Shaker furnishings, especially case pieces, are also known for having simple overhanging tops, a trait which is carried on in the closely-related “Mission” style movement.

Urban, Urban Loft:

This style blends elements of contemporary, modern, and industrial aesthetics in order to curate a style that resonates with inner-city living. Though it can incorporate industrial elements, the urban look is usually associated with modern tastes thanks to its minimalist and futuristic undertones.

Western:

Western style takes its cues from the American West, so it’s a style that agrees with the idea that “bigger is better”. Western design styles make use of heavy wood furnishings, stone pieces, and large-scale, comfy seating with thick upholstery. Western interiors prioritize durable,long-lasting materials, art and decor representative of the West, and many of the textiles are made from animal hides or wool.

Living Room


Living Room Seating

Accent Chair:

Accent chairs are single-person chairs which are usually intended for living or entertainment areas. They are used to provide extra seating and as eye-catching decor.

Chaise Lounge:

A chaise lounge is a type of upholstered sofa that is designed like a single person chair, but with a seat and seat cushion that are long enough for the user to prop up their legs. The term “chaise lounge” can also refer to one of the components of a sectional sofa where the seat and cushion extends outwards, allowing the user to relax in a reclined position.

Day Bed:

A versatile seating product that can be used as a sofa, a bed, or as a casual lounge area. Daybeds are typically designed to look like standard sofas, but instead of multiple individual seat cushions, daybeds employ long bench-style cushions or twin-sized mattresses. Daybeds can be thought of as a cross between a sofa and a chaise lounge, and they are commonly found in living rooms and guest rooms.

Futon:

Derived from traditional Japanese designs, futons are types of sofas that feature mattress-like cushions which allow them to be converted from sofas to beds quickly and easily. Futons are different from sleeper sofas or sofa beds because they do not have “hidden” or pull-out mattresses - with a futon, the seating cushion is also the mattress.

Hoop Chair

A single person chair that features an upholstered seat supported by a large, ring-like frame.

Loveseat:

A small sofa which is usually upholstered and designed to accommodate two people.

Ottoman:

A low, backless and armless upholstered seat that can be used as a footstool or a seat in larger seating arrangements. Ottomans often feature comfy cushions or convenient storage features for added versatility.

Modular Sectional:

A modular sectional is a specific type of sectional. The sections in a modular sectional are unique because they can be paired together in any configuration in order to fit rooms of all shapes and sizes, whereas traditional sectionals can usually only join together in a few predetermined configurations.

Pouf:

A large round floor cushion with an amorphous shape that’s designed to sit one person. Typically integrated into other furniture arrangements, poufs are perfect for when you need extra foot room, lounging space, or additional casual seating.

Sectional:

A large sofa made in sections which are designed to combine together. Sectionals are great for adding seating to large homes or for filling out angled entertainment rooms because they can be pieced together to fit a variety of spaces. Depending on the amount of sectional pieces, sectionals can usually sit anywhere from three to ten people.

Sofa:

Sofa is a broad term that can refer to a wide variety of living room seating products, including standard sofas, sectionals, loveseats, and futons. Standard sofas are long upholstered seating pieces that traditionally feature backs and arms, and they are usually designed to sit either two or three people.

Sleeper Sofa:

A standard sofa with a mattress feature that can pull-out or convert into a bed. These are ideal for multi-purpose rooms, guest rooms and dens.

Living Room Motion Seating

Motion Furniture:

Motion furniture refers to any piece of furniture that can recline, rock, glide , swivel, or change their shape with the help of either a manual or powered mechanism. Examples of motion furniture include, recliners, swivel chairs, rockers, gliders, lift chairs, sleeper sofas, futons, and other folding pieces.

Recliner, Reclining Chair:

An upholstered chair, typically with armrests, that features either a manual or electrically-powered mechanism that allows the user to change from an upright seating position to a reclined position.

Lift Chair:

A chair, usually a recliner, that features a lifting mechanism that elevates the user to a standing position. Lift chairs are great for people who have difficulty standing from a seated position.

Swivel Chair:

Swivel chairs are chairs with seats that can rotate so the user can change the direction they are facing quickly and easily.

Rocking Chair:

A type of chair that allows the user to rock back and forth. Traditional rocking chairs are known for having two large, curved feet to facilitate the rocking movement, but this is not necessarily true for many of today’s accent chairs with rocking capabilities.

Gliding Chair:

A more streamlined rendition of a rocking chair, a glider chair is a single-person chair that moves back and forth on a fixed track, thus creating a seamless gliding motion.

MOTION FURNITURE TERMINOLOGY

Glider Mechanism:

A mechanism that allows the chair to glide back and forth on a hinge or ball.

Power Headrests:

Headrests with powered mechanisms that allow the user to change the angle of the headrests to a more comfortable position. Power headrests are found on power reclining furnishings, and they can usually be operated independently of the primary reclining mechanism.

Power Footrests:

Much like a power headrest, a power footrest is operated electronically for easy adjustments. These usually add sufficient length to a recliner chair to accommodate various heights and sizes.

Power Lumbar:

In furniture, the term “power lumbar” is used to explain that the lumbar support system is powered to move with you as you recline, providing optimal back support at all stages of the reclining process.

Wall Hugger:

This term refers to a specific type of power reclining mechanism that allows the reclining chair or sofa to be placed in close proximity to a wall. With a wall hugger recliner, the seat moves forward as the backrest reclines in order to avoid any kind of damaging contact with the wall behind it. Wall hugger recliners are sometimes known as a “wallaway recliner” or “space saver recliners” depending on the manufacturer.

Chaise Pad:

The footrest of a reclining chair or sofa providing complete support of your leg while in the reclined position to enhance your relaxing experience.

SOFA STYLES

Camelback Sofa:

A sofa who's back with a protruding central "hump" intended for added elegance in any style of furniture.

Chesterfield Sofa:

One of the most world-renowned sofa designs, featuring rolled arms that are the same size as the back. Traditionally comes in leather upholstery with tufted detailing, and is a more formal style of sofa that can seat two comfortably.

Shaped-Back Sofa:

A visually intriguing upholstered sofa that features a curved back, making the two outer seats face slightly towards each other to create a cozy conversation area.

English Roll Arm Sofa:

These types of sofas have a classic look and combine timeless rolled arms with attached cushions to create a sense of simple elegance.

Lawson Sofa:

Created by 20th century financier Thomas Lawson, this sofa bridges the gap between traditional and mid-century modern styles. Characterized by a simple silhouette, loose but square but back cushions, low padded arms, and the sofa back is as high as the sofa seat is deep. Traditionally Lawsons are made with three attached back cushions over three seats.

Tuxedo Back Sofa:

A sophisticated-looking design where the backrest rises to the exact height of the arms, giving the sofa a sleek, streamlined silhouette.

SOFA CUSHION STYLES

Attached Back:

This refers to when the sofa, or other type of seat, has cushions which are attached to the back and cannot be removed or flipped. “Attached back” cushions often look similar to loose back cushions, but they are usually sewn into the back so that they do not move out of place.

Loose Back:

A “loose back” means that the sofa or other type of seat has cushions which are detached from the back frame. This allows for both sides of the cushions to be used, as they can be flipped and moved as needed.

Scatter Back:

A “scatter back” means that the sofa or other type of seat has many loose back pillows and can be arranged in any manner to promote versatility. As opposed to a traditional loose back sofa, scatter back pieces have more back cushions than seat cushions, and the back cushions are intended to be arranged and rearranged however you see fit.

Tight Back:

The term “tight back” is used to describe a sofa or other type of seat which has attached cushioning that is a part of the backrest itself. A tight back sofa is a specific type of attached back sofa where the cushioning appears to be “sewn-in” or incorporated into the frame itself, rather than being made to look like traditional sofa cushions.

