Interior Design Terms - M
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|Furniture & Interior Design Glossary Terms - M|
Manchette: A small upholstered patch or cushion used on an armrest.
Mantel: The shelf above a fireplace. The term is also commonly used to refer to the decorative trim around a fireplace opening. Findfireplace mantels and accessories.
Mantel Clock: A relatively small clock traditionally placed on a fireplace mantel or shelf. These clocks were originally developed in France in the mid 18th Century. Find amantel clock.
Marbleizing (or Marbling): Decorative painting/finishing of a surface which is marble like in appearance.
Marlborough Legs: Heavy strait legs used in Chippendale designs and others.
Marquetry: Decorative patterns made of inlays, usually applied to veneered surfaces.
Married: A term referring to an item of furniture that has been made up from two or more associated pieces, usually from the same period/style. Also, a term for upholstered furniture that's normally manufactured in a particular fabric or leather (opposed to a custom or special order covering).
Marshall Unit: Coil springs inserted in separate pockets and joined together to form cushions.
Mat Board: A thick paperboard used to add dimension to framed artwork; available in a wide variety of colors and textures.
Matchboarding: Form of cladding where long wooden boards are held together with tongue-and-groove joints.
Matelassé: A double-woven fabric with puckered surface effects.
Matte Finish: A finish that's more flat than shiny.
Mattress: A piece of bedding to sleep on that conventionally consists of multiple layers of foams and fibers with a metal innerspring unit to provide support. Mattresses are usually used along with a box-spring or foundation unit to support the mattress and reduce wear. Many of today's better quality mattresses no longer use innerspring units and are made entirely of latex or other types of foam products. Findmattresses.
Mattress Pad: A protective pad used to cover a mattress to protect it from soiling. Find amattress pad.
MDF: Medium density fiberboard; made from compressed particles of wood and used in the construction of furniture.
Medallion: A decorative plaque made of wood or metal.
Mediterranean: This style originated in counties of the North Mediterranean Sea, such as Spain, Greece and Italy. Mediterranean has been popular since the 1500's and is often referred to today as Spanish Modern. Mediterranean furniture ranges from simply functional to extremely formal. The style is characterized by being built short and squat with ornately turned legs and feet. The hardware used is usually heavy and often burnished. Primary woods used include pecan, chestnut, mahogany and walnut. Mediterranean can often mix with contemporary, country and provincial pieces.
Mélange: Handmade pillow lace of silk which shows a combination of conventional Chantilly lace with Spanish effects in the design.
Melon-Bulb: Term referring to the swollen member on legs or posts of furniture.
Memory Foam: Heat sensitive, polyurethane foam. Also referred to as viscoelastic or visco foam. Find amemory foam mattress.
Memphis: A modern style of design from about 1950 to 1970 that is still considered by many as a stylish fad. The Memphis style was created by a group of furniture and household accessory designers that were known for erratic, avant garde, and anti-establishment styles. Popular characteristics of the Memphis style include the use of bright colors, fantastic forms and intentional elements of bad taste.
Menuisier: Term corresponds roughly to an English carpenter or joiner. Term is pretty much obsolete except in France to refer to a carpenters tool that we refer to as a planer.
Merino: The highest, finest and best wool. This fiber is used only in the best of woolen and worsted fabrics, billiard cloth, etc.
Micro Fleece: Lofty micro fleece fibers offer warmth without the weight. The fabric is velvety soft, ultralight and breathable with unique thermal qualities. Commonly used for making throw blankets.
Microfiber: A fabric that's tightly woven from a very fine poly thread and has a suede like finish. Microfiber fabric is water repellent due to its construction process and when specially treated it can also be waterproof. Find microfiberliving room furniture.
Mirror Stand: An adjustable mirror mounted on a shaft and tripod base, resembles a pole-screen. Popular at the end of the 18th Century.
Mission (or Mission Style): This style grew out of the English Arts and Crafts movement and was a direct reaction against the ornate Victorian furniture styles of the time. Original Mission furniture was produced between about 1895 to 1910. Its styling is rooted in Southern California. Mission has absolutely no decoration and has a very sturdy simple construction. Desks, tables, and chairs are straight and legs are attached with stretchers. Chair backs have a slat design. Seats are usually made of cane or solid wood. Mission has a very utilitarian design and is almost always made of oak. Currently there is a resurgence of popularity in this design. Its simple basic look blends well with Shaker and Danish pieces.
Miter Joint (or Mitered Corner): A diagonal joint formed at the intersection of two pieces of wood. For example, the joint found at the side and head casing of a door opening is made at a 45-degree angle.
Modern (Moderne or Modernist): A clean streamlined furniture style of 20th Century with roots in the German Bauhaus School of design and Scandinavian design. Sometimes referred to as International Style.
Modillion: An enriched block, or horizontal bracket, used in series under a Corinthian or Composite cornice.
Modular: Furniture units that can be rearranged or stacked in different configurations.
Modular Seating: Seating units (usually upholstered), which are easily joined to or arranged with other units to form different seating arrangements. Find modular andsectional furniture.
Mohair: The long, lustrous and strong hair of the Angora goat which is spun into yarns for knitting and fabrics. Also called Angora.
Moiré: A fabric with a swirled pattern that resembles water patterns on silk.
Molding: Ornamental shaped strips that are applied to and project from a surface.
Monochrome: A single hue.
Morris Chair: An early twentieth Century Arts and Crafts style chair with an adjustable back, padded wooden arms and loose seat and back cushions. Named after its inventor William Morris.
Mortise & Tenon: A slot cut into a piece of wood to receive a tenon of another piece of wood to form a joint.
Mosaic Tiles: Colorful natural stone tiles, usually sold in squares.
Mother of Pearl: Inlay of nacreous shell slices, often used on early 19th Century American fancy chairs, tables, mirrors, etc.
Motif: A decorative theme, component or element.
Motion Furniture: Reclining sofas, loveseats and chairs with mechanisms that allow the user to extend their legs and, or, lean back. Findreclining furniture.
Mule Chest: A chest with drawers in the base, the forerunner of the chest-of-drawers. Findchests of drawers.
Mullion: The vertical wood between window frames.
Muntons (Muntins, Muttons or Mutons): Dividers over glass panels in windows and china cabinets.
Muslin: A plain-woven cotton, typically used as the under layer on a piece of upholstered furniture, over which the decorative upholstery material is mounted.
Note: Some furniture glossary terms may no longer be in common use and are posted for reasons of historical interest.
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