Terminology - Furniture Glossary
by some of the terms used in the furniture world? Not
to worry! Blue Springs Furniture Gallery has assembled
some of the most commonly used terms in the furniture
business below so you can familiarize yourself with
| B | C | D
| E | F | G
| H | I | J
| K | L | M
| N | O | P
| R | S | T
| U | V | W
Furniture: Any piece of furniture placed to
add decoration to a room or to compliment another piece
(or pieces) of furniture. Accent furniture may be placed
simply for aesthetics or the piece may serve a practical
purpose, such as an accent chest may store items such
Rug: A rug intended to cover a limited area
of a floor. Area rugs come in a variety of different
materials, including wool, leather, silk and more.
Another name for a tall, wide wardrobe usually having
two large doors behind which clothes can be hung or
stored. Armoires originated in France where they were
used for the storage of armor.
Foot: A cylindrical foot which is tapered and
separated from the leg by a turned ring.
Decor: Any type of artistic medium used to
decorate a room. One of the most popular forms of art
décor is wall art. Both framed and unframed pieces
can add feeling and personalization to a home. Tapestries
are also a type of art décor, as are sculptures,
bowls, vases, and even chinaware.
Back Pillow: A pillow treatment which cannot
be removed from the upholstered piece.
Crib: A small bed with high, usually slatted
sides made for ensuring the baby won’t climb or
fall out. Baby cribs may be simple, or they may have
features such as built-in soothing music, varying speed
vibrations, and a mobile or toys hanging overhead.
Furniture: Any kind of furniture made specifically
for a baby such as baby cribs and mattresses, playpens,
highchairs and changing tables. Popular nursery furniture
also includes armoires, dressers, rocking chairs, toy
boxes and rugs.
Chest: A low chest of drawers, traditionally
with a slide that pulls out for writing.
Foot: The rounded end of a turned leg which
has a hooded effect.
Back: A chair or sofa with the arms and back
forming a continuous curve.
Furniture: Furniture placed in a bathroom,
usually to store or hang linens or other bath essentials.
Linens such as comforters, sheets, pillow cases, bedskirts
and shams are called “Bedding” or “Bed
Linens”. Quilts and blankets put on a bed for
warmth are also considered bedding.
Furniture: Furniture sets that are placed in
your bedroom such as bed, dresser, chest of drawers,
and nightstand. Some bedroom furniture collections even
come with an armoire, chiffonier, or storage chest.
Depending on your preference, you may choose contemporary,
traditional or transitional styled bedrooms.
Chest: A low box-like check designed for storing
blankets often having a hinged top and a drawer near
Back: A chair back formed by a bent piece of
wood fitted with vertical spindles (as in a Windsor
chair). The bow or hoop is continuous down to the arms
or the seat.
An alloy of copper composed of copper and zinc. Brass
is stronger than copper and has a more yellow color.
It is often made into headboards, footboards, frames,
lamps, table top accessories and occasional tables.
Brass will tarnish when exposed to the air if not coated
with a clear protective coating.
Plate: Brass plated furniture usually has steel
frames electroplated with a thin layer of brass or nickel
and brass. The plated surfaces should be smooth, free
from water marks and covered by a protective coating.
Chair: An American colonial wooden chair with
heavy turned posts, many turned spindles and a wood
seat. Provincial Jackobean style influences.
Pediment: The space or structure above the
cornice in which the side lines or scrolls do not meet
in the center or come to a point. Often used on secretaries,
clocks or chinas.
A small cupboard or sideboard used to store dining implements.
Foot: A flattened ball foot.
Bed: Two beds that are joined together so that
one is placed above the other. Bunk beds are often used
in kids rooms and dormitories. Federal safety standards
exist for bunk bed ladders and rails which protect children
from falling injuries.
A chest of drawers used in the bedroom. See dresser.
Table: An oval wooden tray on legs whose four
sides are hinged to fold out flat when set down.
Table: A small drop-leaf table whose leaves
are supported by a swinging support which resembles
a butterfly wing on a rudder.
Tufted: Fabric covered buttons are sewn through
the upholstery surface and tied down. The placement
of buttons and the resulting folds produce geometric
A furniture leg that curves outward from the structure
which it supports and then descends in a tapering reverse
curve terminating in an ornamental foot. Often used
in Queen Anne and Chippendale dining chairs.
