Design Terms You Need To Know

Sometimes as you dive into a design project, you’ll find yourself needing a design dictionary! Now first of all, we are always happy to have you call a time out for a definition on the spot. But as you’re out there poking around design blogs, Instagram, magazines, TV shows and more, you may find a few design terms to know for the future.

What follows are a few design terms you need to know as you dive into the design world. Some of these terms are super trendy right now, others might be a more polite British way of saying things. And others are new made-up words that will either eventually become dictionary official or be forgotten about as the hashtags fade.

 Aging In Place

Aging in place means making your home safe and accessible so that you can live there as long as possible. Grab bars; wide passageways;  showers that can accommodate wheelchairs or walkers; cabinet hardware and faucet handles that are easy to use; good bright lighting and many other considerations will go into an aging in place remodel. We can help you make your home more comfortable and accessible for you.

Check out this bathroom renovated for aging in place

Design Terms You Need To Know Biophilia

Biophilia/Biophilic Design

Biophilic Design means designing in a way that brings a feeling of the outdoors in and makes us feel more connected to nature. It’s a big part of the current wellness in interior design trend. Using natural materials and colors from nature, adding plants, opening up views to the outdoors are just a few ways to infuse your home with biophilic design.

Design Terms You Need To Know blind corner insert

Blind Corner Insert

See also: Super Susan, named after the Lazy Susan. This latest innovation in cabinet racks allows you to make the most of the space in a corner cabinet. Think: Do you have any idea what you’ve thrown in the way-way back in there? It’s a jumble! These racks allow you to not only maximize the storage, but also to access whatever is in the way-way back with ease.


Curbless Shower

This is just as is sounds. There is no threshold between the bathroom floor and the shower floor. This is a good element when you want to age in place in your home, because it gets rid of the tripping hazard of a threshold or curb. It also allows access when using a walker or wheelchair.

Berkeley Lake, GA bathroom remodel

Curbless showers require the floor to slope slightly toward a drain, which is usually linear like this one. So be aware that not all showers can become curbless showers because they require the shower floor to slope toward the drain. This is not always possible due to the way some floor structures may already be set up, or a lack of space for a shower stall.

Design Terms You Need To Know hygge


Hygge started trending worldwide about 10 years ago, and it’s all about bringing warmth and comfort to design.

Design Terms You Need To Know japandi


As the name implies, the style combines Japanese and Scandinavian (Scandi) sensibilities. On the Japanese side, Japandi mixes in well-curated minimalism and wabi-sabi, which is a sense of simplicity, contentment and balance. On the Scandinavian side, there’s also minimalism and  another design philosophy, hygge.

Quiet room

While open floor plans are great, noise, especially from the TV, can carry. So many of our clients are opting for a quiet room. This can mean a cozy den that you can close off for reading or hiding out for a quiet moment. Or it can mean keeping the TV in this room so that the rest of the rooms are not affected by the noise. This is a good strategy to employ when living with an open floor plan.

Water Closet

This is a nice way of saying toilet room. It’s a private separate space for the loo. So that one person can have privacy in there while another can be using the vanity, tub or shower.

Wet room

Technically, a wet room is a bathroom that’s completely open — no shower surround. Think of a bathroom on a train, where the whole thing is waterproofed. But those are more common in other countries. Here in the states where generally speaking, we have larger bathrooms, “wet room” has taken on a new meaning.

Some of our clients are opting for partial wet rooms, where the tub and shower are contained within the same space behind a surround. This is a great way to get both a roomy shower stall and a soaking tub in a bathroom that might not otherwise have room for both. In this bathroom, the shower controls are out of frame to the right, and the tub sits under the window. The wet room portion of this bathroom has a beautiful teak floor. And you can learn more about it in another blog post.


This is Ruvati’s Roma Undermount 45-in x 19-in Brushed Stainless Steel Single Bowl Stainless Steel Workstation Kitchen Sink, available at Lowes

Workstation Sink

These hardworking sinks have transformed kitchens big and small, providing a convenient spot for all of your prepping tasks. They come with inserts such as cutting boards, colanders, drying racks, veggie bins and more. You can use these inserts not only while prepping, but also while serving. You can cover the sink with a cutting board or rack to lay out food or drinks in a kitchen where counter space is limited.

Zellige tile

Zellige tile has taken the design world by storm in the past few years. This tile is a handmade Moroccan tile, kiln-fired over olive branches. Well, we can’t say that every tile described as zellige these days has that exact provenance these days. But the characteristics are a subtle mix of tones with a beautiful handmade glaze. We’re finding that square zellige tiles are starting to take over some of the space white subway tile has ruled for so long.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about these 10 design terms you need to know. But also, please trust that we have a fantastic team that is happy to answer any design and renovation questions you have!  No matter how thorough your design vocabulary, when you’re ready to get some help with your renovation plans, schedule a free consultation to let us know more about your project. We’re looking forward to providing all the information you’ll need!

If you enjoyed this story, here are a few more links we think you might like:

Which Countertop Material Is Best for You? 

10 Things To Think About Before a Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Mixes Old and New

Check out more of our latest projects on Instagram and Houzz

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