SOFA ARM STYLES

Arc Arms, Arcing Arms:

Typically seen in contemporary furniture, these arms emanate from the back feet then arc upwards and forwards until they enclose the seating area at a proper height.

Dome Arms:

Similar to track arms, dome arms extend straight forward from the back of the couch at an appropriate armrest height, but unlike track arms dome arms aren’t flat, they curve upward at the middle to create their signature dome look.

English Roll Arms:

These are upholstered roll arms that are kept tight to the furnishing so they don’t protrude far from the sides.

Flared Arms:

An upholstered arm that rolls out away from the midline of the sofa or chair. This arm style resembles outward moving scrolls to draw the eye away from the seating area of the piece.

Key Arms:

Straight track arms with wide tops that extend past the arm structure in a squared, key-like shape. Key arms instill a contemporary, well-tailored look and can sometimes come embellished with nailhead trim.

Padded Arms:

A double rolled arm that creates visual appeal layering a decorative panel arm over another arm.

Pillow-Top Arms:

Arms with a cushioned top layer that promotes a super-soft feel and added dose of comfort.

Pleated Arms:

A pleated arm is a more subdued rolled arm with front pleats, akin to a Lawson arm excluding the fixed front panel. Unlike other arms, a typical pleated arm has no distinguished outline.

Roll Arms, Rolled Arms:

Rounded arms of a chair or sofa that give the appearance of "rolling” down past the seating area to meet the sides.

Saddle Arms:

Arms which have a dip or downward curve at their midpoint, resembling the contoured curve of a saddle.

Slope Arms, Sloping Arms:

Curvaceous armrests that start from the top of the backrest and swoop downward as they extend forward to provide comfortable arm support.

Track Arms:

Track arms are straight, squared arms that extend parallel to the seat. Track arms are a hallmark of contemporary style, and they often give furnishings a sleek, low-lined, or minimalist look.

ACCENT CHAIR STYLES

Barrel Chair:

Inspired by its original creation using wine barrel halves, this piece features a semicircular upholstered chair with a loose seat cushion.

Bergère Chair:

This traditional type of accent chair is defined by an exposed wooden frame and legs in addition to their comfortable seats, which are upholstered with an eye-catching or refined fabric.

Club Chair:

Club chairs are the quintessential lounge-style accent chair. These chairs are often designed to have an “oversized” look with deep seats, and they usually feature plenty of cushioning as well as an upholstered exterior made from either fabric or leather. Club chairs have arms, and the term can apply to both stationary seats and certain recliners.

Slipper Chair:

Slipper Chairs are armless upholstered accent chairs that are often seated relatively low to the ground. Slipper chairs are great because they often have clean, compact frames which allow them to be placed anywhere, and their slipper covers are typically meant to look elegant so they are usually a welcome addition to any existing decor.

Wingback Chair:

This style of chair is 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.

Upholstery Terminology

Upholstery:

Refers to a wide range of furniture that features padding and a fabric exterior. An upholstered piece of furniture can refer to any furnishing that features fabric or leather along its exterior, though the term can also apply to the various comfort materials beneath the exterior in certain cases.

TYPE OF CUSHIONS

Bench Cushion:

A single seat cushion which extends the length of the sofa or sectional component in order to create a seamless-looking seat.

Box Cushion:

A box cushion, or “box-edge cushion”, features a wide strip of fabric (gusset) that connects the front and back of the cushion, creating a box-like effect. This can also be reinforced by a foam insert which instills a more traditional feel.

Knife-Edge Cushion:

Knife-edge cushions are cushions with fronts and backs that have been sewn directly together, and they are often thought of as an alternative to box-edge cushions. This style of cushion can feature welted trim along the seam, or the two sides of the cushion can be joined with no decorative trim of any kind. Knife edge cushions are popular in contemporary interiors because they have a cleaner, more minimalist look compared to box-edge cushions.

L-Shaped Cushion:

Primarily found on end cushions, this characterizes a loose seat pillow that extends around the front width of the sofa arm, creating an L-shape. Some choose to further differentiate these cushions into L- and “J-shaped” cushions according to the specific orientation of the cushion’s extension.

Pillow-Top Cushions:

Designed to provide maximum comfort, this style of cushioning is often found on seats or armrests, and it includes a supplementary top section filled with a plush material. Pillow-top accents add comfort to the arms, seatbacks, and seat cushions of many upholstered pieces.

T-Shaped Cushion:

A bench-style seat cushion with sections that extend around the front width of the accompanying arms, creating a “T” shape.

Throw Pillow:

A throw pillow is an attractive accessory pillow that is not traditionally thought of as a part of a chair's seat cushions, but rather as a type of accent that promotes style, personality, and some additional comfort.

Waterfall Cushion:

A style of box-edge cushion where the front of the cushion wraps around the forward facing side and continues to form the back or underside of the cushion without any noticeable seam or interruption. Waterfall cushions have discreet side panels and therefore the general shape of box cushions, but they have a more streamlined aesthetic.

CUSHION CONSTRUCTION TERMINOLOGY

Dacron:

A robust polyester fiber material which is designed to wrap around the foam inserts of large sofa cushions. Dacron gives cushions a plush, rounded look that holds up well over time, plus it’s hypoallergenic and resists stains and mold.

Down:

Down is a soft fiber taken from the underside of ducks and geese. Down has been used as a filling material for pillows and cushions for centuries. “Down cushions” are usually made with a blend of down and feathers, and they are well-known for their soft and luxurious feeling of comfort.

Blown Fiber, Fiberfilled:

A term used to refer to a cushion or pillow which is filled with raw polyester fibers. Blown fiber pillows are usually affordable with a loose, plush feel.

High-Density Foam:

A type of polyurethane foam that’s used widespread across various upholstered furnishings, and the standard density of high-density foam when it comes to furniture is 1.8lbs per cubic foot. The term “density” refers to the density of foam compared to air pockets within the foam. High-density foam got its name because, when it was first created, it contained a higher foam-to-air ratio than other upholstery foams. The standard 1.8lbs high-density foam has become the most common type of foam used in furniture because it strikes the perfect balance between looks, longevity, softness, and support.

Extra High-Density Foam:

A subtype of high-density foam that exceeds the standard density for foam (1.8lbs), giving it a denser feel as well as enhanced longevity. The greater density in these foams doesn’t necessarily mean they will feel more firm, it usually translates into a more luxurious feel and a greater lifespan.

Individually-Wrapped Coils:

A term used to describe support coils which are enclosed in separate, flexible fabric pockets. The fabric pockets of individually-wrapped coils are attached together, but the metal coils themselves are not so they can each flex independently of one another to provide targeted, reactive support. Individually-wrapped coils are a premium form of support found in large seat cushions, and they used to add durability and lasting firmness.

Bagged Cushion Filling:

Often used when referring to cushions filled with blown fiber, the term bagged is used to indicate that the cushion’s internal fill resides within an interior bag beneath the fabric exterior in order to help the cushion maintain its shape over time.

Channeled Cushion Filling:

When speaking about cushion filling, the term “channeled” is used to indicate that the cushion’s loose fiber filling has been secured in place via sewn or stitched channels.

TYPES OF UPHOLSTERY FABRICS AND LEATHERS

Bonded Leather:

A composite material blend 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. This permits the look and feel of leather without strenuous cost or meticulous maintenance.

Chenille:

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

Cotton:

A fabric made from the soft fibers of the cotton plant. This natural material is known for its hypoallergenic properties and breathability, making it both easy to regulate temperature and lightweight to the touch. Cotton is popular in furniture upholstery, bedding, and other textiles.