Back: Double curved back, shield shaped; characteristic
Bed: Canopy beds are beds decorated with a
canopy. Sometimes they use four posts that are connected
at the top with rails that fabric can be hung from.
Other times, a hoop is hung from the ceiling over the
bed and the fabric drapes down from the hoop. Originally,
they were developed to provide protection from insects
but now are more commonly used in a decorative fashion.
Piece: Furniture that provides interior space
The art of forming metal objects by pouring the molten
metal into a mold and allowing in to harden. After hardening,
the castings are finished by hand.
Glide: A center track that a drawer glides
A piece of furniture made for a person to comfortably
sit on. Usually consists of a seat, legs, back and arms.
Some types of chairs (such as some dining chairs) do
not have arms.
Lounge: A type of sofa or daybed designed for
reclining and resembling an elongated chair.
On Chest: Primarily English and American 18th
and 19th Century pieces composed of two stacked chests
of drawers. The upper chest usually being smaller than
Cabinet: A cabinet which is used for the display
and storage of fine china. It is often massive with
front and side glass panels.
Painted or lacquered Chinese designs.
Core: A board made of chips of wood which are
held together with resin and compressed into a strong,
warp resistant panel.
and Ball Foot: The terminal portion of a furniture
leg (often cabriole) consisting of a carved animal or
bird claw clutching a sphere.
Foot: A rounded foot that resembles a club
resting on a flat base.
Table: A long, narrow occasional table usually
placed in front of a sofa. Also known as a “Cocktail
Table”. Coffee tables are used for display or
storage of magazines and books and also for the placement
Springs: Wire coils used in quality upholstery
to give a desired resiliency and firmness to the seat
and back. These are often "tied" or incorporated
in a "marshall unit."
Back: A Windsor chair having an extension of
the back above the arm rail that consists of five or
more spindles and a curved top rail that resembles a
A low chest of drawers and/or doors or a cabinet on
legs which usually stands against a wall.
An electrical device such as a cassette deck, compact
disk player, graphic equalizer or amplifier. Each is
purchased separately and then connected together to
make a complete system.
A table that is fixed to a wall and supported by one
or more carved legs. Also any table meant to be placed
against a wall.
Blocks: Blocks of wood that are placed at major
joints in a furniture frame. Usually glued and screwed
into place. Triangular blocks which strengthen important
Cupboard: A triangular shaped dining room china
cabinet made to fit into a corner.
(Lounge): A sofa that has a half-back and only
a head end.
A sideboard of buffet.
A cabinet, box or closet with shelves designed to hold
cups, dishes or food.
A case piece which has glass doors, panels
and shelves, which is used to display collectibles.
Derived from "curiosity" cabinet.
A sofa with head and foot and/or back pieces,
having a twin sized mattress which doubles as a sitting
and sleeping surface. Daybeds often have decorative
removable covers and matching pillows or bolsters which
act as back rests.
Molding: Ornamental cornice molding consisting
of rectangular blocks spaced at regular intervals resembling
Tufting: An arrangement of tufting buttons
to yield a diamond shaped pattern on the back of an
Chairs: A chair usually accompanied by a dining
table. The most popular style of dining chair is the
side chair, a chair with a back but no arms. Although
the armless chair is most popular for dining, a chair
with arms may also be a comfortable alternative.
Table: A dining table is a table at which meals
are served. Dining tables have evolved into many different
styles and shapes. The most common shapes are square
or rectangular and round or oval. Some dining tables
have the versatility of additional leaves that can be
added or removed from the table to provide for extra
space when needed. Dining Room Furniture Sets are often
accompanied by matching chairs, buffets, hutches, china
cabinets, or a sideboard server.
Furniture: Furniture made with space-saving
features suitable for a small (sometimes shared) dorm
room. Loft beds are a very popular dorm room item, as
they combine sleeping space with study space. Other
pieces of furniture include desks and desk chairs, sofas,
shelving and dinettes.
Chair: Any large chair which is suitable for
Center: An entertainment center is a shelving
unit to place a TV and stereo equipment on. The larger
TV’s have become, the larger entertainment units
Furniture: Any furniture found in the entryway
of a home, upon entering the front door. May include
benches (for easy removal of shoes), coat racks, umbrella
stands, rugs and hall trees.
