Every profession has it’s own special language and Interior Design, Architecture and Construction are no different.

Each week I will give you definitions and examples and then continue through the entire alphabet.

Here are some definitions beginning with “B”.


A balustrade is the continuous part of a staircase with a railing on top.  Balusters are typically thought of as the traditional vase shaped upright but can actually be any upright member.



Beregere chairs differ from Fauteuil chairs  because they have closed arms.  Both style chairs are popular in traditional and transitional decor and even in more contemporary rooms when they are used as an accent and a break from the rest of the room.  Finishes can range from gold or silver leaf to very casual painted finishes or natural or lightly stained wood. Driftwood finishes are popular today for a casual look.



Beveled edges are a nice way to finish many surfaces.  They are used a lot in mirrors to give unframed mirrors and glass more definition.  Bevels are used in all sorts of wood working as well and have a clean, contemporary look.



A Biscuit joint is one of several types of joints used in woodworking.  It assures tight joints and makes a strong joint because of the glue used on both sides of the “biscuit”.



Bleeding sounds undesirable but in fact is quite effective in decorative fabrics when it’s used appropriately.  If you want the colors to be unstable and “bleed” from their original edges like in tie dye.  If fabric that bleeds is washed, the colors run into each other and also into whatever else is in the washer.  Individually hand washing these items is the only solution. If the dye was not properly set when the fabric was manufactured, you may have this problem.



Chests that have a bulging shape are called Bombe Chests (pronounced like Bombay, India).The curvalinear shape definitely comes from the French –  Louis XVth furniture era.  As you can see from the photos below, the term  is also used to describe bulbous shaped desserts.



Brocade fabrics are quite luxurious and formal. They are often made of silk or other shiny threads and can have gold or silver threads woven into them. They have a slightly raised design as though they were embroidered.  They were used liberally by Royalty in the past for both clothing and draperies.



Brocatelle fabrics is more textural than Brocade with a higher relief of the designs woven into them.  They are elegant and heavier weight and stiffer than brocades and more expensive.



Broken Pediments are found on many traditional homes and furniture.  They are designed to not meet in the middle of the triangle they form.  In the pictures below you can see several with the more common break at the top but also one with a break at the bottom.



Brush fringe is sometimes just called fringe because it is used so commonly.  The picture of the plain green and gold one is the most common and inespensive one but today you can find it in many beautiful colors, fibers and a mixture of many different elements.  Fringe with ribbons, crystals and feathers can be used in many different ways.



Butt joints are very simple joints that come together without any extra support being introduced.  This joint is not as strong as the biscuit joint mentioned above because it is much easier for the joint to crack and reopen even if it is glued.  There is an unfinished edge exposed (as in the illustration below) that needs to be covered or painted.

butt_joint-resized-600That’s all the “B” words for today ………more next week.