Interior Design Glossary

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Palladian Window

Palladian Window – A three-part window in which the center window is arched and larger than two smaller, often-rectangular windows flanking it on either side.


Palladium – A photographic process in which the image is produced by palladium crystals deposited on the paper.


Paneling – Wood used to cover the entire expanse of a wall, from top to bottom.


Parquetry – Geometrically patterned wood inlay.


Pastel – A crayon of ground pigment bound with gum or oil. Pastel crayons have varying ratios of pigment to chalk and gum; the more pigment, the more intense the color.

Pate De Verre

Pate De Verre – A “paste” of finely crushed glass that is mixed, heated, and poured into a mold.


Patera – A round or oval raised surface design.


Patina – A surface coloring, usually brown or green, produced by the oxidation of bronze, copper, or other metal. Patinas occur naturally and are also produced artificially for decorative effect.


Pattern – Is the repetition of a decorative motif on a surface.


Pediment – Awn ornamental detail placed over a door, portico, or window, often found in a triangular shape.

Performance Bond

Performance Bond – Required of the winning bidder as a guarantee that the designer/vendor will complete the work as specified and will protect the client from any loss up to the amount of the bond as a result of the failure of the designer/vendor to perform the contract.


Petrology – The study of rocks, their origin and what they are made from.


Photoetching – A printmaking technique in which a light-sensitive metal plate is exposed to photographic film under ultraviolet light.


Photogravure – A printing process based on the production, by photographic methods, of a plate containing small ink-receptive pits.


Pilaster – A shallow rectangular column built into a wall for decorative purposes.

Pin Knot

Pin Knot – A knot smaller that one-half inch in diameter.

Pitch Pocket

Pitch Pocket – An opening between growth rings that may contain resin or bark or both.

Plain sawn

Plain sawn – The most common way in which a log is cut, tangentially to the growth rings. Results in the common flam-grain appearance.

Pleasing Match

Pleasing Match – A veneer method where attention is given to matching color and grain for a pleasing final effect.


Plenum – The space between a suspended ceiling and the floor above.


Plinth – A square or rectangular base for a pilaster or column.


Plutonic – Igneous rocks which have formed from magma at a great depth in the earth’s crust.


Point – Is perceived when a two-dimensionally perceived object appears relatively small in relation to the plane against which it is seen.

Polaroid Transfer

Polaroid Transfer – A trademarked named for the process by which an image recorded by the camera’s lens is reproduced directly onto a photosensitive surface, which functions as both film and photograph.


Polychromatic – Having various or changing colors.


Polyurethane – A paint and varnish resin that forms a protective coating on wood. Sold under the names Varathane, Urethane, and Durathane.


Porcelain – A clay body that is white, strong, and hard when fired. When sufficiently thin, it is also translucent.


Portico – A covered entry structure normally supported by columns.


Power – The quality of acoustic energy as measured in watts. It is this power that people perceive as loudness.

Premium Grade

Premium Grade – Gives the highest level of quality in materials, workmanship, and installation.


Print – An image made from an inked surface. Prints are usually, but not always, produced by multiples.


Proportion – Is the relationship between one part of an object or composition and another part and to the whole, or between one element and another.

Proprietary Specification

Proprietary Specification – Names the products and materials by manufacturer’s name, model number, or part number.


Purlin – A horizontal timber laid parallel to the wall plate and ridge beam, providing extra support for common rafters.

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