A Glossary Of Essential Interior Design Terms

Urban 57 Home Decor & Interior Design |


Every industry has its own language and terms. These words and phrases can be confusing to anyone who is not part of the daily operations of a specific industry, and the interior design business is no exception. 

To help you understand the terms, acronyms, and phrases regularly used in the interior design industry, Urban 57 Home Décor & Interior Design has created this handy reference guide. Here you’ll find valuable information allowing you to comprehend and communicate your interior design needs effectively.

Contemporary is a style of the present time period encompassing a range of styles from the late 20th century, with several key differences from modern design. Fundamentally, a contemporary style of decorating is defined by simplicity, subtle sophistication, deliberate use of texture, and clean lines. Interiors tend to showcase space rather than things.

Layered involves adding interest through levels of various elements. 

A less-is-much-much more ethos that rose to design prominence in the ’90s, hallmarked by clean lines, a concise color palette, striking silhouettes, and a highly edited aesthetic.

Clean symbolizes a minimalistic style without clutter or frills. 

Focal Point
Focal points are areas of interest, emphasis, or difference within a composition that captures and holds the viewer’s attention. These are normally the first thing you notice when you walk into a room. They can be a fireplace, an interesting wallpaper, details of an exposed ceiling, a statement piece, and so on.

Contrast is a style that utilizes a mixture of colors, textures, and tonnes. It refers to the arrangement of opposite elements (light vs. dark colors, rough vs. smooth textures, large vs. small shapes, etc.) in a space so as to create visual interest, excitement, and drama.

While not necessarily old, retro is something that references style from the past. It is imitative or consciously derivative of lifestyles, trends, or art forms from the historical past, including in music, modes, fashions, or attitudes. It may also be known as “vintage-inspired.”

Mid-Century Modern
A decorative style from the 1940s that is characterized by clean lines, movement of architecture, furniture, graphics, and other elements. The style was rooted in the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 19th century and innovations in the post-World War I period.

It focuses on minimalism, neutral colors, clean lines, reminiscent of the 1950s era. Not the same as Mid-Century Modern, but relies on many of the same characteristics of monochromatic tones and industrial materials.

A color scheme built around one color with or values of one tone. It uses only variations (shades) of a single hue, made by altering the saturation and brightness of the base color. Since there is only a single hue used, there is no clash of colors at all.

Farmhouse or Modern Farmhouse
The rustic style gets a more refined bent. Airy interiors contrasted with original details like rustic support beams, steel windows, and practical, open-space designs.

A comprehensive term that categorizes spaces by mixing various design styles, periods, trends, textures, trends, and colors.

Bohemian is a decorative style that uses mismatched furniture and assorted patterns. A little more relaxed than its eclectic brethren, bohemian style is relaxed in its furniture and accessories selection with a focus on comfort over formality.

A light and bright aesthetic closely associated with beachfront locales that delicately balances geographically appropriate and nautical accents with a relaxed, more sophisticated style.

A modernization of English country style, influenced by current trends and classic Southern style and characterized by mixing formal furniture with casual accents and a blending of periods and finishes.

If you’re looking for a home décor & furniture store in Sacramento, CA, reach out to Urban 57 Home Décor & Interior Design. Our mission is to improve the lives of our customers by providing beautiful and comfortable furnishings for their home or workplace. We provide full-service interior design services, a full line of furnishings, flooring options, and window treatments to clients across Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Granite Bay, Roseville, Elk Grove, Rancho Murieta, Davis, Carmichael, and Rocklin. 

To learn more about our services, visit our website by clicking here. If you have any questions about interior design or want to book an appointment with us, please get in touch with us here.