Denim:

This sturdy fabric is composed of cotton twill fabric, most known for its signature rich blue hue and versatile use.

Faux-Leather:

A material made from synthetic matter, usually plastic-based, which is waxed and dyed to mimic the texture of animal leather.

Full Grain Leather:

The highest quality of leather, valued for its natural grain and texture. Unlike other types of leather, this leather’s outer hide isn’t sanded or buffed during the leathering process to remove imperfections.

Jute:

Long, rough and shiny plant fibers woven into coarse yet strong fabric, which can be used in a variety of textiles.

Leather:

A high-quality upholstery material derived from animal skin that has undergone the “leathering” process involving chemical processes to prevent decay.

Linen:

A plant-based textile made from the fibers of a flax plant. Linen is desirable because not only can it absorb dampness but also is eco-friendly, hypoallergenic and antibacterial.

Mohair:

A soft wool that is sourced from the Angora goat. This fabric has a distinct luster and sheen that makes it highly desirable.

Nylon:

A synthetic fabric derived from petrochemicals, based in a family of materials known as polyamides. Made from carbon-reacting chemicals in a high-pressure, high-heat environment thus giving it its durability against rubbing, water, and other chemicals.

Performance Fabric:

A term for any synthetically-derived material designed to withstand heavy use. This type of fabric typically possesses an intricate or tight weave to increase rub count, therefore promoting longevity of the fabric.

Polyester:

Synthetic, man-made fiber made by mixing ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. The chemical composition of polyester makes it more durable than cotton, boasting stain and water-resistant properties.

Polyurethane:

This durable man-made material is an ingredient of synthetic foam used in seat cushions. Used to create the high-density foam associated with top quality furniture, and is made to wear well over time.

Olefin:

A durable, stain-resistant polypropylene fabric made by mixing ethylene with propylene. Boasts great resistance to color and sun fading, making it a prime upholstery material for outdoor furniture.

Suede:

A subcategory of leather with a more fuzzy finish and made from the underside of animal skin - but thinner and softer than full-grain traditional leather. It’s commonly used in textiles and upholstery due to its rich presentation, wear resistance, heat conduction and softness.

Top Grain Leather:

A high-quality leather sourced from the outer hide known as the grain, which has densely packed fibers resulting in enhanced durability. The outer hide has been sanded or buffed during the leathering process, which gives it a smoother texture with less imperfections.

Velvet:

A type of woven tufted fabric. To achieve its signature texture and look, cut threads are evenly distributed with a short, dense pile. In the past, velvet was typically made from silk - but is now more commonly formulated from synthetic and natural fibers.

Wool:

A natural, primarily hair textile fiber sourced from sheep and other mammals. It is highly desirable for its resilience and high quality, making it a luxurious material that’s popular in contemporary and traditional furniture alike.

FABRIC ACCENT TERMINOLOGY

Baseball Stitch:

A triple stitch seam with two visible stitches bordering a center stitch between the two pieces of fabric, reminiscent of a baseball. This stitch is a design feature that often contrasts with the upholstery of a sofa, loveseat, or chair.

Button Tufting:

A classic tufting technique technique where buttons are sewn into the upholstery surface in geometric patterns. Historically, button-tufting has been used to secure comfort materials beneath the fabric exterior for centuries, and it is also known for instilling a sophisticated look. Button tufting often is considered a traditional style element, though it is also commonly found along certain contemporary pieces.

Channel Tufting:

A type of tufting where the stitching is done in a series of evenly-spaced, parallel rows, resulting in upholstery which showcases stylish vertical or horizontal channels.

Diamond Tufting:

A type of tufting where the stitching is done in a pattern of repeating diamond shapes.

Flange:

A classic fabric accent strip that runs along all four sides of a throw pillow or pillow sham.

Skirt:

A strip of fabric that hangs beneath the bottom and side rails of a sofa, chair, or bed. Skirts are a traditional or transitional accent, and they were historically used to obscure the open space created between the floor and base of the furnishing.

Tufting:

Tufting is an upholstery term used to describe stitched or button accents on the exterior of a piece of furniture. Whether made from stitched accents, buttons, or a combination of both, tufting is almost always implemented in an attractive geometric pattern which is used to add more texture and visual interest to the piece. Common types of tufting are button tufting, diamond tufting, and channel tufting.

Welts, Welted Detailing:

A welt is a round decorative cord covered in fabric that’s sewn along the edges of both upholstered furnishings and cushion edges to make them stand out. Sometimes referred to as a cord, or cord detailing.

Living Room Tables and Entertainment

Chairside End Table:

A small occasional table, usually half the size of a traditional end table, which is designed to be used alongside larger furnishings. Chairside tables provide the perfect surface for lamps, books, and drink coasters.

Coffee Table:

Coffee tables, sometimes known as cocktail tables, are long, wide, and low tables that are customarily placed in front of a sofa, or in the center of an entertainment space. Coffee tables often double as storage and display pieces, and are found across all homes and furniture styles.

Console:

A long table or cabinet that’s primarily utilized in entryways, living, and entertainment spaces. Consoles almost always feature storage cabinets and/or shelving, and, because they often occupy transition spaces, consoles also are thought of as perfect display pieces to help show off your personal style with accessories and decor.

Electric Fireplace:

When describing a piece of furniture, the term “electric fireplace” or fireplace is used to refer to a furnishing similar to a TV stand or storage console that features a working electric fireplace to provide additional heat and ambiance.

End Table:

A small table that is used beside or at the end of a larger piece of furniture. End tables often are used to support reading lamps or to hold drinks, and many feature additional storage features like drawers or cabinets.

Home Theater Wall:

A home theater wall, sometimes called an “entertainment center” or “entertainment wall”, is a term used to describe a set of entertainment furniture meant to hold TVs and other electronic entertainment devices. Home theater walls come in a variety of configurations, all centered around the idea of combining a TV stand with one, two, three, or more large storage and/or display pieces in order to create a cohesive, wall-like effect. The most common type of home theater wall is a 3 Pc. Set consisting of a TV stand and two tall storage piers.

Lift-Top Coffee Table:

Lift-top coffee tables are similar to traditional coffee tables but with table tops you can lift to a range of heights, and some even feature additional storage space beneath the lift-able surface.

Nesting Tables:

Small occasional tables that are designed to store one under another, typically in sets of three. Nesting tables are exceptionally versatile because you can keep them nested when you need to save space, then separate them as needed for entertaining or for additional surface space.

Pier:

An entertainment pier or “pier tower” is a tall storage furnishing that is usually created as a pair designed to flank another piece of furniture such as a TV stand in order to create a unified look. Piers almost always feature display shelves of some kind, and many also feature additional closed cabinet spaces.

Sofa Table:

A long occasional table that typically sits at a similar height to the back of a standard sofa. Not only can sofa tables provide surface, display, and storage space, but they also work to tie a room together, making it look more intentional and cohesive.

TV Stand:

A long furniture item large enough to support a TV or other entertainment technology. Usually features a cabinet space and/or drawers to help store and display additional items.

Dining Room


Dining Room Tables

Counter Height Dining Table:

Counter Height Dining Tables are designed to be the height of a standard kitchen countertop - 36” tall - which makes them common in casual or secondary dining settings.

Pub Table, Bar Table:

A relatively narrow, high-profile table designed to sit two or three people. Named after the setting it’s commonly used in, a pub table can also be referred to as a “bar table”. Typically, pub tables measure at 42” in height.

Pedestal Table:

Rather than leg support, pedestal tables rest on a single central column with a broad base. These tables can have glass tops with wooden or metal bases, or can be made of all one material.

Trestle Table:

A long, usually rectangular dining table supported by two pedestal legs, with feet and a stretcher connecting them. Trestle tables often have a classic look and they’re ideal in long rooms as well as spacious dining areas.

