Furniture 102–Other Key Terms

In my previous blog: “Furniture 101,” I told you about the crash course in furniture terms I took following a nightmare trip to the furniture store in pursuit of the perfect dresser. What I left out of that blog was the importance of knowing some other key terms that will further assist you in making the wisest purchase possible.

So without further adieu here are a few more furniture-related terms that may come in handy during your next trip to the furniture store:


Batik –Any hand-printed material, which gets its color as a result of dipping the fabric into dye.

Brocade—Has an embossed appearance and is made of heavy silk with an elaborate pattern in silver or gold threads. My brother would say that it is material you would find covering your grandmother’s furniture (you know, safely covered by plastic).

Chenille—Derived from the French word for “caterpillar,” which is a good way to describe chenille yarn: plush and fuzzy.

Chintz—It was once defined as any printed, cotton fabric, but now it refers to fabric with a glazed or “polished” surface.

Damask—Gets its name from the ancient city of Damascus where elaborate floral designs were woven in silk. Damask is flatter than brocade and is reversible.

Moiré–A fabric, particularly silk, with a watered or wavy pattern.

Ticking—You’ll hear this term used a lot if you are shopping for a new mattress. Ticking is a strong cotton fabric used to cover mattresses.


Bow front—Term used to describe a cabinet front that curves outward to appear convex.

Camelback–A curved sofa back characterized by a large central hump.

KD–“Knocked down.” Term applied to furniture sold unassembled or only partially assembled.

Motion upholstery–An upholstered piece with reclining or inclining seating features.

RTA–“Ready-to-assemble.” Rather straightforward term, which is applied to furniture, sold unassembled or only partially assembled.

This entry was posted in Furniture and tagged , , , by Michele Cheplic. Bookmark the permalink.
Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.