Interior Design Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T V W Z _ All
TermDefinition
Line

Line – An object or form whose actual or visual length greatly exceeds any actual width or depth it many have.

Linocut

Linocut – A relief print process similar to woodcut. Wood blocks covered with a layer of linoleum are carved with woodcut tools, coated with ink, and printed by hand or in a press.

Lintel

Lintel – A horizontal supporting beam that spans the distance between an opening, often above a window or doorway.

List Price

List Price – Generally accepted to be the same as suggested retail price – a price to the consumer.

Lithography

Lithography – A planographic printmaking process based on the repellence of oil and water and characterized by soft lines and blurry shapes.

Loose knot

Loose knot – A knot in timber that is not sound and may end up becoming dislodged over time.

Low-fire Glazes

Low-fire Glazes – Low-temperature ceramic glazes, usually associated with bright, shiny colors.

Lumber

Lumber – Timber of logs dressed for use.

Lumen

Lumen – Is the unit of luminous flux equal to the flux in a unit solid angle of one steradian from a uniform point source of one candlepower.

Luminaire

Luminaire – A complete lighting fixture with all components needed to be connected to the electric power supply.

Luster

Luster – A brilliant iridescent film used on a ceramic glazes; formed from metallic salts.

Magma

Magma – Liquid or molten rock material, it is called lava when it reaches the earth’s surface.

Majolica

Majolica – An opaque glaze, usually white, with a glossy surface. Typically decorated with bright overglaze stains.

Market

Market – In reference to designer resources, a term that many interior designers use to mean they are going to visit one of the annual shows held at the marts.

Market Centers

Market Centers – Concentrations of trade sources in one area of a city.

Marquetry

Marquetry – Decorative patterns formed when thin layers of wood (and sometimes other materials, such as ivory) are inlaid into the surface of furniture or other wood products.

Marts

Marts – Where many firms have located in one building.

Mechanics Lien

Mechanics Lien – A legal recourse related to the labor and materials payment bond. It is an action that prevents the owner of the property of giving or selling the property to anyone until the lien is satisfied.

Merchant

Merchant – Anyone who is involved with the buying and/or selling of the kinds of goods with which he or she is dealing. A person acting in a mercantile capacity.

Metamorphic

Metamorphic – Rocks which changed from another rock by the action of heat, pressure, or both.

Mezzotint

Mezzotint – An intaglio printing process that produces areas of tone rather than clean lines.

Ming

Ming – Chinese dynasty that ruled form 1368 to 1644 and was noted for artistic works produced during its reign.

Mission Statement

Mission Statement – A philosophical statement of what the firm sees as its role in the profession. It contains broad statements of what the company wishes to achieve during an unspecified time period.

Modillion

Modillion – Ornamental bracket found under a cornice, similar in appearance to dentil, only larger.

Molding

Molding – A strip of contoured wood applied to a wall or other surface, normally used to hide seams between materials or to add a decorative element to a wall or structure.

Monoprint

Monoprint – A print produced by painting directly onto an already-etched surface and printing the image by hand onto the paper.

Monotype

Monotype – A print made when an artist draws or paints on a glass or metal plate and then prints the image onto paper.

Mortise

Mortise – A carved slot in a timber shaped to receive a tenon placed at the end of another post or beam, ensuring to secure it.

Mosaic

Mosaic – The process of creating a design or picture with small pieces of glass, stone, terra cotta, etc.

Mullion

Mullion – A vertical element that divides a window into a separate lights or panes.

Muntin

Muntin – A strip of wood that separates panes of glass in a window.

Murrini

Murrini – A small wafer of glass bearing a colored pattern. Formed by bundling and fusing colored glass rods together and then heating and pulling the resulting cylinder to a very small diameter. When cut into cross-sectioned wafers, each piece bears the original pattern in miniature.

Ninja

Ninja – Secret agent of practitioner of ancient art of ninjutsu or subterfuge, a supposedly magical art of making oneself invisible by artifice or stratagem in order to evade detection.

Nogging

Nogging – The infilling between the timbers of half-timbered homes in the seventeenth century, normally composed of brick or plaster.

