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Top Interior Design Industry Terms/ Jargons

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

Hello beautiful designers,

in my latest video, I talked about how it's incredibly important to learn industry terms and jargon, especially if you are self-learning interior design. So, I took it upon myself to gather some industry terms with a definition and an example. I hope this list is helpful for you, if you want to contribute to this list, comment down below! :)

- Abstract: relating to or denoting art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but rather seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, colors, and textures. Example: "I think we need to use an abstract artwork above the sofa to tie the colors of the room together)

- Accent: to emphasize a feature in the room, using light, color, or a distinctive feature Example: "This room could use an accent wall preferably in a darker shade to highlight the bed".

- Aesthetics: noun: a set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.

adjective: concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.

Example: "The client enjoys the aesthetics of art deco".

- Airy: (of a room or building) spacious, well lit, and well ventilated. / a casual breezy feel

Example: "I think what you're looking for in coastal style is an airy feel to space".

- Asymmetrical: having parts that fail to correspond to one another in shape, size, or arrangement; lacking symmetry.

Example: "It takes some serious skill to achieve a balanced asymmetrical look, but once you do, it's the most fun composition to look at!".

- Balance: an even distribution of visual weight enabling someone to relax their eye at the space.

Example: "The balance in this room is achieved by the perfect symmetrical layout".

- Bespoke: made for a particular customer or user (custom-made).

Example: "This bespoke armchair is what you need to complete the look".

- Bright: bold and vivid colors.

Example: “I suggest a bright color scheme for the nursery room!”.

- Centered: placed in the middle of/ the focus of

Example: “Centering the artwork works best in this scenario”.

- Composition: the act of putting things together; in a structured manner.

Example: “This wall gallery needs a contemporary composition to work with the rest of the room”.

- Concept: the abstract idea that starts the main theme of any project.

Example: “He used boxes as the main concept of the restaurant, what a clever idea!”.

- Contemporary: following modern and current ideas in style or design.

Example: “The rug she asked to be added to space didn’t fit the contemporary feel in the space, so I showed her another option”.

- Context: the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.

Example: “Don’t’ look at this dining table on its own, visualize it in context with the rest of the interior”.

- Continuity: maintaining an uninterrupted succession, unbroken visual characteristic.

Example: “The moldings on all of the walls ensure that you have a strong continuity in the interior”.

- Contrast: to set in opposition in order to show or emphasize the difference

Example: “I am picturing a strong contrast between the dark wallpaper against the white sofa”.

- Curated: design that incorporates a distinctive style with a point of view.

Example: “I think what you are looking for is a curated boho-chic style for the bedroom”.

- Decorative: serving to decorate, be am embellishment.

Example: “The vase is a decorative piece, it will add a touch of glam to the bookcase”.

- Dramatic: exciting, surprising, or impressive, theatrical visual effect.

Example: “They wanted the ceiling and walls to be completely black, and I am on board for a dramatic interior!”.

- Earthy: resembling or suggestive of earth or soil.

Example: “She wanted a neutral palette, I suggested an earthy palette and she loved it!”.

- Eclectic: deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

Example: “The furniture mix that we chose was eclectic and interesting”.

- Elegance: the quality of being pleasingly ingenious and simple; neatness.

Example: “The way this bookshelf is styled is oozing elegance!”.

- Emphasis: special importance, value, or prominence given to something.

Example: “Let’s keep the emphasis on the dining table and choose simpler dining chairs”.

- Ergonomics: the study of people's efficiency in their working environment.

Example: “The office chair we choose is very ergonomic, it won’t cause the employees any back issues”.

- Function: an activity that is natural to or the purpose of a person or thing.

Example: “The most important thing we need to figure out is how to make this room functional for their hobbies”.

- Geometric: characterized by or decorated with regular lines and shapes.

Example: “This wall really needs a geometric wallpaper to make it more dynamic”.

- Grid: a framework of spaced bars that are parallel to or cross each other; a grating.

Example: “I think we need the wall gallery to line with the invisible grid on the wall”.

- Ground: to place on a foundation; fix firmly

Example: “we need to get the tray to ground the decorations on the coffee table”.

- Group: put into categories; classify.

Example: “I think we need to group the items in the buffet display according to material”.

- Harmony: the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.

Example: “The colors play off each other in a perfect harmony”.

- Hue: a color or shade.

Example: “Red is my favorite accent hue”.

- Layered arrange in a layer or layers to make it rich.

Example “she artistically layered the cushions on the bed, I always dig that layered look”.

- Linear: arranged in or extending along a straight or nearly straight line.

Example: “The matt black linear drain in the shower is quite impressive”.

- Minimal: characterized by the use of simple forms or structures, especially geometric or massive ones.

Example: “The brief clearly stated a minimal style in the space”.

- Modern: relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.

Example: “A lot of people think modern and contemporary are the same thing”.

- Moody: giving an impression of melancholy or mystery.

Example: “The theatrical concept needed a moody color palette”.

- Negative Space: is the space around and between the subject.

Example: “I think the negative space around the painting is giving it more emphasis”.

- Organic: relating to, inspired by or derived from living matter.

Example: “The organic shapes on the walls is giving me a futuristic vibe”.

- Ornamental: serving or intended as an ornament; decorative.

Example: “Ornamental moldings give me a serious Parisian nostalgia”.

- Pattern: a repeated decorative design.

Example: “For a feminine farmhouse look, I suggest we mix patterns in the furnishings”.

- Pastel: a soft and delicate shade of a color.

Example: “Rather than vibrant hues, she chose a pastel color scheme”.

- Perspective: a view or prospect.

Example: “Rather than looking at the plan, let’s take a look at another perspective, it will help us see and feel space better”.

- Polished refined, sophisticated, or elegant.

Example: “Her style is very polished, clean and beautiful”.

- Quirky: having or characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits or aspects.

Example: “Adding a quirky element to the design adds a playful aesthetic”.

- Rhythm: a harmonious sequence or correlation of colors or elements.

Example: “The rhythm was clear to anyone walking into the room, it was calm and inviting”.

- Scale: a ratio of size in a map, model, drawing, or plan.

Example: “You don’t want to choose a smaller-scaled furniture piece, your home is very spacious”.

- Structure: the quality of being organized.

Example: “The pantry area is rather structured and organized”.

- Style: a way of painting, writing, composing, building, etc., characteristic of a particular period, place, person, or movement. Example: “He follows a rather neoclassical style approach”.

- Symmetry: the quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis.

Example: “We decided to follow the symmetrical layout in the living room”.

- Textured: having a rough or uneven surface or consistency.

Example: “This textured wallpaper is all you need”.

- Timeless: not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion.

Example: “Let’s avoid fads and choose truly timeless pieces so it lasts for generations to come”.

- Traditional: existing in or as part of a tradition; long-established.

Example: “It was a traditional-style couch, it truly told stories”.

- Trend: a popular fashion that is current, but lasts a short period of time.

Example: “The animal prints are what’s trendy right now”.

- Whimsical: playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way.

Example: “The little girl wanted an Alice in Wonderland bedroom design, so I suggested a whimsical approach to the design”.

- Zen: peaceful and calm.

Example: “The bedrooms need to be zen and minimal”.

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