Furniture Design & Décor Glossary

A man-made fiber with a soft, woolly feeling; fair resistance to sunlight. It has good cleanability characteristics and takes vivid color well. Acrylic is normally used to create velvet, plush looks.
Decorative panel that connects the surface or legs of a table or chairs.
Chair with side structures to support arms or elbows.
Large movable cupboard with doors and shelves that is typically used to store clothing or used as an entertainment center.
Attached Pillow Back
Back cushions made to resemble loose pillows but which may not be removed.
Back Rail
The wood frame section which supports the back springs and/or cushioning material.
A coating material used on the reverse side of the upholstery fabric or cover to give it more strength.
Baker's Rack
Tiered open, slatted back shelving unit used for storing utensils or other kitchen amenities.
Ball Foot
Bottom of turned leg, shaped round and has a hooded effect.
Barrel Chair
Chair type that is named after chairs that were originally made from half a wine barrel.
Base Rail
The part of the wood frame lowest to the floor.
Baseball Stitching
A double row of sewing which runs along both sides of a seam. It is used for a decorative effect but also strengthens the seam.
A simple plain flat fabric which gives the appearance of a woven basket.
Blue Steel Springs
Flexsteel’s life-time-guaranteed seat spring, which serves as the foundation for almost all of their sofas.
Foundation for a mattress.
The base of a China Cabinet that supports the hutch and is often used as a place for storing dishes.
Bun Feet
Carved decorative foot that is shaped like a ball and often times flat on the bottom side.
Knot in wood grain surface. Sometimes creates a decorative pattern or swirl.
Wood that has been singed or burned in certain areas and then stained over the burned part.
The use of buttons to decorate or accentuate tufting.
Cabriole Legs
An "S" curved leg on a chair or table with an outcurved knee and an incurved ankle.
Rolling wheel that helps facilitate the mobility of furniture.
A chaise lounge is an extra long chair that is long enough to support the legs. A chaise sofa is a sofa that includes at least one chaise seat, often seen in L-shaped sofas.
Fuzzy plush yarn used to create upholstery fabric.
A combination of a dresser and a chest.
Club Chair
An upholstered chair with a low back.
Coffee Table
Long table most often used in front of a sofa.
Coil Springs
When resilient spring wire is coiled into a cone shape. Such springs are used in multiple rows for good seating comfort.
Table that is intended to be placed against a wall.
Term used for daybed in the 17th & 18th century.
Counter Height
Refers to the height of a stool that is lower than a bar stool and usually between 24" - 27" range.
A buffet, sideboard, or bookcase, especially one without legs.
Silk with an elaborate floral design that is reversible.
A dual purpose piece of furniture that can serve as a seating piece or can be used as a bed.
Dentil Molding
Ornamental cornice molding consisting of rectangular blocks spaced at regular intervals resembling teeth.
Wood finish that gives furniture the appearance that it has aged and looks like an antique. Also applies to leather, see antiqued.
Divided Back
The back of a sofa is given the look of detachable pillows or cushions.
Soft feathers (duck or geese) used to fill upholstery or pillows.
Interlocking joint on a piece of furniture.
Drop Leaf Table
Extension leaves that are built with hinges which can be lowered when not in use.
Edge Wire
A special heavy gauge wire, which acts as a support framing for coils.
Eight-way hand tied
A series of twine strings tied, by hand, 8 ways to support the seat. Modern production provides for the use of machine applied metal clips and wire stabilizers to keep coil springs permanently in position, instead of hand tying.
Creating a 3-dimensional design or pattern on paper or on a surface of wood.
Engineered Wood
A man-made substitute for hardwoods. Also known as medium density fiberboard (MDF).
A decorative piece of storage furniture with open shelves.
Any enhancing effect applied to leather after it has been tanned. Examples are dyeing, embossing, buffing, antiquing, waxing, waterproofing, and so on.
The outward curving or slant on a furniture leg or arm.
