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Interior Design Lingo: 5 Words & Phrases to Know Now

Picture this: you have a brand new home. It’s a fixer upper with so much potential; but in order to keep costs down, you decide to take on a majority of the home improvements and design yourself. How hard can it be, right? You research materials, how-to’s, design styles. The only problem is that you’re spending more time deciphering interior design lingo than actually planning your project.

Fear not, friends, we are partnering with GoHaus today who will come in to save the day with some popular design styles, words, and phrases you’ll hear as you embark on this home improvement journey.


Interior Design Lingo: 5 Words & Phrases to Know Now

Scandinavian Interior Design – A popular interior design aesthetic as of late, Scandinavian (also referred to as Nordic) design is characterized by simplicity, functionality, and minimalism. When it comes to interior design, this style is best expressed with clean lines, black / white / gray color palette, and décor using natural materials. If color is incorporated, it’s often done with pastels (blues, greens, pinks, etc.). Scandinavian design also emphasizes inspiration from nature, which is why wood in natural finishes (flooring, furniture, and décor pieces) and natural light is prominent.

engineered hardwood floors

Reclaimed Interior Design – Now more than ever the common consumer is becoming more educated on living sustainably. They are searching for products and brands (such as flooring retailer that support the effort to reduce one’s environmental impact. Creating a reclaimed interior is one way to go about this. As My Domaine writes, “reclaimed materials are those which were previously used in another space and are being returned to their original use in a new space. For instance reclaimed wood floors are typically the same floor boards used in another home or building but have been removed and reinstalled in a new space.” It’s worth noting that reclaimed doesn’t necessarily mean vintage, which can sometimes be the misconception.

Interior Design Lingo 5 Words & Phrases to Know Now

Image Source: A Home Garden Party

Contemporary Interior Design – Unfortunately, this design style is used interchangeably with Modern. Contemporary design and Modern design are, in fact, quite different. Modern interior design is a style that was introduced in the early 20th century, with specific tenets associated with it. Contemporary design means exactly that – interior design style that is popular in the moment. It is fluid and changes. At this moment in time, Contemporary design places emphasis on line, form, open space, natural light and no clutter. It’s a polished look. Color palettes are based on neutral shades of white, black, tan, and beige. Décor is minimal, but when used each piece is impactful.

vinyl plank flooring

Advancing & Receding Colors – These two terms are helpful to know especially if you are dealing with space parameters. Advancing colors are colors (often red, violet, orange, and yellow) that advance into a room and make it feel more intimate. Be careful, though, too many advancing colors in one room can be overwhelming. Receding colors are cool, pale colors (blues, greens). These colors help make spaces feel larger than they are, which can come in handy if you have a small room.

Interior Design Lingo 5 Words & Phrases to Know Now2

Image Source: Amanda Celeste

Flow – Before you get too far in the details of your project, you’ll want to consider and plan for flow. This means paying attention to how a room will be used – and planning for it – as well as how the design of one room flows into another.

Interior Design Lingo 5 Words & Phrases to Know Now3

These five terms should get you started on the right foot for your project. And there are plenty more to consider! Just remember: as you go through this process, don’t feel overwhelmed, take the planning one step at a time, and enjoy yourself!