DINING ROOM TABLE TERMINOLOGY

Apron:

In a table, this refers to flat planes of wood beneath the table top that run perpendicular to the dining surface. Sometimes called a “skirt”, an apron is usually used to conceal joinery and other support structures beneath the table top.

Butterfly Leaf:

This term refers to a specific type of leaf extension typically found at the center of a dining table. Butterfly leaves are concealed when the table is closed, and when the table extends the leaves themselves are able to unfold and open in a way reminiscent of butterfly wings.

Drop Leaf:

This term refers to a specific type of leaf extension typically found at the ends of dining tables. Drop leaves are extension leaves that operate on hinges, lifting or dropping as needed to suit the size of the dining party. The term “drop-leaf” can also be used to refer to an entire table, so long as that table features drop leaf extensions.

Leaf:

A single table panel that can be added to a dining table when additional surface space or seating is needed. Extension leaves can be hinged, discreetly concealed within a table, or an additional piece that is stored separate from the table itself.

Self-Storing Leaf:

A type of leaf extension where the leaf or leaves can be stored or concealed within the dining table itself. Self-storing leaves can come in a wide variety of shapes and designs. Drop leaf and butterfly leaves are both a type of self-storing leaf.

Dining Room Chairs

Side Chair:

Side chairs are upright, standard dining chairs without arms, and they are typically made of wood.

Arm Chair:

A type of dining side chair that boasts armrests for comfortable seating in any dining space. It is often referred to as a host chair, being that it typically sits at the head of a dining table.

Bar Stool:

A tall stool that is intended to be used alongside counter height tables, bars, and kitchen islands. The seats of standard counter height bar stools are usually 22” - 26” tall, and this is so that they can fit comfortably beneath standard height countertops, which are 36” tall. Many bar stools are also available in “bar height” sizes, which means their seats are about 27” - 33” tall so that they can fit comfortably beneath 42” bars.

Dining Bench:

A bench that is meant to be used along one side of a standard height dining table, effectively replacing two or more dining chairs with a more sociable option.

Counter Height Dining Bench:

A tall bench that is meant to be used along one side of a counter height table, effectively replacing two or more bar stools to promote a more amiable environment. Counter Height Dining Benches are usually anywhere between 22” - 26” tall, as they are meant to be used alongside standard 36” counter height tables.

Dining Stool:

A dining stool is a type of stool that is meant to be used alongside standard-height dining tables, which are about 30” tall.

Parsons Chair:

An armless dining chair featuring clean lines and a simple silhouette that can suit a wide range of interior design styles. With their armless design and fully-upholstered seat and backrests, these chairs boast effortless elegance down to their stylish wood legs.

DINING CHAIR-BACK STYLES

Cross Back, X-Back:

A backrest style where the primary support is provided by two pieces of wood crossing over each other in an “X” shaped design. These X-shaped supports are usually connected to the top and bottom corners of the chair back for optimal reinforcement.

Ladder Back:

This chair back style features a series of horizontal cross-rails connecting the backing posts which resemble the rungs of a ladder. Ladder backrests are common and found across all styles.

Low Back:

A backrest which is intentionally left short compared to other backrest styles. Low backrests allow for a wide range of movements from the seated position, and they are generally used to instill a contemporary or modern look.

Fiddle Back:

A style of splat back, the fiddle backrest is associated with the Queen Anne style movement. With this design, the central “splat” of the backrest is shaped like a violin, resulting in an aesthetic that can come across as simple and quaint or ornate and formal depending on the chair.

Slat Back:

A slat back refers to a type of backrest that features a rectilinear form and series of vertical slats to support one’s back. The slatted look is timeless and is found in everything from traditional and rustic spaces to casual dining rooms or kitchen nooks.

Solid Back:

A solid back refers to any type of backrest with a support system made from a solid piece of material or collection of materials. Unlike most other dining chair backrest styles, solid back chairs don’t rely on a series of slats or spindles to provide support, instead they use a flat, solid, uncut surface which is traditionally made from wood or upholstery. Upholstered solid back chairs are often called Parsons Chairs.

Splat Back:

A splat back refers to a type of backrest that features a central, vertically-aligned support element. Splat backrests can come in many different shapes and styles so long as there is some sort of central, vertically-aligned structure to provide back support.

Spindle Back:

This style of backrest features turned cylindrical shafts extending vertically along the chair back for both decoration and support. Spindle back chairs are ideal for dining rooms and kitchens due to their functionality and versatility, made available in a variety of colors and styles.

Windsor:

A windsor backrest is a specific type of spindle backrest. Windsor backrests feature turned spindles that are arranged into a timeless round bow shape. True Windsor chairs traditionally also feature turned or spindle armrests as well as turned or spindle flared legs.

Sheaf Back:

Inspired by the shape of a sheaf of wheat, this style of backrest uses spindle-shaped supports which gather in the middle, join at a connecting plank, and flare at either end.

Dining Room Accent Furnishings

Bar, Bar Cabinet:

A cabinet designed to store and display liquor and wine bottles.

Bar Cart:

A small structure on wheels, usually similar to a table with shelves, outfitted for serving drinks or storing drink essentials.

Buffet:

A large decorative dining cabinet used to store fine dining ware. Unlike sideboards, buffets usually boast high legs and never feature a hutch.

China Cabinet:

A dining room display piece made from the combination of a lower storage cabinet and an upper display hutch, both traditionally outfitted with shelving to optimize the storage space. Because china cabinets are meant to display dining accents and decor to friends and family, the top hutch almost always features glass-paned walls to provide optimal viewing of the items within.

Curio:

A curio, also coined a “cabin of curiosities”, is a specialized type of display case which is usually made out of wood with glass paned doors or windows. Curios are vertical case pieces which are similar to china cabinets, though generally smaller in size, and historically they were intended to display collections or “curiosities” that might amaze or shock guests.

Display Cabinet:

A display cabinet is a tall storage furnishing which is meant to display or hold valuable items, and usually features glass-paned doors or windows for viewing purposes. Examples of display cabinets are china cabinets and curios.

Server:

A rectangular dining room furnishing which is used for storage and meant to be positioned against the dining room wall. These pieces were originally used as a type of secondary table to hold or showcase food for large parties, but now they’ve evolved to also hold other dining room items, similar to a buffet or sideboard.

Sideboard:

A versatile piece of dining room accent furniture that offers style and storage space at once. Characterized as a long, usually narrow, flat-topped cabinet or table with storage capabilities such as shelves or drawers to help organize napkins, cups, and plates. Sideboards are similar to servers and buffets, though buffets often feature taller legs.

Wine Cabinet:

A tall cabinet, usually made from wood, which offers an attractive way to store spirits, wine bottles, glasses, glacettes and more. All wine cabinets offer storage for bottles and usually space for other entertaining essentials, and some even boast temperature control units so you can keep your wine stored at a particular temperature.

Bedroom


Types of Beds

Bookcase Bed:

Bookcase bed is a term used to describe any bed which features a bookcase-style headboard. Bookcase headboards come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, the only requisite being that they are outfitted with shelving units for books.

Bunk Bed:

A bed consisting of two or more lofted, joined bed frames that can hold either twin or full size mattresses. Bunk beds are typically stacked on top of each other, and they have either a or a small staircase to provide access to the top bed.

Canopy Bed:

A canopy bed is a type of poster bed with four vertical posts, but with a canopy bed the posts are connected in some way so that a canopy or curtains can hang between them.

Loft Bed, Lofted Bed:

A bed that is elevated from the floor requiring stairs or a ladder. Loft beds can be sold individually or as part of a bunk bed combination. Loft beds are ideal for students and children because they free up plenty of floor space.

