Thursday, June 13, 2013

Design 101: Design Terms Pronounciation Guide

There are some design terms that I've heard since I was a little girl...{I grew up with an Antiques Auctioneer as a father and "Chinoisserie" and "Trompe l'ouile" were things that were regular vocabulary words around our house). But every now and then a design term comes up that throws me for a loop and sometimes as I'm saying the name of something, I wonder if I'm pronouncing it correctly. So I've reviewed and rounded up a few for us all.
Ever wondered if you're pronouncing "Matalesse" correctly?
Have you murdered "Ikat"?

Armoire: NOT  "arm-wah" but "ahrm-wahr".
French Armoire

Aubusson: "Oh-be-ssonn"
Traditional design Aubusson Rug

Bergere: "Bear-zhjere"
Traditional style of a Bergere Chair

Chaise Lounge: "Shayze Lounge"
Deco Tufted Chaise Lounge

Chenille: "Shuh- neel"
Pinned Image
Diamond Chenille Pillow

Chinoisserie: "Sheen-waz-air-ee"
Chinoisserie Patterned Fabric

Chintz: "Chints"
Chintz slipcovered sofa

Damask: "dam-ask" {from Damascus}
Damask Wallpaper

Demilune:  "Demi-loon" {half-moon, half-round}
Demilune Varieties

Dupioni: "Doo-pee-oh-nee"
Dupioni Silk

Duvet: "Doo-VAY"
Floral Duvet Cover

Etagere: "e-taj-air"
 Faux Bois"foh-BWAH"
Faux Bois Area Rug

Grisaille: "griz-EYE" {rhymes with POPEYE}
Gresaille = Monochromatic landscape

Ikat: "ee-kot"
Ikat Pillows
Kilim: "Kil-leem"
Kilim Rugs and Pillows
Klismos: "kliz-moss"
Klismos chair
Luxe: "lucks"
"Luxe" is anything that is "elegantly sumputious", "LUXURIOUS"

Matalesse: "Mat-luh-say"

Niche: "Nitch" or "Neesh", either is acceptable
You may find that you  have a  knack for knowing what to put in your niche.
Patina: Pa-teen-a
Here is an example of a beautiful weathered patina on this metal door knocker

Pique: "Pee-KAY"
Cotton Pique Bedskirt
Striae: "stree-AY'
Striae Teal Wallpaper

Tartan: "tart-n" not "TAR-TAN"
Tartan Pillow
Toile:  "twall"
Toile fabric skirted sink
Tolix: "toll-ix"
Tolix Chair
Trompe l'ouile: "tromp-LU-ihl"
Trompe 'louile Tee-shirt (tricked you with painted on depth/objects)- tricked and faked with paint
Charles Peale Trompe 'louile "Staircase" painting, 1795
(um, there isn't really a dude in knickers and a staircase there, it's just a wall).
Tulle: "tool"
no matter your age, any gal loves a tulle skirt

Vitrine: "Veh-TREEN"
Vitrines are cabinets used to store or display 

Wainscoting: "Wains-COT" or "Wains-COATing", either is acceptable
Board and Batten, Beadboard, and many other types of wall treatments fall under
the "WAINSCOTING" woodwork category

And just to let you know I double checked all on Wiki and a fab design industry site: Plinth & Chintz

So have you ever been guilty of mis-pronouncing any of these words?
Are there any that I've left out that you'd like to add to the list?
Leave them in the comments :)



  1. Totally did not know how to pronounce some of these! Love that chaise! So want it! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

    1. yay!! so glad that you liked it and that it may have been helpful!! I had fun finding pictures and that tufted chaise has been a fav of mine for a while now!!

  2. This was such a good idea! One to add maybe is Valance. I hear a lot of "va-LANCE". I need some help with Tromp 'louile. I've been saying Tromp- loy. How do you say it right again? I don't get that pronunciation key. I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel like a goober saying things like -"I'll put this in a Vahz in the neesh of the foy-yah!" but it does make me feel more designer-y. LOL!

    1. YES!!! Valance!!! The "va-LANCE" pronunciation drives me NUTS! So, Tromp 'louile is a weird one. Most of the design terms have latin and french bases, so sound snooty when you say it and it will sound correct. It sort of goes like this "Tromp LOY"... but you sort of roll your tongue when you say "LOY". I just googled a pronunciation so you can listen to it!!'oeil

      SO glad you stopped in and left your comment- I always feel like I'm playing grown up when I pronounce these words- at least I feel more confident saying them now :) Stop back in soon!!!

  3. Love this post! I was wondering about a few of those myself, and now I know! Thanks!

    1. Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for coming over and for your sweet comment! Love your blog and so glad to get to know you! XXXOOO!

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