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Furniture Glossary

Acanthus
a leaf motif found on Classical furniture.

Adirondack Chair
A wooden, outdoor chair with wide arms and low seat; the back and arms are set at a slant.

Alligator Lacquer
A lacquer that cracks as it dries for a patina effect.

Anthemion
A carved palm leaf detail found on Classical furniture.

Apron
The panel that hangs from the top of a table.

Arbor
A shaded sitting place in a garden.

Bachelor's Chest
A short chest of drawers.

Ball and Claw Foot
The termination of a chair or table leg that appears to be a bird or dragon claw holding a ball or orb.

Barley Twist
The spiral carving on a leg or post that resembles a screw thread.

Beading
A carved, round detail that appears to be a string of beads.

Bed Backed Bench
A bench meant to be placed against the footboard of a bed.

Bombe
A piece of furniture with convex sides.

Bonnet Top
A rounded cornice found on cabinets and chests.

Boss
A carved oval ornament on Classical furniture.

Bow Front
A piece of furniture with a curved front.

Branching Scroll
A rinceau motif with leaves.

Breakfront
A cabinet with three sections, the middle of which juts forward.

Broken Pediment
A decorated crest along the top of a chest or wardrobe that features an opening or pierced carving.

Buffet
A cabinet for storing silverware and other dinnerware with no upper cabinet or cupboard.

Bun Foot
The flattened, round termination of a chair or table leg.

Cabriole Leg
A chair or table leg that features an 'S' curve.

Capital
The top end of a pilaster.

Case Goods
Furniture that is not upholstered and has a functional aspect, like a cabinet or table.

Chaise
An upholstered armchair designed with a lengthened back and seat for reclining.

Checkerboard Match
A veneer arranged so the grain gives a checkerboard effect.

Cherry Wood
The wood of the cherry tree; a hardwood with red and pink tones that can be polished.

Cheval Mirror
A vertical mirror resting between two posts.

China Fir
A type of softwood tree, the wood of which is strongly scented, much like cedar.

Chinoiserie
The details on Classical furniture that are influenced by Asian styles.

Classical
A style of furniture that features embellishments influenced by the romanticized visions of antiquity (especially the Greeks and Romans), with some details from Egyptian and even Asian styles.

Cocktail Table
A short table often set within an arrangement of chairs or in front of a sofa.

Collar
A carved ring on the leg of a piece of furniture.

Console Table
A side table meant to be placed against a wall or sofa.

Corbel
A wood projection just under the eave of a roof to support the extra weight.

Cornice
The decorative molding that runs along the top of a cabinet.

Curio
A glass-enclosed display cabinet.

Deck
The part of the frame just below the cushions on a chair or sofa.

Demi-lune
A half circle shaped table.

Dentil Carving
A carved rectangular or square blocks spaced at equal intervals to look like teeth.

Diamond Match
A veneer cut and arranged so the grain creates a diamond pattern.

Dresser
A chest of drawers.

Ebony
A type of hardwood tree, the wood of which is very black and polishes well.

End Table
A side table often used beside a chair or sofa.

Federal
An American Classical style of furniture that features graceful lines and tapered legs.

Finial
The top end of a post or pilaster, often detailed with stylized carving.

Fixture Mirror
A mirror secured to another piece of furniture like a chest or table.

Four Poster
A bed with a headboard and footboard posts tall enough to support a canopy.

Four Way Match
A checkerboard style veneer.

Gallery Rail
A railing that borders a table or counter.

Gilding
Gold colored accents.

Hall Tree
A piece of furniture placed near the entryway of a home; features hooks for hats and coats, a fixture mirror, and a bench.

Hoop Back
A chair with a back for which the top rail curves around to form the arms.

Hutch
A cupboard, often with open top shelves, and enclosed cabinets below.

Inlay
Setting a decorative material, like ivory or marble, into the surface of wooden furniture.

Intarsia
A decorative design sunk into a surface, as with mosaics.

Lacquer
A hard protective varnish, often pigmented.

Ladder Back
A chair back with horizontal slats to resemble a ladder.

Landscape Mirror
A mirror that is wider than it is tall.

Latticework
The open, criss-cross patterning of slats of wood often found in chairs and other wooden furniture.

Loveseat
A sofa that seats two people.

Malaysian Oak
A type of hardwood tree, the wood of which is a light color.

Motif
A theme or consistent pattern in a piece or set of furniture.

Nesting Tables
A set of occasional tables that can fit under one another.

Nightstand
A low chest of drawers set next to a bed. Nightstand

Occasional Table
Accent pieces like end or side tables.

Patina
Antiquing; aging furniture purposely.

Pedestal Table
A table supported by a single, center pillar.

Pie-Crust Carving
The carved details along the edge of a (often circular) piece of furniture that resemble a crimped pie crust.

Pier Glass
A mirror meant to be hung over a table (like a console table) at window height.

Piercing
A cutout detail in a chair.

Pilaster
Mock pillars found on furniture.

Plinth
The solid bottom (as opposed to feet)of case furniture.

Portrait Mirror
A mirror that is taller than it is wide.

Recamier
A one armed sofa with a sloping back that is nearly level with the seat at one end.

Relief
A carved detail that projects from the surface of the furniture.

Rinceau
A wave and spiral motif found on Classical furniture.

Rocaille
A shell and stone motif found on Classical furniture.

Rosette
A circular flower detail.

Sabre Leg
The leg of a chair or table that curves outwardly like a sabre.

Scalloped
Ornamentation resembling a scallop’s shell.

Scrolling
A carved detail that appears to scroll like a parchment.

Sheraton Style
An American Classical style of furniture that features delicate lines and Neoclassical motifs and ornamentation.

Side Table
A short table used as an accent piece.

Sofa Table
An occasional table that is meant to be set against the back of a sofa or couch; often as long as the sofa or couch with which it is paired.

Splat
A vertical slat of wood in the back of a chair.

Stretcher
A brace between the legs of a chair or table for extra support and stability.

Tapered Leg
A leg that becomes slimmer at the bottom.

Trellis
A structure that supports climbing plants.

Turning
The curved or spiral carving formed by shaping the leg or trim on a lathe.

Vanity
A dresser with a fixture mirror.

Veneer
A thin slice of wood used to finish a solid base or core.

Victorian
A Classical style of furniture that features influences of Gothic design with elaborate decoration and heavy proportions.

V-Match
A veneer cut and arranged so the grain forms a pattern resembling a series of V’s.

Walnut
A type of hardwood tree, the wood of which can be polished to a purplish-brown.

Wardrobe
A cabinet with drawers and, often, closet space.

vanity
A dresser with a fixture mirror.

wardrobe
A cabinet with drawers and, often, closet space.



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