Hygge. Feng Shui. Ambient. Patina. Wabi Sabi.
What language is that, you ask? It’s interior design language, and interior designers speak it fluently.
The trouble is that you as a homeowner do not. But have no fear. When you’re trying to explain what you like and what you don’t like to an interior designer, pointing is an acceptable form of communication.
So is saying something like, “You know, that squiggly line thing that goes like this,” as you’re making the motion of ocean waves with your hands. We’ll likely be one step ahead of you and identify what you’re looking for in an instant.
But knowing the words can’t hurt either, so here are a few simple interior design term definitions that might help.
Alcove: A recess in a wall or garden.
Ambient: A word used to describe a space that takes advantage of natural environmental conditions.
Antiques: Decorative items that are at least 100 years old.
Art Deco: A geometric style of home furnishings and architecture that was popular in the 1920s and 1930s.
Backsplash: A decorative panel that protects a wall, most often found in the kitchen on top of the oven.
Bohemian: A strategic interior design style that features mismatched furniture and assorted patterns.
Butler’s Pantry: A room located between a kitchen and a dining room, often used for storage of high-end drinking glasses and serving dishes.
Contemporary: Today’s style.
Eclectic: A home decor style that features a strategically themed mixture of textures, time periods, styles, trends, and colors.
Feng shui: Based on an ancient Chinese philosophy that seeks to find balance and harmony between elements, this concept places emphasis on physical and mental health through positive energy flow. In design terms, it refers to positioning different elements or incorporating different elements into a home design in order to optimize positive energy.
Hygge: The concept of coziness, warmth, bliss, and mindfulness, which an interior designer can incorporate into home designs to allow residents to create joy in everyday moments.
Lattice: Crisscrossed material in a diagonal or square pattern.
Mid-Century Modern: An interior design style that reminds one of the early to mid-20th century.
Monochrome: Design that focuses on one color.
Moody: A style that features dark colors and mixed textures.
Niche: A recess in a wall often used for decor.
Parquet: Decorative wood flooring that is laid at geometric angles, often featuring squares, triangles, and/or curves, with one of the most popular styles known as herringbone.
Patina: A weathered or tarnished finish on an item, sometimes forming naturally such as in the case of rust and at other times created intentionally as a design element.
Sconce: A light fixture on a wall.
Shiplap: Wooden boards or panels with horizontal or vertical lines, often used alongside decorative molding and especially common in farmhouse-style kitchen designs.
Spice Kitchen: A separate, contained kitchen used for cooking.
Tinted paint: Variations of a single color mixed with white.
Wabi Sabi: Based on the Japanese philosophy of a perfectly imperfect life along with humility, simplicity, and acceptance, this design concept finds beauty in imperfection.