Fleur De Lis
A design that consists of three leaves or pedals and the middle pedal stands taller then the other two.
Grooves in a post or leg of furniture that typically is carved to the foot.
The lower bracket on a bar stool that acts as a resting spot for feet and is often times covered with metal or brass for extra reinforcement.
Basic structure or skeleton of an upholstered sofa or chair. Kiln-dried hard wood is best for durability in wooden frames.
Full Grain Leather
Leather which has not been altered beyond hair removal. Full grain leather is the most genuine type of leather, as it retains all of the original texture and markings of the original hide.
A piece of furniture that has dual purpose; can be a couch or transform into a bed.
Game Table
One side of the table is used for dining while the other side is used as a surface for playing games.
Buttons of plastic or metal applied to bottom of legs to make furniture easier to move around.
The natural pattern or design of the wood. All woods have unique grains that can be artistic. Also, a word used to describe the natural characteristics of an unprocessed hide, such as its pores, wrinkles, markings, and texture.
Hand Distressing
A technique that is hand applied to make furniture appear as though it is worn or aged.
Wood that comes from deciduous trees. Furniture created with hardwoods are higher in density and therefore are usually more durable.
The upper enclosed part of a multiple tiered structure. Typically this area has glass doors and is used for displaying china.
When two different types of wood are laid to form a two-dimensional effect.
A pattern fabric that has been woven on a Jacquard loom.
Klik Klak
Similar to a futon, a klik klak converts from a sofa to a bed - perfect for small spaces.
A protective, clear top coat of finish applied to furniture.
Back of chair that has horizontal cross bars that connect the two vertical posts thus forming a ladder effect.
Process of taking two or more sheets of wood and gluing them together with the grains going in the opposite direction. This produces a material that is lighter and thinner than solid wood.
A design using materials in a crisscross, diagonal or square pattern that form visual intrigue.
Left-Arm Facing
If you are standing in front of a sectional and the chaise is on the left hand side, with the rest of the sofa going to the right, then it is left-arm facing.
Loose Pillow Back
When cushions can be easily removed and are not sewn into the piece of furniture.
Smaller version of a sofa typically with two cushions.
Medium Density Fiberboard. A type of hardboard that is comprised of wood fibers that have been glued under heat and pressure.
Marble is a very durable stone derived from Limestone and is often times used as an accent on bars and tables.
Microfiber refers to the tiniest man-made fiber (less than one denier) that today's technology can produce. It has great appeal aesthetically and is lightweight and requires minimal care.
Modular Seating
Upholstered seating units that can be rearranged to form different types of seating configurations.
Nail Head Trim
Decorative head nails or a simulated nail head strip used to accentuate a style, usually used on arms and rails.
Describes the soft, "fuzzy" effect achieved in leather by buffing or brushing.
Natural Grain
A leather that displays its original grain.
Nesting Tables
A set of occasional tables that can slide one under the other to "nest" into one spot.
Generic name for an important man-made synthetic fiber. Among the most durable synthetic fibers used for furniture fabrics.
Occasional Tables
Tables that are considered accent pieces like coffee table or sofa table.
Man-made synthetic fiber, good properties of strength, and resistance to abrasion, excellent cleanability.
Footstool or the footrest attached to a reclining chair.
Parsons Chair
Usually refers to a chair or stool that is skirted.
Particle Board
Wood type that is comprised of chips of wood coated with glue and pressed together under heat.
The aura or luster that develops in a quality piece of leather with age.
Pedestal Table
A type of table that is supported by a single, central pedestal with legs that extend to support its weight.
Pillow Top
Refers to a mattress, chair or bar stool that has an extra layer of cushion for added comfort.
A man-made fiber. Most like cotton in its appearance and physical properties.
Man-made synthetic foam used for filling and for cushions. Rigid polyurethane can also reproduce wood trim or make entire frame. Often used in furniture cushions.
Pub Table
Table top that typically measures higher than 36" and is taller than a dining table.
