Design Terms Glossary

Ambient Lighting

This is the main source of brightness in a room. Think of it as the general lighting you use when you flip the switch to walk into a room. It illuminates most areas and can be the main source of task lighting in smaller rooms such as a closet or entry way. This is the first step in a lighting plan but should never be the last.

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Case Goods

Generally considered to be furniture made of hard materials such as wood, metal, glass, or plastic that are used to store items. These types of furniture are are chests, tables, dressers, bookshelves, and cabinets.

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Change Order

A change order happens when we’ve already decided on the details of a specific item and later choose to alter it in some way. Maybe we chose a fabric for your window treatments in July, but in September the new line is released and you fall in love with a different pattern. If the window treatments are not yet in production then a change order would be submitted, specifying the new fabric choice. If the fabric has not yet been ordered then this isn’t really a big deal. However, if the fabric is on order then it likely cannot be returned and you would pay for both the original fabric as well as your new choice.



A way to work with an interior designer from anywhere, E-design occurs 100% online. Although it requires more work on your part, this service let’s you collaborate with a designer at a more affordable rate. This is for the client who is happy to order and install their items but would like professional advice and a fully designed space.



Furniture with a number of open shelves for displaying decorative objects. This type of piece could be used in any room and is quite common in a living or dining space.


Hard Furnishings

What you’d typically think of as large furnishings: Sofa, table, bed, etc.

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Installation Day

This is when your home design is complete! All custom work and remodeling has been finished, furniture and accessories are in place down to the last candle on your coffee table. Usually items are delivered and installed over time, but there is always a final styling where I ensure every detail has been considered.


A key element to my design philosophy, a layered space combines multiple textures, levels and/or colors to bring interest into a space.


Mood Lighting

The final yet critical step to a light plan, mood lighting adds drama and wow factor to a finished space. We use it to highlight a special piece of art, plants or window treatments. 



A way to describe a space with darker colors. Moody rooms typically have plenty of texture and depth.


Soft Furnishings

This term simply refers to the fabric related items in your home. Pillows, throws and window treatments are all considered soft furnishings.



In it’s most basic definition, sourcing means shopping. However, in the interior design world it means so much more. With custom, semi-custom and to the trade items, it’s a very detailed and complicated process. Most people enjoy the window shopping portion but start to get overwhelmed when determining all the specifications that will take a piece from generic to perfect for their home. Something as simple as a throw pillow involves choosing the fabric pattern (stripes, floral, solid, geometric, etc) , texture (velvet, cotton, linen, jaquard, etc.), size (20x20, 18x18, 22x22, etc.), trim (contrast piping, embellishment, welt etc.), fill material, and more. All of these details have to be in harmony with the rest of the furnishings and must take into account your lifestyle and preferences. This is all just for a pillow, imagine the details taken into account for large furnishings and lighting. After determining the details, the order must be triple checked to ensure the correct item is produced. After the order is placed, vendor communication is key to ensure timely production and delivery.


Task Lighting

A key element to performing critical tasks in your home, task lighting illuminates small spaces by eliminating shadows and providing enough brightness to eliminate eye strain. Under cabinet lighting, pendant lights over a bar or a reading lamp all fall under this category.


To the Trade

A lot of high end furniture and accessory makers sell to the trade only. This means that only licensed designers who are registered with that company can purchase their goods. Typically, the most unique items and highest quality custom work is sold to the trade only. By hiring most interior designers, you gain access to all of these items.



In the design industry, the word “vendor” means a supplier of an item. This could be a manufacturer or a seller. This includes fabrics, furniture, art, materials, paints, accessories. The relationship between a designer and vendor is mutually beneficial and a good one will have a lot of loyalty between the two parties, thus providing better service to my clients. Many vendors are “to the trade only”, which means they offer very competitive rates to vetted designers only, which translates to better value for my clients.