Metal Bed:

A metal bed is any bed that features a frame made out of metal. Metal bed frames are typically constructed from steel, iron, or aluminum in painted finishes, and they often consist of a simple base with spindle-like head and footboards.

Panel Bed:

A type of bed design that requires both a mattress and a mattress foundation (sometimes called a “box spring”). Panel beds support the mattress foundation and mattress by using a series of slats or support panels, hence the name. In the furniture and mattress industries, panel beds are often considered the standard bed model.

Platform Bed:

A type of bed design that does not require a mattress foundation (sometimes called a “box spring”) to be placed beneath the mattress. Unlike panel beds, platform beds are designed with one solid surface to support the mattress so that no foundation is required, and this minimalist design fact often delivers a more contemporary or modern feel when compared to other bed types.

Poster Bed:

A poster bed is a ped that features four vertical posts at each corner of the frame. Poster beds often carry a traditional or high-end connotation.

Sleigh Bed:

A bed that features a headboard and footboard which curve out and away from the bed itself, giving the bed a sleigh-like appearance. Sleigh beds are usually made from wood and are traditional in style, and many showcase added ornamentation like hand-carved detailing or scrollwork along the head and footboard to instill a regal presence.

Trundle bed:

A small, low-profile bed that rolls or slides beneath another furnishing, usually 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 kids rooms.

Upholstered Bed:

The term upholstered bed is used to refer to any bed that features a significant amount of fabric upholstery along its headboard and/or frame. Beds with upholstered headboards and frames are great for providing a comfy backrest when reading, and they generally carry a sophisticated or high end-aesthetic. Upholstered beds were popular in the past, though many contemporary designers have been turning to them in recent years when looking for an added touch of elegance.

Waterbed:

A type of bed that features a rubber or plastic mattress that can be filled with water. Waterbeds provide a unique sleeping surface that conforms to any body type and sleep position and they often require a sturdy waterproof frame.

BEDROOM FURNISHINGS

Bachelor’s Chest:

A low-profile chest featuring three to four drawers for storage, often seen and used as a large nightstand or small secondary chest. The term originated in past centuries because this type of chest was seen as ideal for an individual occupying a small, single home.

Dresser:

Previously, people utilized the word “dresser” about many different types of furnishings. In today’s furniture industry, a dresser is a large, horizontally oriented chest of drawers intended for the bedroom for clothing and bedding storage. Dressers come available with any number of drawers, but the most common dressers feature 6-10 drawers to best accommodate one to two people.

Chest:

A vertically-oriented case piece equipped with drawers or other storage elements. Chests have undergone many practical and stylistic changes, but chests are presently outfitted with 5-10 drawers to accommodate one to two people.

Gentleman’s Chest:

Shaped like a standard bedroom chest, a gentleman's chest features both a stack of drawers as well as a tall cabinet space to accommodate hanging and folded clothes alike.

Nightstand:

A small bedroom storage piece designed to fit on one side of a bed. Nightstands can be outfitted with both storage drawers and shelves to allow books, lamps, phones, clocks, and other bedside essentials.

Bedroom Mirror, Landscape Mirror:

A mirror for the bedroom designed to be paired with a dresser, chest, or on its own. Landscape mirrors for the bedroom are highly desirable for their ability to create openness in the bedroom, and also showcase a more full-body view when used by a person.

Media Chest:

Storage furniture that is similar to a dresser, however, it features an open top shelf or a media drawer to house modern day electronics.

BED AND FRAME TERMINOLOGY

Bed Post, Post:

A bedpost refers to one of the four vertical posts found at the corners of some beds (see Poster Bed).

Bookcase Headboard:

A headboard with shelves that are designed to store books. Bookcase headboards are commonly made from wood and can be representative of just about any style.

Headboard:

A piece of a bed frame which is attached to the top, or “head”, of a bed. Headboards are designed to rise above the height of a standard mattress, and they are usually designed to add a visually-pleasing element to the space.

Footboard:

A piece of a bed frame which is attached to the bottom, or “foot”, of a bed. The narrow platform at the end of a bed to brace the feet or add uniformity to a bed frame.

Side Rail:

Side rails are the long, usually rectangular, components of a bed frame that connect the headboard to the footboard and run alongside the mattress.

Storage Footboard:

A footboard which features drawer storage of some kind.

Storage Rail:

A side rail which features drawer storage of some kind.

BEDDING TERMINOLOGY

Comforter Set:

A collection of bedding sheets that typically includes a comforter, a bed skirt and two standard pillow shams.

Duvet:

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

Electric Blanket:

An electric blanket is a blanket that features some kind of electric component that can provide heat to the blanket and user.

Standard Blanket:

As opposed to an electric blanket, a standard blanket is a blanket that has not been outfitted with any heat-producing electronics.

Office


Types of Office Furniture

Bookcase:

A piece of furniture containing horizontal shelves that are intended to house books or display items. Bookcases are commonly shaped like storage cabinets and/or chests and most often made from wood.

Credenza:

In the past, the term “credenza” was used to describe a piece of dining room furniture similar to a buffet or server. Over time the term has changed. Today, the term credenza is used most commonly to refer to a type of office storage furnishing with many drawers, similar to a secretary’s desk or executive desk.

Desk:

A piece of furniture specifically designed for use in an office or work setting. Usually sized and structured to accommodate an individual, desks are equipped with features such as drawers, compartments, and other storage solutions to help keep the workspace organized and efficient.

Desk and Return:

Also known as an “L-shaped desk”, a desk and return is a combination of a writing desk and/or executive desk paired with a “return”, which is a secondary work surface that connects to the main desk surface and extends outward to one side to create a corner shape. In most cases, the desk has designated room for the user’s legs and the return may or may not be outfitted with a variety of drawers and file cabinets.

Executive Desk:

Standard office desks serve basic work and office needs, but the term “executive desk” is usually reserved for desks that provide comprehensive features. These desks are available with a range of additional features that boost functionality including built-in storage options, pull-out writing pads, or even integrated technology like USB ports.

File Cabinet:

A piece of office storage furniture designed with deep drawers for storing and organizing documents.

Hutch:

A cabinet-like storage unit which is intended to be placed on top of another piece of furniture, most commonly a desk, credenza, or cabinet. Most hutches feature open shelves or glass-doored cabinets.

Writing Desk:

A writing desk is a type of desk that is typically smaller than a traditional desk, often consisting of only a writing-friendly surface and a storage drawer.

Sit/Stand Desk:

An adaptable desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing as you work. These desks feature adjustable bases that allow you to adjust the writing surface to various heights, and they’re beneficial for those who want optimized mobility while working.

Accessories & Decor


Area Rug:

An area rug is a large rug that is not intended to cover the entire floor of a room. In today’s homes, area rugs are often used for aesthetic purposes.

Cabinet:

A cabinet is any kind of storage unit with interior cabinet space to house personal belongings. Cabinets almost always have doors to enclose the storage space, and many are outfitted with additional shelves or drawers.

Casegood:

In the furniture industry, the term “casegood” is used to refer to storage furnishings with drawer storage. Casegoods are things like dressers, chests, nightstands, cabinets, and credenzas, and they can be found in almost any room of the home.

Chandelier:

A chandelier is a large, hanging lighting accessory, most often found with a highly-decorative frame. A common example is a “crystal chandelier”.

Floor Lamp:

A floor lamp is a tall, free-standing lamp that can be placed on the floor of a room to provide a large amount of light.

Runner Rug:

A runner is similar to an area rug, but runner rugs are long, rectangular, and usually intended for hallways and entryways.

Standing Mirror:

A freestanding mirror used as a home accent. These mirrors enhance the décor of a space, and help facilitate full-scale dressing in a bedroom or dressing area.