Chair back whose splat looks like a violin.
Joint: A joint made with interlocking finger-like
projections in two boards.
The curved cast, turned or stamped decorative
piece that adorns the top of bed posts.
Lamp: A tall lamp which stands on the floor,
usually including a wide base to prevent the lamp from
falling or tipping.
Poster: Any bed with four high posts positioned
at each corner. Originally, the posts were designed
to support elaborate fabric curtains and upholstered
treatments which totally enclosed the bed.
The bed frame supports the mattress and attaches
to the headboard and footboard. They often have self
locking devices at each corner and are connected to
threaded reinforcements inside the bedposts. The wooden
skeleton of an upholstered piece.
A futon is a type of sofa that folds down into
a bed. They often have a ‘futon mat’ as
a mattress that doubles as a seat cushion when it’s
folded up into the sofa position.
A small ornamental barrier or railing around the top
of a table, cabinet or buffet, etc.
Room Furniture: Furniture which is useful in
a game room or recreational room. This includes game
tables for playing card games or board games as well
as pool tables and covers.
Table: A table which has drop leaves supported
by a leg which swings out like a gate.
Tied: Single coil springs that are attached
to the webbing with links and then "hand tied"
to each other and the frame with twine to achieve differing
amounts of elasticity in the seat. Two, four, and eight
way hand ties are commonly used. The more ways the spring
is tied, the harder the seat.
Wood derived from angiosperms (broad leafed
trees such as oak, beech, maple, mahogany, and walnut).
The category consists of some woods that are actually
much softer than "softwoods."
Frames: Frames which are made from hardwoods
such as ash, oak, or birch. These woods are usually
kiln dried and resist splitting.
An upright structure rising above the mattress at the
head of the bed. Common types include the chairback
headboard, panel headboard, and bookcase headboard.
Body: A tall chest of drawers that is often
made in two sections - the upper chest is sitting on
a table with long legs called a lowboy.
Pressure Laminates: Synthetic sheet surfacings
that are bonded to a core material. Laminates offer
heat, soil, and stain resistance. They can be grain
and color matched to surrounding woods for use in dresser
or bureau tops, or produces in decorative colors used
to surface entire contemporary bedroom suites.
Chair: Named for American furniture manufacturer
Lambert Hitchcock, the chair has a rush or caned seat,
slightly bent back, and an oval turned top rail. These
chairs are often painted or stenciled with fruit and
Leg: A cabriole leg having a broken curve on
the inner side of the knee.
Chair: A 18th Century Queen Anne styled side
chair with a hooped back, pierced splat and cabriole
Office Furniture: Home office furniture consists
of office chairs, computer desks and bookcases that
can be used to turn your room into an office at home.
Back: A chair back formed by a bent piece of
wood fitted with vertical spindles. In Windsor chairs
a bow back.
Back: The outward sweep at the base of the
bow in the back of a Windsor chair.
A low cupboard with doors usually surrounded by open
Mirror: A mirror incorporated into an open
shelved cabinet designed to sit on a dresser.
Wood or other materials which are set into
corresponding carved out recesses often producing a
Beds: Term often used to describe beds made
of steel that are coated with white or colored protective
Platform Bed: Japanese platform beds are known
for gently swooping lines, reminiscent of the architectural
phenomena of pagodas.
Armoire: A tall storage cabinet with drawers
and sometimes double doors which open to reveal hooks,
compartments and shelves for easy storage of jewelry
and valuables. A mirror and felt-lined compartments
are also common additions to an armoire.
Furniture: Kids furniture is specially designed
for kids. It is usually designed with eye-catching colors
and styles that are suitable for children. Some kids
furniture is designed with space saving functions like
storage drawers and desks built into the beds.
Dried: Kiln drying reduces the moisture content
of the lumber, a process which inhibits checking, splitting
and strengthens the finished product.
Furniture: May include storage furniture for
storing food related items or tableware such as bakers
racks, wine racks and pot racks. Kitchen carts and islands
are (sometimes moveable) pieces of furniture used for
preparing or serving food.
Back: A chair back which has horizontal cross
rails or slats that resemble a ladder.
