Home Decorating Glossary

A Home Decorating Glossary is always useful to read through. It will help you decifer all those terms you read about in home decorating magazines and on web sites and television shows.

accent colors: is an emphasis on a particular color. e.g A pale neutral
room with bright blue cushions.

accessories: an extra part or object. e.g lamps, rugs, collectables,
candles, clocks, pots etc

antique: an object from the past that is collected for its value or beauty.

brocade: a thick material with a raised pattern, usually expensive.

chintz: a cotton fabric that is brightly patterned. Usually used for curtains or covering furniture.


color scheme: Are the colors you choose to decorate throughout your house.

Complimentary Colours:

  • Consists of 2 colours which sit opposite each other on the colour wheel.
  • If you use complimentary colours in equal amounts the room will be too bright, therefore add a touch of white, and use paler versions of the chosen colours. Adding a little bit of black will also work beautifully.
  • An example of a complimentary colour is pink and pale green also pale tints of blue and yellow work well together.
  • Decorating with colour contrasts by moving the colour wheel
    around eg: purple and lime compliment each other, purple and mid-green contrast against each other.
  • Complimentary and contrast colour schemes work well if you combine warm and cool colours.

damask: a type of fabric with a pattern woven through it.

decoupage: the process where by pictures are cut out of paper, stuck onto an object and then varnished over.

diy: do it yourself


gilt: is a thin layer of gold.

Harmonious Colour Schemes: Are colors that blend into one another on the colour wheel. This is perhaps the easiest way of decorating, but it can be a little one-dimensional. To get over this add splashes of colour from further away on the colour wheel in the form of accessories.


hue: is a colour or a shade of a color.

laquer: a resinous varnish used to create a highly polished surface on wood.

monochromatic Colour: Use variations of tone and intensity of a single colour.

  • Monochromatic colours go well together and often produce a soothing effect. Too much though can produce dull, bland rooms. Need to add a dash of colour.
  • Decorating with colour white will give monochrome colours a bit of 'zip', it helps break them a little and provides a nice contrast.


mosaic: small pieces of glass, ceramic, pottery placed into a pattern in concrete.

neutrals: Neutral colours are not shown on the colour wheel, they include: Black, white grey, brown, beige.

pastal colors: a soft pale colors.

primary colors: red, yellow,blue

secondary colours: Primary colours mixed together to produce 3 new colours: e.g. Yellow + Blue = green, blue + red = purple, red + yellow = orange.

shades: Colours with black added.

tertiary Colours: Are made when you mix one primary colour with one secondary colour. There are 6 tertiary colours: red/orange, yellow/orange, yellow/green, blue/green,blue/violet, red/violet.

tints: a small amount of a particular colour.

tones: Varying a colors intensity by adding white or black.

trompe loeil: is a visual trick done with painting. e.g A landscape picture is painted on a wall as a window feature....looks like a real window and real landscape scene.

Hope this Home Decorating Glossary was useful, if you would like to see any words and their meanings please email me on the Contact Me Page.

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