When you walk into a room with exceptional design, you’re probably at a loss for words. Good aesthetics seem to transcend language — after all, the appropriate response to statement wallpaper or the perfect velvet sofa is *gasp*.
But when you do get down to talking good interiors, you need to know the lingo, otherwise it can be hard to keep up. We’ve already broken down the basics for you — from elevated to contrived patina — and now we’ve rounded up a few examples of design slang from around the world to keep on your radar.
Broaden your vocab and decorating horizons below.
South Africa: ‘Partial Story’
If you know what a mezzanine is, then you’ve seen a partial story. “It’s an additional level in an area that does not cover more than a quarter of the space (give or take), creating a double-height effect,” says Janine Saal, an interior designer at Collaboration in Cape Town. “It’s a great addition to any home that wants to add more functionality to a large, cavernous space but maintain the natural light and openness, while cutting the costs of adding a second floor.
“Look around a Swedish home (particularly a rural dwelling) and you’re more than likely to come across a trasmatta, or rag rug,” writes Niki Brantmark, the author of Lagom (Not Too Little, Not Too Much): The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life. “This traditional rug is usually handmade on a loom from scraps of worn-out clothes and old rags. You can easily find a trasmatta in the shops, but why not give your old textiles a new lease of life and create your own?”
“The rule I follow when decorating is chiner, which means looking in many second hand shops to find the perfect pieces,” says French illustrator Alice Wietzel. “What’s important to me is to decorate in a sustainable and ecological way, and chiner — reusing and reinventing a purpose for elements of — is part of that process.”
Considering the Philippines gets incredibly hot and humid, houses tend to have large windows to let air in. “You don’t want to keep big windows open all night, so traditionally houses have other ways of letting in air, like these small screened slots below windows,” says Filipino interior designer and blogger Jennifer Cederstam. “Basically, if it’s not a window but it lets in air, it’s a vetanilla.”
United States: ‘Decorina‘
“We love the word decorina, which could be used like: ‘I see the decorina has been busy today.’ A decorator pet word, if you will,” says Miles Redd.
So, go on global decorinas and prosper!
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