An overstuffed furniture design that has square
seat cushion, short square shaped back rests and high
square or rolled arms. Variations of the Lawson sofa
are often called transitional.
Recliner: A leather recliner is a chair that
reclines when the person lowers the chair's back and
raises the front. Leather is the material it’s
upholstered in and can be found in different leather
grades. Some recliners come with complimentary ottomans
while others may have drink holders or adjustable headrests,
back rests, arm rests, and foot rests. Some swivel while
others are stationary.
Storage: Drawers, trays, cabinets or racks
designed to store cassettes, compact discs or VHS tapes.
They often roll or slide out for easy accessibility.
Any furniture such as table lamps, chandeliers, floor
lamps or wall lanterns which are made for illuminating
a room, patio, or walkway in dark environments or at
Chest: A tall, narrow chest or drawers originally
designed to hold women's undergarments.
Room Furniture: Living room furniture usually
includes couches, sofas, coffee tables, end tables,
love seats, and chairs that are placed in your living
room. Styles range from traditional to contemporary
and transitional, which is a combination of styles.
Bed: Loft beds are similar to bunk beds except
there is sometimes only one bed and the lower space
is used for storage or a desk. Often the beds are placed
perpendicular to each other and the supports for the
top bed also container drawers, shelving, or cabinets
Furniture: Furniture crafted from wood logs.
Log furniture is known for its style of long, cylindrical
pieces and is prized for its rustic sometimes craggy
look. Although some prefer the sleeker more finished
log pieces. Both types can bring a “natural”
feel to a room, as the wood is not usually stained,
although still lacquered as a protective finish for
Back: An oval chair back or a Windsor bow back
Pillow Back: A pillow treatment which can be
removed from an upholstered piece.
Double chair or small sofa.
Motif: Representations of a harp-like instrument
are used in many French and English designs. The lyre
is used extensively in the chair backs and table supports
of Duncan Phyfe.
Legs: A heavy strait leg used by Chippendale
Unit: Coil springs which are inserted in separate
pockets and then joined together to form cushions.
A large rectangular pad used for supporting a person’s
body comfortably while they sleep. A mattress is most
often combined with a bed frame and a box-spring although
may be used by itself. Mattresses may contain coil springs,
foam rubber (or “memory foam”) or air chambers.
Foam Mattress: A Memory Foam Mattress is distinguished
from a regular ‘inner-coil’ mattress in
the way that it is made. Memory foam mattresses are
made only with memory foam, which is made from polyurethane
with additional chemicals that add to its viscosity
level. Memory foam was initially developed by NASA to
protect astronauts from G forces and impact on landing.
Different types of memory foam mattresses have different
thicknesses and densities of memory foam in the layers
of memory foam that provide the support.
Joint: A joint made by fastening two pieces
cut at an angle (usually 90 degrees).
A hole, groove or slot in wood into which a tenon or
tongue fits to form a secure joint.
Small occasional tables which are graduated
in size so that they slide beneath one another.
Stand: A small, low table or cabinet which
sits by a bed.
Chair: A chair used in an office environment
featuring a comfortable seat and back and the ability
to turn 360 degrees. Comfort and posture are very important
in an office chair, as it may be used for a long period
of time in a workday.
Furniture Store: In contrast to the traditional
furniture store, an online furniture store like QualityForLess.com
gives you the opportunity to browse our wide selection
of furniture directly we can obtain online and request
to have it delivered.
An upholstered seat or couch usually without a back
or an overstuffed footstool.
Back: The shape of a chairback often associated
with Hepplewhite designs.
Furniture: Upholstered pieces in which the
wood frame is completely and deeply covered by the upholstery
with little exposed woodwork.
Foot: A simple foot treatment at the end of
a cabriole leg.
Seat: Upholstered furniture built without springs.
The seat usually has a solid or webbed base padded with
loose stuffing and overlaid with a sofa material (felted
Top: A table top made by using joinery or inlay
which has geometric or other patterns usually made from
different colored woods.
Leg: A relatively long fully upholstered leg.
Furniture: Mainly used outside on the patio
or around the pool. It’s designed to withstand
the elements. Patio or pool furniture is made from teak,
cedar, aluminum, or plastic compounds.
Table: A table which has a central supporting
column or pillar.
The usually triangular or rounded structure above the
cornice often seen in tall case pieces.