Table Lamp:

A small lamp which is intended to rest atop a desk, table, or nightstand.

Throw:

A term used to describe a blanket that is intended to be used with a sofa or some other living room seat. Throws provide warmth, but they are also used as stylish accessories, which is why they often display beautiful textures and interesting prints.

Throw Pillow:

A loose, decorative pillow typically used with sofas, loveseats and large armchairs to promote interest and style.

Throw Rug:

Small area rugs designed to be a secondary accent piece in a room.

Aesthetic Design Elements


Foot and Leg Styles

Ball Feet:

Feet made from wood which have been carved or “turned” into spherical shapes. Ball feet have a traditional look and are found across a wide variety of furnishings. Sometimes called bun feet.

Block Feet:

Square, block-shaped feet, usually made from wood, found at the base of many case pieces and other wide furnishings. Block feet can be either straight or tapered, and they are common on contemporary and modern pieces because of their innate minimalist qualities.

Bracket Feet:

Corner-shaped feet found on both contemporary and traditional furnishings. With bracket feet, there is an outer edge visible from the front and a side edge visible from the side. These two parts of the foot meet at a 90-degree angle, creating a bracket shape, and they can be either straight or curved depending on the style of the piece.

Bun Feet:

Bun feet are similar to ball feet, the primary difference being that bun feet are flattened at the top and bottom, giving them the appearance of buns from a bakery. This style of feet is found across many styles, from traditional to contemporary; it has the appearance of a flattened carved ball.

Cabriole Legs:

Also known as a Queen Anne leg, this style of leg curves out from its base before incurving down to shape the foot, thus forming a narrow, alluring S-shape.

Casters:

Wheels that are used instead of feet which allow home furnishings additional mobility and versatility. Casters are fixed to the legs or base of a heavy piece of furniture so that it can be moved easily.

Platform Base:

A platform base is a term to describe the solid base of a furnishing which has no obvious legs or feet. Platform bases commonly extend further from the front and sides of the piece for visual appeal and stability, and they are traditionally composed of wood but can be made of other materials such as brass, marble, iron, or cement.

Tapered Legs:

A furniture leg design wherein the leg becomes more narrow as it approaches the floor. Tapered legs can be on sofas, accent chairs, casegoods, and more across all major design styles.

Tulip Bun Feet:

A style of bun feet that end in a tulip-shaped bevel, instilling a sense of timeless charm.

Turned Feet:

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

Sled Legs:

A leg shape commonly found on sled-style bases. These legs curve forward and down on the ground, creating a “C” shape from a side view of the chair inspired by the architecture of a sled.

Stiletto Feet:

Finishes and Exterior Accents

Antiquing:

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

Banding:

Often found around the edges of traditional furnishings, banding is when veneers of a contrasting color are cut into narrow strips and placed along the edge of a table or desk for decorative effect, similar to marquetry or inlay.

Beveled Glass:

Thick glass with an angled surface cut around the entire outside edge. The bevel on a mirror or glass piece adds visual interest, and enhances the formality of mirrored pieces.

Burnishing:

A term that describes a polishing effect which enhances the natural color of wood in addition to adding depth and warmth. When polishing or finishing a piece, burnishing is often accomplished by hand.

Burl:

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

Carved Detailing:

A general term that is used to describe furniture that features wooden design elements which have been shaped and grooved by the furniture maker to add visual interest. Carved detailing is often accomplished by hand, and it is a hallmark of traditional furniture making.

Crown Molding:

A specific type of molding. Crown molding is 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 and can also accent seating pieces with wood accents or structure.

Distressing:

A term used to describe when the “finish” or exterior surface treatment of a piece of furniture has been intentionally scratched, worn, marred, or cut in some way in order to give an antique or timeworn appearance.

Fly Speckling:

A type of distressing or “antiquing” characterized by tiny dark spots created in the staining process.

Fluting:

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

Live Edge:

A term used to describe a wood edge of a table, desk, or chair which has been left in an uncut or “natural” state to instill a rustic look. If the regular edges of a furnishing are straight, clean, and finished, then the “live edge” would be the prominent curved edge which hasn’t been cut with machines or tools.

Molding:

Molding is a general term used to refer to thin shaped strips of wood or other material that cover the transition between two surfaces in an aesthetically pleasing way. In furniture, molding is often found covering the transition of two perpendicular surfaces, like where the vertical sides of a piece meet its flat top. Instead of two surfaces meeting as a hard right angle, molding helps the joining to appear softer and more pleasing to the eye.

Nailhead Trim:

An ornamental trim of either nails or metal tacks that give the illusion of nails, which adds a stylish, industrial-inspired touch to any piece. Nailhead trim is often found on the edge of leather and upholstered sofas, chairs and ottomans.

Finial:

A decorative knob that caps the top of a bedpost or lamp, found on many accent pieces.

Inlay:

A decorative process where pieces of precious materials or colored wood are inserted, cut, or pressed into the surface of a product in order to create a visually stunning exterior. Inlay is commonly found in traditional furnishings.

Matte:

A term used to describe a finish that does not possess reflective qualities. Unlike a glossy finish, matte finishes do not have any sheen to them.

Patina:

A luster or shine on the exterior of a piece that develops with use over time, characteristic of antique furnishings. A patina is often created by burnishing, rubbing, or with modern distressing techniques.

Veneer:

A thin, stable sheet of wood applied to a surface to give the appearance of wood grain, or to create an inlay. Quality veneer always enhances the appearance of a wooden piece.

General Construction Terms


Eight-way, Hand-tied:

This term refers to how the coil or spring support unit of a furnishing is constructed and held in place, and it’s synonymous with high-quality and longevity. With this type of construction, rows of metal coils are placed alongside each other and the coils are secured by eight, hand-tied vertices.

Elastic Webbing:

Interwoven synthetic and nylon-blended strips that provide a foundation for upholstered furniture seats, backs, and arms. Can serve as a replacement for sinuous springs or eight-way, hand-tied coils.

Finger Joint:

Also known as a comb joint, a finger joint is made by cutting complementary, interlocking profiles from two pieces of wood, which are then glued together. The cross-section of the joint resembles the interlocking of fingers between two hands, hence the name "finger joint". These are used in construction to enhance the durability of a furniture piece.

Kiln-Drying:

A controlled technique of drying wood in which the heat and humidity is regulated to reduce moisture. This process ensures the wood is as durable as possible for long-term use.

Miter Joint:

A simple yet reliable form of butt joint where two pieces of wood join diagonally at the corner into a ninety-degree angled edge for added strength. Miter wood joints usually refer to angles cut near the corners of the wood at 45 degrees, although the exact angle of a Miter joint may vary from product to product.

Mortise and Tenon:

A joint created by cutting a slot in one piece of wood and cutting a tongue in another. The “mortise” is the groove or slot, and the “tenon” is the long projectile piece that goes into the slot to create the joint. For a classic example of this type of joint, see Dovetail Drawer Construction.

Non-Skid Foot:

Any foot containing a gripped base which prevents the furniture from moving on a wooden or laminate floor. Intended to protect flooring from the wear caused by moving of legged furnishings.

Powder-Coated:

Varnished metal that has been coated with a powdered polyester or epoxy-based coating and then heated to fuse the coating into a decorative and protective layer. Designed to prevent everyday scratches on metal furnishings.

Steel Band Base:

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

Sinuous Springs:

Steel wire bent into a continuous "S" shape used for the support system in upholstered furniture. These high-strength springs provide resilient support and enhance the durability of upholstered pieces. Sinuous springs are an important structural component of many couches, loveseats, and accent chairs.

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. Also strengthens the corner of seat frames to prevent the dowels from cracking under pressure.

