Your interior design dictionary

A Glossary of Interior Design and
Home Renovation Words

A constantly updated list of all the terms you might hear during your interior design and home renovation journey.


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Art Deco

A bold and glamorous style characterized by geometric shapes, metallic accents, and rich colors.


A free-spirited style with eclectic decor, vibrant colors, and layers of textures.


A light and airy style inspired by the beach, featuring blues, whites, and natural textures.


Sleek and minimalist, with neutral colors, clean lines, and modern furniture.


Combining elements from different design styles to create a unique and personal look.


Rustic and cozy, with natural materials like wood and stone, and vintage accents.


A raw and edgy style featuring exposed brick, metal beams, concrete floors, and vintage furniture.

Mid-century modern

A style characterized by clean lines, organic shapes, natural materials like wood and leather, and pops of color.

Minimalism or Minimalist

Using clean lines, simple forms, and limited color palettes to create a sense of uncluttered space.

Modern farmhouse

A blend of modern and rustic elements, featuring clean lines, neutral colors, and natural materials with farmhouse touches like shiplap walls and vintage furniture.

Modern rustic

A blend of contemporary and rustic elements, with natural materials, clean lines, and pops of color.


A cozy and natural style with exposed wood beams, earthy tones, and natural materials like stone and wicker.


A minimalist style with light, airy spaces, natural materials, and pops of pastel or bold colors.


Classic and elegant, with formal furniture, rich colors, and patterned textiles.


A blend of traditional and contemporary styles, with neutral colors, classic furniture, and modern accents.

Circuit Breaker

A device that protects electrical circuits from overload.

Dimmer Switch

A switch that allows you to adjust the brightness of a light.


The system of wires and outlets that provide power to a home.

HVAC System

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system regulating a building's temperature and air quality.


Material that helps keep a building warm in the winter and cool in the summer.


The way a space is lit, using natural and artificial light.


The system of pipes and fixtures that carry water and waste.


The bones of the building, including walls, beams, and foundations.

Accent Color

A pop of color used to add interest and drama to a space.

Analogous Colors

Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, creating a harmonious and calming effect.

Color palette

The range of colors used in a design scheme.

Color Psychology

The study of how colors affect mood and behavior, used in design to create specific atmospheres.

Complementary Colors

Colors opposite each other on the color wheel that create a vibrant contrast.

Cool Colors

Colors like blue, green, and purple that create a calming and relaxing effect.

Monochromatic Color Scheme

A scheme using different shades of a single color.


The lightness or darkness of a color.

Warm & Cool Colors

Colors that evoke different temperature sensations.

Warm Colors

Colors like red, orange, and yellow that create a warm and inviting effect.

Plumbing Fixtures

The faucets, toilets, sinks, and bathtubs in a bathroom or kitchen.


The material that covers the top of a building to protect it from the elements.

Accent piece

A small piece of furniture or decor that adds personality to a space.

Plants & Greenery

Bringing the outdoors in with houseplants that purify air and add life to your space.


A floor covering made of fabric or another material.

Statement Piece

A unique and eye-catching furniture or decor element that becomes the focal point.

Throw pillows

Decorative pillows that add comfort and style to sofas and chairs.

Hardwood Flooring

Classic and durable, available in various species and finishes.

Laminate Flooring

Affordable and versatile option with a wide range of styles and textures.

Stone Tile

A durable and elegant flooring material made from natural stone.


The layer of flooring beneath the finished surface.

Tile Flooring

Durable and easy to clean, suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways.

Wood Flooring

A classic and versatile flooring material made from wood planks.


Permanent features like sinks, toilets, and vanities.


The metal parts of cabinets, doors, and drawers.

Sustainable Furniture

Opting for furniture made from sustainably sourced materials or recycled pieces.


Furniture or appliances that are permanently installed into the walls or cabinetry.


Built-in storage units, often used in kitchens


Covering a surface with tiles, often used for bathrooms and kitchens.


The area behind the kitchen sink and stove, often tiled or covered with another material.


The horizontal surface of a kitchen or bathroom counter, typically made of stone, quartz, or laminate.


The material covering the ground, like hardwood, tile, or carpet.

Accent wall

A wall painted a different color or covered in a different material to create a focal point.


Decorative trim around doors, windows, and ceilings.


Small, flat pieces of ceramic, stone, or glass used to cover walls, floors, and backsplashes.

Stud Wall

A wall made of wooden studs covered with drywall.

Window treatments

Curtains, blinds, or shades that cover windows.

Architectural detail

Decorative elements built into the structure of a room, like crown molding or corbels.


A safe route for exiting a building in case of an emergency.

Pattern Play

Incorporating different patterns in a balanced and intentional way.


The relative lightness or darkness of colors in relation to each other.


The substance used to construct or decorate elements, like wood, tile, or fabric.


A repeated motif used in textiles, wallpaper, or flooring.

Texture & Pattern

Mix and match textures and patterns to add visual interest and depth.


Using eco-friendly materials and practices in design to reduce environmental impact.

Wellbeing Design

Designing spaces that promote physical and mental health, including air quality, natural light, and acoustics.


The slope of a roof.

Focal point

The central element in a room that draws the eye, like a fireplace or artwork.