Group: Two very tall, narrow chests (pier cabinets)
which sit at the head on either side of a bed.
(fluting): Used on barrel back, fan back, kidney
shaped and hollow backed upholstered pieces. Individual
upholstered pockets (pipes) are stuffed separately to
give a comfortable soft curve in the back.
Bed: Platform beds are beds whose bases consists
of a raised, flat, hard, horizontal surface meant to
support a mattress. Usually, they have a ‘low-profile’
footboard. You can use them with or without a boxspring,
depending on your preference.
Base: A squared base (sometimes other shapes)
which sits on the floor and usually recessed from the
outermost outlines of the case piece.
Dacron Wrap: A cushion construction method
in which a soft resilient polyester material is wrapped
around a polyurethane core.
Table: A table with six pockets, one in each
corner and two in the middle on both sides, used for
playing the game of pool. Both the playing surface and
the cushions (inner sides) are covered with felt of
varying colors (usually green). Some tables come with
a protective pad used for covering the table when not
A strong, highly glazed board sometimes used
for case backs, dust proofing or as the underlying structural
base for veneers, engraving or vinyl wrap. Also known
as composition board or particle board.
Back: Entertainment centers are designed to
hold many pieces of audio/video equipment each with
separate power plugs, input/output cables, and antennas.
To allow these unit's wires to connect with each other,
entertainment centers either have fully or partially
open backs or backs with removable panels that can be
Joints: The places where the horizontal members
of an upholstered frame meet. These joints are often
screwed, glued and doubled doweled for extra strength.
Furniture: Furniture made from Rattan, which
is the name used for roughly 600 species of palms native
to various tropical regions. Rattan features a slender,
flexible stem which makes it very easy to craft into
furniture items. Rattan furniture is used both indoors
and outdoors to create a tropical look, although when
used outdoors it may need to be brought out of harmful
weather to prevent deterioration.
An upholstered armchair which can be put into a reclining
position, with the back lowered and the front (foot
rest) raised. Usually includes well-cushioned arms.
Sofa: Just like a reclining chair, a recliner
sofa's back can be lowered and its front can be raised
so that you can sit comfortably in a reclined position
and you can adjust the sofa accordingly to fit your
own preferred setting. Reclining loveseats are also
Table: A long narrow table with heavy stretchers
positioned close to the floor which was originally used
by religious orders in the middle ages. Modern adaptations
are shorter and have underleaves.
Arms: Arms which flare out, then down and return
to meet the sides of a chair or sofa - appearing to
have been rolled.
Pleat (Sheer Pleat): A skirt treatment in which
unlined fabric is gathered to achieve a ruffled effect.
A thick woven piece of fabric used for covering certain
areas of a floor, either for aesthetics or comfort.
Rugs are highly customizable, using varying materials
and colors. Designs may be abstract or displaying a
Joint: A knuckle joint as between a table top
and drop leaf that leaves no open space when the leaf
A chair seat which has been hollowed to the sides and
back to resemble the pommel of a saddle. Often used
in American colonial styled seats.
Seat: A chair with a seat that has been hollowed
out to fit the body.
Scrolls (curls) are the supportive and decorative
members shaped like a scroll or curl which are connected
to posts, rails, and each other on many brass (especially
traditional) headboards and footboards. Scrolls can
either be solid or made from hollow tubing.
Furniture made up of modular units capable of use separately
or in various combinations.
Storing Leaves: Leaves that store within an
Table: A long narrow side table with drawers
used in dining rooms for silver storage.
Back: A chair back used by Hepplewhite and
Sheraton that resembles a shield, the outlines of which
are formed by a double curved top rail with a half ellipse
Glide: A drawer located on the vertical side
faces on the drawer.
Back: Often used in American colonial styled
chairs. This treatment uses horizontal rails across
the back and looks similar to a ladder back.
Bed: The sleigh bed has a high, scrolled headboard
and footboard resembling the front of a sleigh.
Seat: An upholstered "loose seat"
insert that is dropped into the frame of a dining chair
and can be removed for reupholstery.
Table: A long, thin, tall, occasional table
placed against the back of a sofa or against a wall.
Original 18th century versions had small, rounded drop
leaf ends and drawers.
Woods: Wood from a conifer (cone bearing tree).
