12 Home Décor Terms You’ve Been Saying Wrong Your Whole Life

By: Olivia Benson of Olive + Co Design

Did you think you were in the clear all these years? Well, think again!

The chances are that you've come across some of these terms only to have a puzzled look on your face while playing the sound-it-out game.

But don't worry! Now you can wow all of your friends with your knowledge of how to honestly pronounce these terms (and possibly learn a few new ones!).

(1) Armoire


We are taking baby steps here so if you got this one right, go ahead and pat yourself on the back!

These beautiful wardrobes are typically ornate and are making a huge comeback right now.

Aside from its traditional use in bedrooms, most armoires include cubbies and drawers inside making them perfect for alternative storage in other areas of the home.

Here's a great example of good use of an armoire in a living room.



(2) Chaise Longue


If you mispronounced this one, you are not alone! It seems to be one of those phrases that everybody knows, but no one seems to say correctly.

Not to worry though because now you do!

You may have seen a slight variation of this in the past going by the name "Chaise Lounge," but honestly that's just the Americanized version.

If you want to be a real "connoisseur" of home decor you have to say it as the French do! ;)

This type of reclining chair includes a lengthened seat forming a leg rest; perfect for any regular napper or if you want to stretch out your legs.



(3) Chenille


I'm not going to lie; I learned how to pronounce this one correctly while writing this post.

Turns out now I know why my fabric workroom has been giving me odd looks when I specify this!

Chenille is a velvety tufted cord (and sometimes yarn) used on upholstered goods for its sheen and soft texture. It also comes in a wide range of thick and fine strands. 



Want to put it to good use? Here's a great example of its application on a sofa.



(4) Chinoiserie


Don't feel bad if you're having a hard time pronouncing this one: let's say its on this list for a reason!

In short, during the 18th century, the western world became so amazed at the architecture, furniture, and art in China that they started to mass produce their versions of furniture and decor using similar techniques and motifs.

Later, the name Chinoiserie was adopted to describe this imitation that swept the western world.

This style was seen on everything from vases to all kinds of different furniture pieces and is commonly used the term today.



(5) Étagère


It's no surprise that most of these hard to pronounce words are French!

Regardless, étagères are a type of stand that has a series of open shelves and is commonly used to display objects and books.

Unlike its cousin the bookcase, étagères are much more elegant and create the perfect backdrop for all of those little knick-knacks and goodies you want to show off!



(6) Façade


You have to admit; the proper pronunciation sounds better than "fake-aid" which is how most people say it.

Used to describe the front (or face) of a building, the Façade (or facade) is a term that is commonly tossed around by architects and interior designers as a way to allude to the exterior appearance of a building.

(7) Faux


If you're against the use of real leather and other animal products, you’re probably quite familiar with this term.

Anything that is made to imitate a particular product or look will have these fancy word thrown in front of it!

Luckily for us nowadays advanced technology has made it so that almost anything can be mimicked and reproduced at a lower price.



(8) Feng Shui


My husband got this one right off the bat but seeing that he grew up in Hong Kong I'm not necessarily surprised!

Feng Shui is the Chinese art or practice of creating harmonious surroundings by considering laws that govern spatial arrangement and orientation of the flow of energy (qi).

Think of Feng Shui as the Yin and Yang of interior design.

Depending on the outcome of the design, if you break the laws of Feng Shui, bad energy will follow.

A lot of the fundamentals stemming from Feng Shui as still being used today in the western world and honestly, when you look at them, it makes sense!


(9) Kilim

Wanting to expand your knowledge of different types of rugs? Well, now you can say this one the right way!

A kilim is a pileless, flat-woven rug traditionally made in various parts of the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Their intricate designs and tight weave make them extremely durable while easily adding character to a space! Take a look at the one below for example.



(10) Niche


This one may seem a little obvious but many people I know still pronounce it as "neesh."

This noun is used to describe a shallow recess in a wall, typically used to display a statue or other ornamentation.

Niches are great architectural features that provide a little space to accessorize or display your most treasured belongings.



(11) Toile de Jouy


Yes again with more French terms!

A Toile de Jouy is a French scenic pattern usually printed on cotton or silk in one color on a lighter background for contrast.

Sometimes referred to only as "toile," this pattern originated in France in the 18th century and means "cloth from Joy-en-Josas," a town in the south-west suburbs of Paris.



I know what your thinking, that is a lot of pinks! But it does an excellent job of showing Toile de Jouy.

(12) Trompe l'oeil


Have you ever looked at a mural on a wall or ceiling only to realize that it's flat?

That's the beauty of Trompe l'oeil!

This art technique uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the objects do indeed exist.

Which makes even more sense when you find out that the translation means "deceive the eye"!

Work like this takes a highly skilled hand and lots of attention to shadows and highlights.



Take a look at the crown detail on the ceiling and copper inlay.

All of that beautiful gold leaf pattern is trompe l'oeil and hand painted.

Pretty amazing right!

Have you been mispronouncing one of these words wrong your whole life? Do you wish french was more comfortable to read? I'd love to hear your thoughts!