Interior Design Terms - P
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|Furniture & Interior Design Glossary Terms - P|
Pad Foot (or Club Foot): A simple foot treatment at the end of a cabriole or Queen Anne leg commonly found on living room and dining room tables of these styles.
Pad Seat: Upholstered furniture built without springs.
Padding: Soft materials such as foam that's used between the frame and covering material of an upholstered piece of furniture to create comfort and shape.
Palladian Style: Furniture styling based on designs from the mid 1500's Italian architect Andrea Palladio. This furniture and decor style features very large and spectacular cornices, pediments and sculptural decorations of scallop shells, eagles, acanthus leaves and other motifs. Windows and columns in this style of decor still carry the Palladian name today.
Palladian Window: A large window divided into three parts consisting of an arched center section and two smaller side sections.
Palmette: Term refers to a carved or painted ornament resembling a palm leaf.
Panel: Normally a thin flat piece of wood or similar material, framed by rails and stiles as in a door, or fitted into grooves of a thicker material with molded edges for a decorative wall treatment.
Papier (or Paper Mache): Material that's made from paper pulp and molded into various products, which is suitable to be painted and varnished when dry.
Parquet: Wood flooring that's usually laid in blocks with boards at angles to each other to form decorative patterns.
Parquetry: Furniture that's inlaid with geometrical designs similar to parquet floors.
Parsons Leg: A relatively long fully upholstered leg, such as those found on a parsons dining room chair.
Parsons Table: A simple squared table with legs and apron of equal widths. The name is derived from the Parsons School of Design where the table was developed during the 1950's. Finddining tables.
Passementerie: Fancy decorative trimmings such as tassels, tiebacks and ribbon.
Pastel: A light, soft color.
Paterna: A dish link ornamentation often worked in bas-relief on a frieze.
Patina: A luster or sheen that develops with use over time, usually associated with fine antiques, vintage furniture and leather furniture.
Patio Furniture: Furniture that is specifically made and finished for outdoor use. Findpatio furniture.
Pattern: The decorative or ornamental design of a fabric, veneers, etc.
Pattern Repeat: The interval between the repetition of the same pattern.
Pedestal: The supporting base for a table, vase, sculpture, etc.
Pedestal Desk: A flat desk, usually with a leather top, that stands on two banks of drawers. Findhome office furniture.
Pedestal Table: A table that's supported by a single center base or column. Finddining room tables.
Pediment: An ornamental crest running across the top of tall piece such as a highboy chest, curio cabinet, grandfather clock, etc.
Pegged Furniture: Early joined furniture constructed by a system of slots and tenons, held together by dowels.
Pelmet: A wooden or fabric edging used to conceal the top edge of a curtain or blind.
Pembroke Table: A drop leaf table with leaves that almost drop to the floor. Named for Lady Pembroke.
Pencil Pleat: A tightly gathered drapery heading. Findwindow treatments and curtains.
Pencil-Post Bed: A bed with four slender posts generally rising from six to eight feet in height. The design is normally very simple with straight lines. These beds can be used alone or with a canopy. Findbedroom furniture.
Pendant: A hanging ornament, usually in a matched or parallel series.
Pennsylvania Dutch: Furniture style produced through the late 1600's to mid 1800's by German families settled around New York and Pennsylvania. They were commonly miscalled Dutch for "Deutsch". The styling is simple with a sense of rustic utilitarianism and is normally squared with minimal rounding or turning. Decorations predominately include paintings of flowers, fruit, animals, human motifs and German script. Most popular woods were walnut, maple, fruitwoods and pine.
Percale: A finely woven cotton fabric that's usually used for bedding.
Persian Rug: A hand-tied Oriental rug made in Iran. Examples: Kirman, Kashan, Shiraz, Tabriz.
Pickling (or Pickled Finish): A term for a piece of wood that's been limed. Also a method of painting furniture and then wiping off the paint before it has completely dried leaving some on the edges.
Picture Rail: A molding that runs along the top of the wall a short distance from the ceiling, from which pictures are hung with hooks.
Pie Crust Table: A round occasional table on a three-legged pedestal base that features an ornamented edging resembling a crimped piecrust. Findliving room furniture.
Pier Glass: A large window height mirror suspended above a table between two windows.
Pier Group: Normally two tall, narrow chests (pier cabinets) which sit on either side of a bed that are joined by a headboard assembly often consisting of a mirror, or shelves and light bridge. Findbedroom furniture.
Piercing: A cutout or carved decorative detail seen in chair splats and other furniture originating from the 1700's.
Pigment: A substance that gives color to paint, stain, dye, etc. Pigments are derived from both natural and synthetic resources.
Pigmented Leather: A leather finished with a pigmented coating for consistency of color and texture. Pigments may be used to cover imperfections in the hide, as well as to add protection to leather used for furniture. Findleather furniture.
Pilaster: A flattened column-like detail applied to furniture such as bookcases, grandfather clocks, etc. to serve as a support for a cornice or pediment.
