Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Glossary of Furniture Terms

Do you sometimes get confused about furniture names and terms? Couch, sofa, loveseat, divan, or Davenport (as my grandmother used to say) are all the same type of seating. Or, are they?

If you’re confused about what to call different pieces of furniture and other interior design terminology, you’re not alone. While no one will be confused – too much – if you say sofa when you mean couch, there are some other terms that will help you communicate with your interior designer or salesperson when looking for just the right piece for your home.

Accessory: art, lighting, area rugs, plants, and wall hangings added to a space to enhance the design style.

Antique: furniture, art, furnishings, lighting, sculpture, accessories, and other décor items that are at least 100 years old.

Tommy Bahama Ocean Club Armoire with geometric patterned bi-fold doors offers storage solutions and features a removable back panel to help keep electrical cords organized.

Armoire: a tall, freestanding piece that usually has space for hanging and folded items. Originally used for storing armor, armoires are often used to discreetly house televisions, media, or computers.

Attached-back sofa: a sofa or couch with pillows that cannot be removed.

Bachelors chest: a low, small wooden chest with drawers, often used as a larger night stand.

Bergère: an armless chair with an upholstered seat, back, and sides with an exposed wood frame.

Beveled edge: slanted edge detail on marble, glass, wood, and other materials.

Bolster: a decorative cylindrical pillow, often but not always with decorative trim and other embellishments.

The Cottage Five Drawer Chest by Paula Deen features bun feet, antique handles, and a cedar-lined bottom drawer.

Bun foot: leg on chairs, couches, or occasional tables in the shape of a bun.

Cabriole leg: carved furniture leg that curves outward at the “knee” and tapers inward at the “ankle.”

Case goods: a term used in the furniture industry to refer to cabinets, chests, and most non-upholstered furniture.

Cane: reed-like plant material, such as rattan, split into strips and woven to create chair backs, seats, and side panels. Also used as decorative insets, often found in tropical-themed furniture.

Camelback: chair or sofa with a curve in the back, like a camel’s hump.

Chaise lounge: French for long chair and pronounced “shez long,” this piece of furniture is designed for personal reclining and is not normally a motion piece.

Chippendale: an American style of furniture originating from the 16th century and designed by Thomas Chippendale. Furniture in the Chippendale style features curved legs and a ball-and-claw foot.

Console: a rectangular table set against the wall in a dining room, entryway, or behind a sofa.

Credenza: a buffet or sideboard.

Curio: stems from a cabinet displaying what was referred to as curiosities in peoples collections.

Etagere: a tall, open-shelved stand used to display decorative objects.

Hutch: the top piece placed over what is normally storage cabinet below.

Occasional furniture: a general term for small furniture pieces such as coffee tables, tea carts, lamp tables, or small chairs used as accent pieces.

The Summer Hill Round Pedestal table by Universal features a 20” leaf that allows it to extend to 70” for a larger size dinner party.

Pedestal table: a table with a central base as its support instead of four legs.

Sectional sofa or couch: seating that comes in separate pieces that can be customized to the space and configured any way you wish.

Slipcovers: fabric covers for upholstered chairs and couches that can be removed when needed.

Veneer: thin layers of wood about 3 mm bonded to core panels to produce flat panels and used indoors, table tops, panels for cabinets, other parts of furniture, and parquet floors. Veneers are also used in marquetry.

These terms should help you find what you want on your next foray into furniture buying. In the long run, it doesn't matter what you call it, as long as you choose the items that bring you joy.

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