30 Interior Design Words You Need to Know

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Written By Charlotte Miller

Be it a beginner or professional using interior design software, exploring the world of interior design cannot lack the knowledge of design’s language. Interior design terminology does not only help in better communication of ideas but for better grasp too. This blog will introduce you to 30 keywords relating to interior designs which range from design concepts, furnishings, and the commonly used acronyms. In this way, these terms are perfect for homeowners who want to remodel, students starting their interior design journey, or simply any interior passionate. It will make your design a bit more productive and enrich the vocabulary of any housewife, student, or simply a fan of interiors. Let’s begin this lexical tour through the world of interior design.

15 Interior Design Words to Convey Design Ideas

1. Balance

It is among the major underpinnings in interior design that describes the distribution of visual weight in a room. It’s more of trying to create harmony and equilibrium, where no single element destroys another. This contrast can be done symmetrically, where the two sides of the room mirror each other, or it can be achieved asymmetrically to have a more relaxed and dynamic feel.

2. Contrast

Contrast is simply a technique of making differences between two diametrically opposed elements stand out. Some of these opposing elements may be color, shape, or texture. For instance, if there was a rough dark table with a smooth bright vase on it, this would create contrast.

3. Harmony

Harmony in an interior design is achieved only in the case when all components of a room work together as one. It includes colors, styles, and textures that work hand in hand to produce beautiful unity.

4. Rhythm

Rhythm, as in music, can be defined as a visually pleasing tempo or flow from one design element to another. This may be through the repetition, progression, or transition of design elements such as color, shape, sound, or movement.

5. Focal Point

Every room requires a focal point- it might be an object or feature of the room that instantly grabs hold of the eye’s focus. It may be an architectural element, such as a fireplace, a large piece of furniture, or a distinctive piece of art. The focal point grounds the room and sets the scene for everything else occurring within it.

6. Elevation

Elevation is a drawing of the face of a wall or room showing the placement of architectural elements, furniture, and decor. It gives one through its being three-dimensional in appearance an impression close to reality within his design.

7. Interior Wall

In design vernacular, a wall in the interior can be any of the walls inside a building and the wall defines rooms and spaces. These walls may be load-bearing walls or simply partition spaces, and how these are treated with paint, wallpaper, or other finishes makes all the difference in the room’s aesthetic.

8. Kelvin

Kelvin is the unit of measurement for color temperature to describe what type of white light a light bulb emits. A higher number on the scale equates to a cooler, bluer light, while lower numbers mean warmer, yellower light. Lighting can also be used to set a mood and ambiance within a room.

9. Hue

Hue refers to pure spectrum colors that are mostly identifiable with their name color, say red, blue, or yellow. In interior design, knowing the hue comes in handy while deciding on your color schemes for the required emotional and aesthetic effect.

10. Shade

Shade denotes the addition of black within a hue thus increasing darkness with color. The use of different shades may increase depth and bring intensity to a design palette.

11. Monochromatic

A monochromatic color scheme incorporates the use of a single color, tints, variations of shades, and tones. Such combinations bring out a tasteful and balanced appearance that may be emphasized by just small attractive accents.

12. Faux

Faux means the aspects of fake or artificial, where it describes the material or finish used in interior design that replicates the looks of other such materials. For example, faux fur or faux wood finishes give an option that can be more sustainable or cost-friendly.

13. Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie is indebted to Chinese artistic concepts. This exuberant, fun style generally exudes dense patterns, dramatic colors, and over-the-top imagery giving a certain amount of elegance to its surroundings.

14. Victorian

The Victorian style after the Queen is an elaborate ornate decor. The colors used are characterized by dark, rich heavy fabrics and intricate woodwork designs reflect the luxury of the era.

15. Feng Shui

Feng Shui is the ancient art of China to balance and harmonize spaces. It is expressed as an arrangement of spaces via furniture and objects, and attained by optimal natural flow of energy (Chi) to achieve health, happiness, and prosperity for the users.

10 Interior Design Terms Used in Furnishings

1. Alcove

It is a small recessed part of a room, often shallower in depth implying a larger section that lies behind it, and can be found furnished with cozy seating areas, bookcase works or else display shelf placements as well. This architectural provision generally brings a sense of intimacy within a large area.

2. Bauhaus

The German Bauhaus movement originates from fine art blending with crafts and industrial design. The movement concerns geometric shapes thought to emanate functionally and simply, in an unadorned manner.

3. Upholstery

Upholstery is the general term covering the fabric, padding, and springs that supply a soft covering or padding to any chair, seat, or other similar piece of furniture. To some slight extent, whether upholstery adds positively to design and style can be almost entirely on the choice.

4. Settee

Settee A small to medium-sized sofa, usually with a back and arms. It is more formal than a loveseat and often used in living rooms, hallways, or at the foot of a bed for extra seating.

5. Chaise

Chaise is short for chaise longue, which is an upholstered sofa of similar shape, with the chair seat supporting the legs. It’s a fabulous piece for lounging and will add sophistication to any interior.

6. Wainscotting

Wainscoting is a decorative fascia applied in the lower part of an inside wall. Generally made of wood, it adds depth and character and gives a sense that there’s more history in a room.

7. Light Fixture

Light fixture is a device that emits light or creates the effect of illumination, like lamps, chandeliers, sconces, and so forth. The positioning and style applied to light fixtures define the atmosphere of a room or certain space.

8. Barcelona Chair

Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, the Barcelona Chair is identified in a modernist style. It entails simple as well as elegant designs and is an icon of contemporaneous designs for the interiors.

9. Chair Rail

A molding, which forms an interior wall usually containing a chair sitting part of wainscoting. It is normally at the height of the back of a chair and thus protects walls from damage but can also be used for decorative purposes.

10. Cabriole Leg

The bottom part of the leg often ends in a pad and the cabriole is curved furniture, totally characteristic of Queen Anne, Chippendale, and Louis XV furniture styles. Most antique furniture boasts of having cabriole legs.

5 Common Internal Design Acronyms

1. AFF

AFF is an abbreviation standing for “Above Finished Floor.” It simply indicates the height of a particular object or fixture above the finished floor level. It is important to prescribe proper positioning of elements such as electrical outlets and light fixtures during construction and renovation work.

2. COM

COM stands for “Customer’s Own Material.” This means that the customer wants to have a certain piece of furniture upholstered in a textile brought by their own.

3. CFA

CFA is an abbreviation of “Cutting for Approval.” This term is used in the selection of fabric, whereby a small cut from the fabric is sent to the client requesting to use it for approval before making the final order. It ascertains that the color and texture are as expected by the client.

4. KD

KD means “Knock Down.” This is furniture sold unassembled with the customers needing to assemble it at home. This also denotes that it is sold at a low price, because it is unassembled, and makes it easier to carry.


ASID means “American Society of Interior Designers.” It is a professional association that offers support and representation for the business of interior design. By being a part of ASID, one makes a statement of level of education, experience, and commitment to the industry.

Final Words

Understanding these 30 words and acronyms for interior design will enrich your language and increase your ability to communicate effectively in the world of design.

If you are a professional or studying, or even if you are just interested in the field of interior design – these terminologies help create the foundation for understanding and working with this industry. Remember that design is not only about aesthetics but it also has a purpose as a tool of communication to bring ideas across easily. With this glossary, you’re equipped to discuss and use any house design software, such as ZWCAD, with confidence and clarity.