The visual emphasis given to certain elements to create a focal point and guide the eye.

Negative Space

The empty space around furniture and objects, which can create a sense of spaciousness.


The pleasing relationship between different elements in terms of size, color, and form.

Rhythm and Repetition

The use of recurring patterns, textures, or colors to create a sense of flow and unity.

Scale & Proportion

Choose furniture that is appropriately sized for the room and complements other elements.

Visual Weight

The perceived heaviness or lightness of a design element.

Civil Defense

The authority responsible for fire safety regulations and approvals.

DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority)

The authority responsible for approvals related to electrical and plumbing installations.

Dubai Municipality

The authority responsible for issuing building permits and ensuring compliance with regulations.


A government-issued document that allows you to do certain types of construction work.


Obtaining necessary legal approvals from local authorities for renovation projects.

Accent lighting

Additional lighting used to highlight specific areas or features.

Ambient Lighting

General illumination for overall room brightness and atmosphere.

Color Temperature

Choosing warm or cool light tones to influence ambiance and mood.

Dimmable Lighting

Lighting that can be adjusted to create different moods and atmospheres.

Focal Point Lighting

Lighting that draws attention to a specific element in a space.

Layered Lighting or Layering

A combination of different types of lighting, such as overhead, task, and accent lighting, to create a well-lit space.

Natural Lighting

Maximize natural daylight through windows and skylights to reduce reliance on artificial lighting.

Smart Lighting

Integrate smart bulbs or systems for automated control and energy efficiency.

Task Lighting

Focused illumination for specific activities like reading or cooking.


A type of wallboard used for interior walls and ceilings.

Engineered Wood

Stable and moisture-resistant alternative to solid wood flooring.

Low-VOC Paints & Finishes

Opt for low-VOC (volatile organic compound) products to improve indoor air quality.


Latticework screens traditionally made of wood, used for privacy and shading on windows and balconies.


Ornamental decorative elements created by interlocking geometric shapes.


Cost-effective way to update walls and ceilings, offering various finishes and colors.

Paneled Wall

A wall covered with wood or other materials, often in a grid pattern.

Stone Walls

Adds a natural and rustic touch, ideal for fireplaces and accent walls.


Polished lime plaster used for walls and floors, known for its water resistance and unique patina.


Dramatic statement piece, available in endless patterns and textures.


Small, hand-cut ceramic tiles often used for mosaics and murals.

Structural Engineer

A professional who designs the structural elements of a building to ensure its safety and stability.


A specialized worker hired for specific tasks, like flooring or electrical work.

Interior Designer

A professional who creates the overall design scheme, selects finishes, furniture, and lighting. They may also manage the project construction team.


Involved in significant layout changes or structural modifications, particularly during major renovations or expansions.

General Contractor

The primary point of contact for overseeing the entire project, managing subcontractors, and ensuring it adheres to deadlines and budget.

Permitting/Inspection Officer

Ensures permits are obtained for necessary modifications and inspects the work to ensure it meets building codes and regulations.

Furniture Supplier

Sells furniture and furnishings chosen by the designer or homeowner, handles deliveries, and may offer assembly services.

Decorative Accents Provider

If the project involves additional decor like artwork, rugs, plants, or custom blinds, a specialist in these areas could be consulted.

Cleaning Service

May be hired before and after the renovations to ensure a spotless space ready for the homeowners to enjoy.


The process of tearing down walls or existing structures.

Project Management

Planning, budgeting, and overseeing the entire renovation process to ensure smooth execution.


Designing spaces that are functional and usable for people with different abilities.


Designing furniture and spaces to be comfortable and functional for the human body.

Floor plan

A drawing that shows the layout of a room

Furniture layout

The arrangement of furniture in a room for optimal flow and function.


A formal living room for receiving guests and social gatherings.


A designated prayer space in the home.

Open floor plan

A layout where the main living areas (kitchen, living room, dining room) are combined into one large space with minimal walls or dividers.

Traffic Flow

The movement of people through a space, which should be considered when designing layouts.

Bearing Wall

A wall that supports the weight of the structure above it.


The structural base of a building that supports the weight above.


The construction of the basic structure of a wall or building.

Joist Hanger

A metal device that supports the ends of floor joists.

Load-bearing Capacity

The maximum weight a wall, floor, or ceiling can safely support.

Biophilic Design

Incorporating natural elements like plants, sunlight, and natural materials to create a calming and healthy environment.

Energy Efficiency

Utilizing natural light, energy-efficient appliances, and proper insulation to reduce energy consumption.

Green Building Materials

Building materials made from recycled or renewable resources with low environmental impact.

LEED Certification

A green building rating system that recognizes sustainable design practices.

Passive Design

Utilizing natural elements like sunlight, ventilation, and heat gain/loss to reduce reliance on mechanical systems.

Reclaimed Materials

Using salvaged wood, bricks, or other materials to reduce environmental impact.

Recycled Materials

Incorporating materials like reclaimed wood or recycled glass into your design.

Renewable Energy Sources

Utilizing solar, wind, or geothermal energy to power a building.


Reusing existing materials or furniture in creative ways to minimize waste.

Water Conservation

Installing low-flow faucets and toilets to reduce water usage.