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Your Interior Design Glossary

There's always something going on at furniture online so stay up to date.

16 August 2021

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How many times have you found yourself chatting about interior design, either online or in a store, but you’ve not been 100% sure what’s being discussed? If you’ve ever wanted to know the difference between Arabesque and Chinoiserie, then here’s your chance to learn!

We’ve shared over twenty popular design terms in a mini glossary below for you to peruse from the comfort of your own armchair:

  • Antique – when can you class an object or piece of furniture like an antique? When it’s at least 100 years old. So, in 2021, you’ll need to go back to 1920 and beyond.

  • Arabesque – this is a distinctive pattern commonly seen in Islamic architecture, which includes geometric shapes intertwined with flowers, foliage and even scrolls. 

  • Art Deco – popular in the 1920s and ‘30s, this geometric style was used in an array of both architectural design and furnishings.

  • Art Nouveau – often confused with the above, is actually an ornate style originating in France from an earlier period between 1890 and 1910. Think Tiffany lamps.

  • Bauhaus – this is a distinctive simple, functional, industrial and abstract 20th-century style that originated from a German design movement in 1919.

  • Boho – deriving from the word ‘Bohemian’ this style refers to a non-conformist, personalised, layered look using a mix of patterns, colours and textures.

  • Chaise Longue - pronounced “Shaze Long”, this is also called ‘Chaise’ for short and refers to an extended seat, which offers a leg rest or a comfy lounge chair.

  • Chevron – a wide zigzag pattern often in two colours, you’ll spot this pattern on some of our gaming chairs

  • Chinoiserie – deriving from the word ‘Chinese’ think fancy and decorative in an Asian style or motif. Typically, this design has intricate depictions of nature and people.

  • Chintz – a printed floral pattern, this age-old style comes in and out of fashion.

  • Contemporary – this is slightly different to the term ‘modern’ because it refers to an interior style that is up to the minute and in style today.

  • Eclectic – this term is used when a variety of different design aesthetics have been successfully brought together to create a combined style.

  • Feng Shui – pronounced “fung shway”, is a Chinese practice involving the positioning of furniture and objects within a room to harness positive energy or chi. 

  • Finish – this refers to the surface coating of an item made of wood, metal, stone or fabric. The coating could be paint, varnish, stain or other such treatment.

  • Focal Point – when a designer mentions this, they are trying to draw your eye to a specific point in a room to create a visual impact, such as a lamp or feature fireplace.

  • Hue – this is another word for colour and is often confused with ‘shade’, which is when black is added to a hue or colour.

  • Hygge – a Scandinavian term for a mood that means cosy and comfy, along with feelings of contentment and wellness. In style terms, think of a warm, cocoon effect. 

  • Kilim – at the time of writing, kilims are making a comeback! This is a flat, woven rug made from fabric with a tapestry effect. Think Persian rug and magic carpets…

  • Lumbar Pillow – many of our furniture items come with a lumbar pillow, but what is this? It’s a small rectangular pillow designed to support your spine.

  • Modern – relating to the Modernism movement, this term officially refers to a period between the early and mid-20th century. The term ‘Mid-Century Modern’ refers to the 1940s – ‘60s.

  • Monochromatic – this simply means one colour. For example, people have famously decorated their homes all in white to create a monochromatic effect.

  • Ottoman - an upholstered footstool, which is usually a long design and found at the end of a bed, i.e. a bedroom bench. Ottomans are often used for storage.

  • Vintage - often confused with antique, the difference being that a furniture item or object needs to be at least 50 years old but less than 100 years to qualify.

So, now you know your kilims from your ottomans, and Chinoiserie from Arabesque. And you can use your newfound knowledge to inject a bit of style into your home décor scheme! While you’re planning a new look for your home, why not consider upscaling your furniture? 


See our vast range of sofas and chairs at Furniture Online. If you need expert advice, our friendly customer service team can advise you on all our products. Contact us by using our online web chat tool.

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