Obi

Obi – Wide sash word around the waist with a kimono.

Ogee

Ogee – A pointed arch with a curve near the apex.

Oil Paint

Oil Paint – A paint in which natural oil-usually linseed-is the medium that binds the pigments.

Oolite

Oolite- The small round particles which make up a sedimentary rock. On mass they look just like fish eggs.

Open Competitive Selection

Open Competitive Selection – When clients such as government agencies advertise impending bids so that anyone interested in the project who meets qualifications may submit a bid.

Open Grain

Open Grain – A wood grain where the annual growth rings are pronounced and there is an obvious difference between the pore size of springwood and summerwood. Oak and ash and examples of open-grained wood.

Open Specification

Open Specification – A bid specification written in such a way as to allow multiple numbers of products for the item being required.

Opencast

Opencast – The method of mining near the surface, by cutting into it from above rather than digging underground.

Orders

Orders – Columns influenced by the Greeks and Romans are placed into specific orders, such as Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite, and Tuscan.

Oriel

Oriel – A bay window supported by corbels or brackets. Normally found on the second story of a home.

Origami

Origami – Art of folding paper to form figures and objects.

Overburden

Overburden – The unusable rock and matter lying over the stone to be quarried.

Overflow

Overflow – A pipe in bathtubs and lavatories used to prevent flooding. The pipe is located just below the rim or top edge of these fixtures.

Overlay Door

Overlay Door – The door is on the outside of the frame and, when closed, the door hides the frame from the view.

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

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

Paneling

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

Parquetry

Parquetry – Geometrically patterned wood inlay.

Pastel

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

Patera – A round or oval raised surface design.

Patina

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

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

Pediment

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

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

Photoetching

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

Photogravure

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

Pilaster

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

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

Plinth

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

Plutonic

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

Point

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

Polychromatic – Having various or changing colors.

Polyurethane

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

Porcelain

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

Portico

Portico – A covered entry structure normally supported by columns.

Power

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

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

Proportion

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

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

Quartersawn

Quartersawn – Lumber that has been cut so that the grown rings are at an angle of between 45 and 90 degrees to the board face.

Quartzite

Quartzite – The metamorphic equivalent of a quartz sandstone, which has recrystallised into closely fitting granules.

Rafter

Rafter – One of the series of members designed to support roof loads.

Raku

Raku – The technique of rapidly firing low-temperature ceramic ware. Raku firings were used traditionally in Japan to make bowls for tea ceremonies.

Random Match

Random Match – A way to join veneer where no particular attention is paid to the color or grain of the material or the pattern in which it meets. Considered a rustic or casual look.

Relief Print

Relief Print – A process in which a print is produced from the relief carving on a metal plate or a wood or linoleum block.

Repousse

Repousse – An ancient process in which sheet metal is hammered into contours from both the front and the back.

Residential Interior Design

Residential Interior Design – Concerned with the panning and/or specifying of interior materials and products used in private residences.

Reverse Painting

Reverse Painting – A technique where paint is applied to the back side of the surface (typically glass) and viewed through the front. This process requires the painting to be done in reverse order; what appears closest to the viewer, as a detail or highlight must be painted first rather than last. Any lettering must likewise be painted in the mirror image4 so it will appear right facing when viewed from the front.

Rhythm

Rhythm – Is the repetition of elements in a regular patter.

Ribbon Window

Ribbon Window – A continuous band of windows.

Riftsawn

Riftsawn – Wood that haws been cut so that growth rings are at an angle of 30 to 60 degrees to the board face.

Ring Porous

Ring Porous – Hardwood that shows a distinct zone between early and late wood, such as oak and ash.

Riser

Riser – The vertical board that spans that space between the stairs treads.

Rock

Rock – Any natural material formed of a single mineral or various minerals.

Roman Shades

Roman Shades – Pull up with a cord into accordion folds.

Rosette

Rosette – A decorative element featuring a floral design often used with a plinth and fluted molding in Victorian architecture.

Rug

Rug – A soft floor covering laid on the floor but not fastened to it. It does not cover the entire floor.

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