Quarter Sawn
Wood which is cut from a log and has been quartered lengthwise and at an angle of at least 45 degrees between the board face and the annular growth rings, to lessen warping and shrinking. This method is particularly common in Mission style furniture.
Horizontal slats in the back of chairs or bar stools.
A type of furniture that is constructed with natural climbing palms that come from tropical Asia.
A man-made cellulose fiber. Dyes well with high luster. Works well in dense pile or closely woven fabrics. Usually used in a blend with other fibers.
Right Arm-Facing
If you are standing in front of a sectional and the chaise is on the right hand side, with the rest of the sofa going to the left, then it is right-arm facing.
Rolled Arms
Arms that flair out and then curve down to meet the sides of a chair or sofa.
Ready to Assemble.
Saddle Seat
A style of seat that is carved and contoured.
A tightly woven, high luster flat-weave fabric.
This refers to a decorative edge on a dining or pub table.
A sofa with several segments that may be "u" shaped.
A large bench or seat with back and arms that seats two or more people.
Side Chair
A chair without arms.
A strip of fabric which carries the sofa or chair design down to the floor and hides legs or casters. A skirt is sometimes also called a flounce. It can be gathered or pleated.
Slat Back Chair
A type of chair back that resembles a ladder with two or more horizontal slats.
Sleeper Sofa
A sofa which can be converted into a bed.
Sleigh Bed
A style of bed that resembles the old sleigh front with large scroll-like footboard and headboard.
Spindle Back Chair
Refers to a style of chair that has spindles placed vertically in the back to form both an artist design and provide support for the chair.
Splat Back
A single slat of wood, often ornamental, in the middle of the back of a straight chair.
Metal springs used to give interior support and resiliency to seat and back construction. Rarely used inside seat cushions today. Springs consists of two general types: Coil or cone and convoluted flat springs.
Split leather that has been buffed and brushed to create a fuzzy surface feel.
A sample of upholstery fabric, often shown with other pieces, in what is called a Swatch Book.
Swivel Chair
A chair that is able to turn back and forth on its base in a 360° motion.
Tapered Leg
A type of leg that decreases in diameter towards the bottom.
Tempered Glass
Very durable glass that shatters into small squares when broken.
Top Grain
Leather whose top (outermost) layers have been left intact, in contrast to split leather.
A decorative design applied to the outside of furniture. It could appear on arms, back or base. It can be made of wood, metal or plastic.
The process of drawing a cord through a deep cushion giving high puffs of padding and small low valleys where the cord is drawn. Names are given to tufting describing the shape of the tuft such as "diamond," "biscuit," or "square." Buttons are often attached to cords to highlight the tufting design.
A style in which the arms are the same height as the back.
An effect created by applying layers of similar or contrasting dyes to a piece of leather in order to create a mottled or aged appearance. Antiqued and Sauvaged leathers are examples of two-tone leathers.
Furniture that is covered with fabric, leather, vinyl or other such material.
A thin layer of wood applied to the surface of underlying wood solids or particleboard. It adds warmth, balance and visual appeal while also increasing strength and allowing for repair and renovation.
Cupboard or large cabinet used for hanging clothes.
The manner in which cloth is woven both in terms of tightness and in terms of texture.
Straps that are woven together and attached to a seat base and form the foundation & support for bottom of a chair.
Welt Chording
A fabric covered cord that is used as a decorative trim piece.
Durable matting (willow, reed or rattan) that is woven to construct furniture.
Wing Back Chair
Wing-like projections from the side of the back, often found in Early American furniture, where wings were used during early pioneer days as protection against drafts.
Wrought Iron
Solid metal that is formed into multiple and unique designs.
Wing Chair
An upholstered chair that has wings at the sides.
Used to connect four legs of a chair or table and provide additional reinforcement to the piece of furniture.
Trade name for convoluted or S-shaped springs. These are commonly used in upholstery furniture instead of coil springs.