Stretcher:

The underbracings of chairs or tables that connect the legs. Common stretchers include the "H," "X," boxed, serpentine and arched forms.

Lacquer:

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

DRAWER CONSTRUCTION TERMS

Ball Bearing Drawer Slide:

Ball bearing drawer slides are a type of drawer slide that uses ball bearings within the drawer track to facilitate the movement of opening and closing the drawer. Ball bearing slides are very common and they’re known for providing smooth movement.

Dovetail Construction:

A type of joinery using interlocking wedge shapes, often used in drawer construction. Associated with drawer construction quality, its purpose is to stabilize the drawer box and drawer front so that prolonged use won’t cause damage.

Drawer Slides, Drawer Guides:

A drawer slide is a component of a drawer that allows the drawer to open smoothly. Traditionally, a “drawer track” refers to the drawer’s stationary metal guide that is attached to the inside of the product, while a “drawer slide” is the complementary metal unit attached to the drawer which moves within the track - although many use these terms interchangeably or to in place for one another.

Center-Mounted Drawer Slides:

Unlike traditional drawer slides, center-mounted drawer slides aren’t found alongside the drawer, instead they’re mounted directly below the center of the drawer box to provide enhanced stability.

English Dovetail:

English dovetail drawers are drawers that have been joined together using interlocking “tails” and “pins”. The tails are cut grooves along one side of a drawer box which are the same splayed shape as a dove’s tail, and the pins are the wood grooves protruding from the other side of the drawer box that fit within the cut tails. English dovetails are the most common type of drawer construction, and they are also seen as the most long-lasting.

French Dovetail:

French dovetail drawers are similar to English dovetail drawers, but with the French technique there is only one cut “tail” and one protruding “pin” that join the two pieces of wood together, rather than a series. Because of their unique design, French dovetail joints are the only type of dovetail joint that can be used on curved pieces of furniture, though they are sometimes seen as less resilient than their English counterparts.

Full-Extension Drawer:

A full extension drawer is a drawer with slides that allow it to slide completely open. Although they were relatively common in the past, full-extension drawers do allow furnishings to tip over more easily than drawers that do not fully extend, and they are becoming less common as more modern safety laws are enacted.

¾ Extension Drawer:

3/4 extension drawers are drawers with slides that only allow it to open ¾ of the total drawer length. These types of drawers still allow complete access to the contents inside, though they will leave a small portion of the back of your drawer inside the cabinet when open. ¾ extension drawers make the product less susceptible to tipping over, and they are usually more affordable than their full extension counterparts.

Roller Drawer Slides:

Roller drawer slides are similar to ball bearing drawer slides, but roller drawer slides use small wheels instead of ball bearings within the drawer track to facilitate movement.

Types of Wood

Hardwood:

Any wood created from broad-leafed trees, well-known examples including walnut, beech, mahogany, maple and oak. Unlike softwood, hardwood trees produce a more complex wood structure that promotes superior durability.

Softwood:

Wood that is sourced from conifers, such as pine, fir, or spruce. Softwood is typically less dense and lighter in weight than hardwood, and many varieties of softwood are used in commercial construction, paper production, and furniture.

Acacia:

A sustainable hardwood that’s highly desired for its durability, water-resistant properties and deep brown color with an attractive natural grain. It’s ideal for outdoor furniture due to its natural resistance to pests and moisture, therefore preventing rot and decay.

Alder:

A widely distributed tree of the birch family. It offers evenly textured hardwood with a subdued grain pattern and boasts a warm, mid-tone brown color ideal for finishing.

Ash:

Ash is a smooth-grained hardwood with its characteristic straight grain and beige-to-light brown hue, making it lightweight yet aesthetically pleasing. As well as being lightweight, it is shock-resistant and absorbs wood stains well.

Birch:

A robust subset of wood sourced from various birch trees; the two most common found in woodworking and furniture are yellow and white birch. This type of wood is highly desirable as it is a renewable resource and also requires less maintenance than other wood materials.

Cashew:

A hardwood sourced from the same tree as the cashew nut. Cashew wood is an economically valuable choice, known for light yet strong hold and desirable warm honey-brown color.

Cedar:

Wood with a pinky-red hue and a pleasant aroma. Cedar is popular for both outdoor furniture and as a liner in drawers because it not only resists rot, decay, and pests, but also withstands weather changes.

Cherry:

A smooth grained wood most desirable for its exquisite aging process, starting out as a light colored wood and slowly darkens to a deep reddish-brown when exposed to light and oxygen.

Elm:

This wood is classified as a “soft hardwood”, a durably tough option due to its interlock grain but relatively softer than other hardwoods.

Hickory:

A strong, dense and shock-resistant wood - usually light to medium brown color with red undertones - that offers flexibility and a coarse, straight grain.

Mahogany:

A brown tropical hardwood with rich, deep reddish undertones. It features an attractive grain, it upholds its uniform color and texture over time, and it offers exceptional durability as it can withstand termites, moisture, and changes in temperature.

Mango Wood:

A hardwood that’s becoming increasingly popular thanks to its strong durability and eco-sustainability. Mango wood is harvested from mango trees which have completed their fruiting cycle.

Maple:

The light, creamy color and smooth grain pattern of maple wood make it an impressive hardwood; maple wood is strong, attractive, and stain-resistant.

Mindi:

Also known as “White Cedar”, this wood is naturally resistant to decay and fungus with yellowish-brown hues and a texture coarse like oak, but with a tighter grain pattern than oak does.

New Zealand Pine :

A durable hardwood sourced from New Zealand, known for top-quality uniform and smooth grain, rich brown tones, and resilience.

Oak:

Wood sourced from oak trees prized for its strength, uniformity, and appealing natural grain. Highly resistant to wear and tear as well as fungal-resistant, oak easily stains and takes finishes which is why it’s accredited as a popular material in fine furniture and interior design.

Okoume:

With a relatively uniform appearance and tones ranging from light red to red-brown, Okoume is a type of wood from Africa and is often used for making plywood, furniture, moldings, and paneling.

Engineered Wood, Plywood, MDF:

Engineered wood is a term that refers to a class of man-made wood that is created by binding scrap wood, real wood, shredded fibers and even sawdust with adhesive. There are many types of engineered wood, the most common varieties found in furniture being plywood and MDF. Plywood is created by thin layers of wood which are glued and pressed together at 90-degree angles for exceptional strength. MDF is made by combining hardwood and softwood pieces into fibers, which are combined with wax and resin binders, and formed into panels by applying high temperatures and pressures.

Pine:

A very common softwood sourced from pine trees, boasting a light color and distinguishable natural grain. It’s affordability makes it highly desirable in furniture and framing as it resists shrinkage and maintains great elasticity for a lightweight wood.

Poplar:

A lightweight to moderate wood with a uniform grain that’s white or ivory, featuring green and brown streaks radiating from the heartwood. The wood’s color variation and durability makes it ideal for framing and furniture support.

Rubberwood:

A budget friendly, medium density hardwood from the rubber tree. Rubberwood is quite versatile and finishes well, and like mango wood, it is considered an eco-friendly option because it is harvested from plantation trees that have already served their primary function.

Sengon:

A very light wood that’s become rapidly desirable for its sustainability due to its fast growth rate, light but sturdy density, and ability to grow in nutrient-lacking soils.

Spruce:

A popular softwood timber which boasts formidable strength and elasticity with a golden-brown tone, ideal for flooring and paneling.

Teak:

A dense, close-grained type of hardwood known for its signature golden color and commendable durability. Incredibly popular to use in garden or outdoor furniture due to its strength against extreme weather conditions.

Walnut:

Known for its luxuriant brown color, walnut is one of the most highly-desired non-exotic woods due to its strong stability and compatibility with intricate carving.

