A Beginner's Foolproof Guide to Décor Lingo


Courtesy of Anthropologie

Have you ever tried online shopping for a particular décor style, only to realize you have no idea what it's called? We have on many occasions, and it's a frustrating experience. Enter deep-dive Google searches for things like "three-arm modern lamps" (triennale is the word we were looking for) and curved sectionals (serpentine, FYI) that often result in everything but the item you're actually searching for. Granted, as home décor editors, our searches are probably a little more obscure and usually involve one particular model of chair designed by one loosely known Italian designer between 1952 and 1953, but the feeling remains the same.

In fact, when we talk about décor, we sometimes go into lingo mode without realizing—just to look up and see the puzzled glance on our friends' faces. While every profession has its lingo—we wouldn't understand a word in a surgical ward—we shouldn't expect others to know what we mean by tufting or toile. So in an effort to make your online research a little more fruitful, we started a glossary of décor terms that you might not know, but that you've certainly seen or looked for in the past. Do you know what shagreen is made of? Do you even know what shagreen is? If not, take notes, and get ready to sound really smart next time you walk into West Elm.