Pine, cedar and redwood are common examples.
Leg: A leg having the shape of a spiral or
A curved chair back designed to fit the sitter's form.
Common in Queen Anne styled chairs.
Back: To hollow out chair seats as in Windsor
chairs. See also Saddle.
The most commonly used springs for upholstery
are coil springs and sinuous springs.
Edge: An upholstered seat front edge that is
supported by springs rather than the hardwood frame
giving added comfort.
Bend: A method of bending a single piece of
wood (bowback chair, bowed splat, etc.) into a furniture
part. Since the wood grain is bent instead of cut, this
method yields exceptional strength.
Bed: Storage beds are beds that usually come
with additional drawers underneath the bed to save space
in the bedroom. Some storage beds have hydraulic lifts
instead of drawers.
Leg: A hinged table leg lacking a lower stretcher
(as in a gate leg) which swings out to support a drop
pad: Dining table pads are pads or covers that
are used for protection of a dining table. On one side
they are covered in felt so they don’t scratch
the table. On the other side they’re covered in
a heat resistant vinyl. Table pads are made with seams
to allow folding for easy storage when you don’t
have it on your table. They can be ordered custom made
to fit any style or shape of table and with a selection
Leg: A chair leg whose thickness is reduced
as it approaches the bottom.
Seat Cushions: A loose seat cushion whose outside
front edges laterally in the front of the arm of an
Cavity: Most audio components have standard
physical dimensions, but televisions vary widely in
height, width and depth. If a customer's television
is too deep for the entertainment center, its back will
protrude beyond the back of the case and force replacement
of the case away from the wall. If a TV's width and
height exceeds the physical dimensions of the case,
the television will not fit at all. Television tube
size is measured diagonally across the front of the
tube. Today's sets generally have similar dimensions,
but older sets vary widely in height width and depth.
Larger tubes are becoming more popular.
Bed: A four poster bed that has a canopy supported
by a frame.
Seat Bed: Fully upholstered back designed not
to have a cushion.
Table: A table top supported by a braced frame
(divided foot, horse), often consisting of two posts
with feet, joined by a connecting member.
Mirror: A tri-fold or tri-view mirror sits
on or hangs above a dresser. It has a central mirror
panel and two mirrored side panels that produce three
images of a person looking in the mirror.
Bed: A low or collapsible bed which is stored
under another bed.
The shaping of chair or table legs on a lathe.
Arms: Slightly flared arms that are the same
height as the back.
A chair or table turning resembling a screw or spiral.
Foam (Polyurethane): Flexible polyurethane
foam is used as a cushioning material in upholstered
furniture seats, backs and arms. It is an extremely
versatile product that can be produced to have practically
any "feel" - from very firm to very plush.
For seat cushioning, foams that have a density of 1.8
pounds per cubic foot or higher offer the best support
and durability characteristics. Several types of polyurethane
foam are used in upholstered furniture. Conventional
polyurethane is the most widely used. High resilience
(HR foam) is used at higher price points because it
offers superior support and surface softness. High comfort
(HC foam) normally falls between conventional foams
or foams containing a variety of materials used to increase
density are also used.
A thin decorative layer of wood which is applied to
underlying wood solids or particleboard. Veneers are
used to match and balance grain, create inlay and banding
Wrap: Flexible vinyl wrapping applied to underlying
wood solids or particleboard to produce a surface that
most often resembles wood. It is often used in less
expensive furniture applications.
Units: Large free-standing or wall hung units
which can have drawers, shelves, cabinets, desks, ban
units, entertainment centers or a variety of other features.
Interwoven 3.5 inch wide jute (or synthetic)
strips that provide a foundations for many upholstered
arms, backs, seats and wings.
Cord wrapped in fabric which is used to trim upholstery
seams and places where the fabric meets exposed wood.
Chair: A wooden chair with a bentwood, fan,
hoops or bow back and legs which are pegged into a thick
saddle seat. The back is often formed of plain or turned
spindles with or without splats.
Back Chair: A comfortable large chair with
side pieces (ears, wings) attached to the sides of the
back, usually overstuffed.
Group: Bedroom furniture designed to sit against
a wall that can be juxtaposed to "wrap" around
a room. Wrap groups often include small scale chests,
hutches, student desks and corner desks.