10 Common Interior Design Terms Explained


Every profession has its own terms that are used often, but unless it involves a hobby that you enjoy or something you deal with on a daily basis, many of those terms can sound like a foreign language to you. For example, our team of talented interior designers at the Lake of the Ozarks may use words that are unfamiliar to you when discussing your new look for a particular room.

Today John Elliott Interiors has definitions for 10 common design terms that you may run into. Some are easy to figure out and mean what you would expect, while others might need a bit of explanation as to how they relate to interior design.   

Rather than being one specific style of interior design, the word contemporary is attached to a style of the present time period. As time goes by, the style associated with this title will change.

Contrast happens when unlike things of opposite natures are put together. In interior design, this can be done by using opposite textures like glass and wood, light and dark colors, and solids with patterns for a few examples.

When an interior designer uses their talent and expertise to create a collection of furnishings for a client, that collection is said to be curated. The pieces have been carefully put together to reflect a particular style or meaning as requested and sometimes has historical tie-ins.

This is a minimalized approach to the furnishings in a room. Everything is well thought out, organized, and has a distinct purpose, but done in a way that does not feel empty or cold.

Focal Point
This is an item in a room that immediately draws your eye, catches your attention, and generates interest. It can be a special piece of furniture, a fantastic piece of art, or an element of the room such as a fireplace or a large picture window. Generally, the rest of the design will be planned around the focal point.

This pertains to the many different layers in a room to be designed. From the flooring to the window treatments and art on the walls to the furniture itself and all of the accessories, each of these layers must work together to create a cohesive design.

This is the description used to explain the flow that the room design generates. The way that everything works together to urge your eyes to move around the room in a specific way, touching on one design element after another.

This is an element that has been customized especially for a particular space. It could also be used to describe a room that has been customized to match specific wants and needs. 

This word is often used to describe the different fabrics, colors, and patterns used to decorate a room. All of those things give the space a tactile and visual appeal, giving it the look of being textured.

A room with this description is one that is designed with high-end furnishings and outstanding execution of interior design principles. This perfectly describes every room curated by the experts at John Elliott Interiors! We take your dreams and wishes for a particular room and turn it into a reality with our exquisite furniture, unique home accents, and beautiful wall art.

Now when you hear or read these terms while preparing to design a room in your home or office, they will make a lot more sense. If you ever have any questions at all when it comes to interior design, everyone at our luxury home furnishings store at the Lake of the Ozarks is happy to answer them and give you an explanation that is easy to understand.

Let us help you create an interior for your life.

2265 Bagnell Dam Blvd.
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


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