Pilling: A condition that can affect textiles such as fabric and carpet. Pilling occurs when fibers become entangled with one another, creating hard masses of fibers in the form of knotted tufts. Some materials can be more prone to pilling than others.
Pillow Top Mattress: A mattress with extra foam and padding on top of the mattress. Better quality pillow tops will have the pillow top on both sides of the mattress. There are also fake pillow tops that do not have extra foam or padding. Find apillow top mattress.
Pinch Pleats (or French Pleats): Where individual drapery pleats are equally divided into smaller pleats and sewn together at the bottom of the pinched pleats.
Pineapple: A carving detail commonly used on 19th Century furniture and home decor items (and today's reproductions) as a symbol of hospitality. Found frequently on 19 Century bed posts.
Pinnacle: A carved ornament at the top or crest of a piece of furniture.
Piping (or Welting): A cord wrapped in fabric, which is used to trim upholstery seams and places where the fabric meets with exposed wood.
Plaque: Term refers to a flat, thin ornament, usually made of metal or porcelain and inserted into wood.
Platform Base: Three, or four, cornered flat table bases supporting a central pedestal and standing on scrolled or paw feet.
Platform Bed: A bed whose base consists of a raised, flat horizontal surface meant to support a mattress. Findbedroom furniture.
Platform Foundation: Normally a mattress base made of wood with no metal wire. Foundations are usually covered with a layer of foam and fabric to look like a box spring. Find aplatform foundation.
Plinth: The base of a chest or other furniture that rests on the floor, opposed to sitting on legs.
Plush: Fabric in a velvet weave with a long pile.
Plywood: Layers of wood attached in a cross grain method to assist in preventing the contraction and swelling of wood surfaces from humidity changes in the air.
Pole Top: A channel running along the top of the curtain/drapery between the double sides of fabric that allows for a pole or rod to be inserted along the top for hanging.
Poly Dacron Wrap: A cushion construction method in which a soft resilient polyester material is wrapped around a polyurethane foam core. Poly Dacron wrapping is a feature commonly found in many of today's upholstered furniture designs.
Polyester: A synthetic polymer derived fiber that's often blended with other materials such as wool, cotton and rayon. Polyester is famous for its durability and wrinkle resistance.
Polyester Batting: A synthetic fiber wadded into rolls or sheets used for stuffing furniture and mattresses.
Polyurethane Foam: A synthetic material used for cushions in upholstered furniture such as sofas and chairs; better upholstered furniture uses high-density polyurethane foam.
Pop: Term meaning popular, used to describe design and artwork developed in the 1950's and 1960's that drew its inspiration from commercial art such as product packaging, comic strips, etc. (think Andy Warhol).
Poppy-Head: The decorative finial of a bench or desk end as in ecclesiastical woodwork.
Portieres: Hinged metal curtain poles from which a curtain is hung to eliminate drafts. Findcurtain rods and hardware.
Post-Modernism: A reaction against Modernism that began during the 1950's and promoted the reintroduction of bright colors and decorative components to furniture and home decor related designs.
Posturized: A word created and used by the bedding industry to describe additional support in the center of a mattress or foundation unit. Find aposturized mattress.
Poudresse: A small table with a mirrored lid covering space for cosmetics.
Press: A broad, tall, enclosed, and doored structure comparable to a wardrobe.
Pressboard: A strong, high density board used for case backs, dust proofing or as the underlying structural base for veneers or vinyl wrap. Also known as composition board or particle board. Pressboard is commonly used by even the best furniture manufacturer's today because of it's proven strength and stability.
Prie-Dieu Chair: A high-backed chair of Italian origin with a narrow shelf, rail or pad upon which the user may rest his arms while kneeling in the seat.
Primary Colors: Three colors; red, yellow and blue.
Printing: Producing patterns and designs of one or more colors on fabric. Methods include Application Printing, Block Printing, Blotch Printing, Direct Printing, etc.
Prints: A fabric with a pattern. The term is also applied to lithographed reproductions of original paintings, drawings, etc.
Provincial: Furniture from the hinterlands inspired by designs from the major centers of a country, which have been adapted to local tastes, materials and ways of living.
Pub Table: Term conventionally refers to a round table about 40" in height designed for small spaces and intimate dining. It is common for people to also refer to pub tables as bistro tables. Find apub table.
Pull-Up Chair: Term refers to a small and light weight arm chair. Sometimes called an "occasional chair".
Pull-Up Leather: A full grain, aniline dyed leather that is oiled or waxed. When pulled, the oils or waxes cause the coloring to migrate and become lighter in the pulled areas. A look commonly associated with better quality leather furniture. Findleather furniture.
Pure Aniline Leather: A top-grain leather that's aniline dyed and receives no additional coloring. Also called full aniline. Findleather furniture.
Note: Some furniture glossary terms may no longer be in common use and are posted for reasons of historical interest.
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