White Oak:

Known for its ravishing light hue and medium-to-coarse texture, this wood boasts outstanding wear resistance. As well as its low stiffness, it has medium bending capabilities, making it ideal for furniture.

Types of Metal

Aluminum:

Aluminium is a lightweight, relatively malleable metal with a silvery-white color. lightweight metal. Because it’s lightweight, maneuverable, and very strong, aluminum is a prized metal when it comes to outdoor furniture.

Brass:

Brass is a metal alloy primarily composed of copper with some zinc. Brass is robust, durable, and has a rich golden color, making it perfect for luxury and high-end furnishings.

Bronze:

Bronze is an alloy primarily consisting of copper with some tin. Bronze is extremely durable, and can be relatively expensive due to the relative scarcity of tin. Bronze is great for furniture because it’s long-lasting, and because it instills a sense of warmth and sophistication.

Cast Iron:

Cast iron is one of the oldest metals used in the construction of outdoor furniture. Cast iron is exceptionally heavy and durable, so it can withstand denting from outdoor weather, though it does require painting or other surface treatment to avoid rust.

Chrome:

Chrome is a chemical coating process where a thin chromium layer is applied to a raw metal substrate. Chrome metals are great for furniture because they boast an almost mirror-like finish that’s perfect for instilling a sense of glamor.

Iron:

Iron is a durable and heavy metal that’s silver-gray in color. Even though it is quite strong, iron has been shaped into intricate designs for centuries, which is why many iron pieces today convey a stately aesthetic.

Nickel:

Nickel is a silver-toned metal with hints of gold. Historically, nickel has been used as a “plating” atop other metals which provides protection from oxidization.

Pewter:

Pewter is deep silver-colored metal alloy. Historically, pewter was an alloy of tin and lead, but modern pewter has replaced the lead with a combination of antimony, copper, and bismuth to avoid lead poisoning. Pewter is easy to work with and doesn’t rust, though it is more prone to denting than steel and iron.

Stainless Steel:

Stainless steel displays a brighter silver color compared to traditional steel, and it is also extremely resistant to corrosion, stains, and rust. Because of these qualities, stainless steel is a very popular furniture material.

Steel:

Steel is a silver-colored alloy of iron which has been mixed with carbon to improve strength and fracture resistance. Because it offers exceptional strength combined with a lustrous silver color, steel has become a staple material in the modern furniture industry.

Other Construction Materials

Acrylic:

A durable synthetic material that requires minimal maintenance and has a distinctive clear appearance that can take on a variety of colors and dyes. It is an excellent material for furniture since it is both modern and long-lasting.

Ceramic:

Ceramic is neither metallic nor organic, and may appear crystalline, glassy, or both. Its exquisite color variations capture natural patterns and deliver a luxurious touch.

Concrete:

A material made from cement and mineral aggregate mixed with sufficient water to create a cohesive liquid mass. After drying, concrete becomes exceptionally strong and durable, making it an eco-friendly furniture and design choice that can withstand prolonged use.

Crystal:

In the furniture industry, the term “crystal” usually refers to a subtype of glassware that boasts a more sophisticated appearance than everyday glassware thanks to its mineral-based composition.

Driftwood:

Wood that has been recovered from the beach or ocean. Prolonged exposure to seawater erosion gives driftwood its signature lighter and smoother texture, and it often features small pockets within the wood for a visually intriguing effect.

Glass, Clear Glass:

A non-crystalline substance that’s formed through the rapid heating and cooling of particulate minerals. Glass is strong and clear, making it a sophisticated and versatile furniture material, especially when strengthened to avoid fracturing.

Marble:

A timeless, alluring metamorphic rock consisting of carbonate minerals that have recrystallized through heat and pressure, creating an intricately textured substance that’s popular in classical architecture as well as furniture.

Resin:

A general term for a synthetic substance that can be liquified and then hardened into a strong plastic-like material. There are many types of resin used in the furniture industry, but most resins can be made into a variety of shades and usually offer a high-gloss finish.

Slate:

A fine-grained metamorphic rock that splits into slabs ideal for tiling, aggregates, and even as a filler. Slate comes in an array of vibrant colors makes it ideal for flooring, and even boasts stain resistance for added durability.

Tempered Glass:

An enhanced form of glass created through a process of extreme heating and rapid cooling, creating a material times harder than standard glass. Because of the tempering process, tempered glass breaks into small, rounded chunks rather than jagged shards to promote an added level of safety.

Leaded Glass:

A subtype of glass containing a high proportion of lead oxide. Incorporating lead reduces the temperature of the molten material to allow for increased 'work time' with the glass, thus prolonging work time and flexibility. The addition of lead also provides an improved look to the finished product by increasing the refractive index and density of the glass, making it a clearer, less flawed substance.

Rain or Bubble Glass:

Glass with air bubbles added throughout for visual interest. This effect is typically executed by adding solvents or chemicals that react with air bubbles during the melting process of glass making.

Sisal :

A durable natural fiber that’s known for its weave and coarse feel. Made from the fibers of the agave plant, also known as agave sisalana, sisal’s low elasticity and tight fibers make it strong and the perfect option for rugs and outdoor furniture.

Velveteen:

Usually composed of cotton or a synthetic-cotton blend, velveteen is a woven fabric with no stretching abilities. Velveteen is composed of small, woven loops cut with a short nap to create a dense texture.

Wicker:

A lightweight furniture construction material made from woven woody stems such as rattan, willow, or reed. Furniture made from wicker is visually intriguing and typically well-suited for outdoor use.

Veneer Terminology

Veneer:

A thin, stable sheet of wood applied to a surface to give the appearance of wood grain, or to create an inlay. Quality veneer enhances the appearance of a wooden piece, and is a great economical option for using scraps of wood to create a cohesive surface.

VENEER CUTS

Rotary Cut Veneers:

This type of veneer is produced by mounting a whole log on a lathe, then cutting or “peeling” a continuous piece of veneer from the log as it rotates. This can yield full sheets of veneer material with a broad grain pattern.

Flat Sliced Veneers:

With flat slicing, a log is first cut in half before being mounted on a table, then the veneers are made by slicing parallel to the center cut of the log, creating thin veneer sheets with grain that has a “cathedral effect”.

Rift-Cut Veneers:

Rift cut veneers showcase some of the straightest lines of grain of any type of cut. This style of veneer is cut from a quartered log which is mounted on a “stay log lathe” which rotates in such a way that the angle of the blade can be adjusted during the cutting process to produce a very straight rift grain. Most often, this type of cut is reserved for oak and it is generally free from cathedrals and variations in grain.

Half Round Cut Veneers:

Half round cut veneers are made using a similar technique to rotary cut veneers, but this technique only starts with half of a log. Turning half a log on a lathe results in the cut occurring slightly across the growth rings, which allows for the creation of veneers with grain characteristics similar to the grain pattern found in both flat-sliced and rift-cut veneers depending on the species and angles involved.

VENEER MATCHING

Veneer Matching:

A type of veneer finish. After the material is sliced, veneer leaves are strategically chosen and matched to fit the individual project. Even though each veneer leaf will differ, there’s a relationship between those that have been cut one after the other.

Bookmatch:

A type of alternating veneering where every other piece of adjacent veneer is turned over, resulting in pairs of veneers with grains that face each other, similar to pages in a book.

Slip Match:

A pattern in which adjacent veneer leaves are joined side by side to match up, resulting in a uniform grain pattern.

Whole Piece:

When one single piece of veneer is used to promote continuous grain characteristics throughout the sheet.

Pleasing Match:

Veneers that are matched by color or tonal similarity, not necessarily by grain characteristics.

Random Match:

When pieces of veneer intentionally do not match at the joints to impose a more causal, varied effect.