6 interior design terms to add to your vocabulary

By on December 15, 2016

No, we aren’t interior design geniuses but yes, we love all thing home décor and design, style, and structure. Like many others who watches HGTV and reads a handful of design-related article pieces, we get confused with designer jargons and what they mean.

Close your eyes and envision your dream living room or bedroom, how would you describe it? Is it tailored and/or chic, collected, contemporary, modern? Will it have hints of chintz or chinoiserie?

Interior Design

Photo by Stephen Di Donato

If you’re soon starting with designing your home and go furniture shopping, chances are you may have consulted with a designer and got showered with terms unfamiliar to you. Well, you ought to know your personal preferences in great detail and accurate description in order to put your thought across precisely.

Check out these six interior decorating terms to add to your vocabulary, and maybe accurately describe the kind of style you want to represent your personality with.


Remember that one time you heard the phrase “play on scale” on HGTV or some other interior design or house remodeling shows?

First off, when we hear scale, it refers to the measurement and fraction of all the various elements in your space; and how they relate in its layout. Scaling means putting up pieces together proportionally. This means considering the sizes of furniture, appliances, decor, and the works.

When designers say “play on scale,” it means they’re taking risks in putting up pieces that are not usually suggested to go together. For instance, placing a huge artwork over your double bed. This goes for accessorizing as well.


Like a tailored suit and tie, streamlined décor illustrates sleekness and neatness. It doesn’t go about displaying unnecessary accessories, decals, or anything of some sort. It’s smooth and like a suit and tie, tailored. This term is used to refer on furniture pieces and of course, the overall design and layout of a space.


This isn’t new to you nor is it too confusing to use, this term is commonly used among designers and layman alike. No, this doesn’t refer to video game consoles. So what does it refer to? According to a designer’s dictionary, consoles are essentially cabinets for TVs and other equipment. Moreover, console tables refer to a cabinet or supporting tabletop for all your other ornaments.


Just think back three, two years ago and observe till today, the word “monochrome” had their limelight and some homeowners still prefer a monochromatic style for their home. But what does “monochrome” really imply?

The term has been misused and eventually lost its real meaning overtime: people relate monochrome only to “black and white.” When in fact, monochrome means having only “one color” —nothing specific of the color; any shade. Next time you see a blush pink themed room, don’t hesitate to refer to it as monochrome, like how you wouldn’t seeing a grayscale “black and white” room.


Yes, colors can look muted. Muted colors are softened hues, somewhat dimmed in a way to make it look less vibrant and bright. So when a designer friend walks into your home and exclaims how muted your walls look or how she loves the contrast between the walls and your muted ottoman or sofa, don’t get offended.


Picture this: A friend or designer steps into your home, look around and says, “Wow, your home feels . . . collected.” How do you react to this?

No need to get offended with that kind of remark. It’s in the designer dictionary. “Collected” simply means a style in which a space is composed of different styles, materials, and pieces that came from different time periods.

Since the style is of varying styles, this denotes that the pieces in the space from the furniture to the accent piece, are brought in individually overtime, rather that all at once. For instance, placing an antique cabinet, a midcentury dining table, an industrial lighting fixture, modern coffee table, bohemian textiles, and the likes; these are what makes a collected space.

About Chie Suarez

Chie Suarez is a passionate writer for PAAL Kit Homes, a company that manufactures and supplies steel-framed kit homes that help Australian families build their dream home. Chie has a deep interest in home design and decoration.

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