18 Furniture Phrases You Should Know Before Your Next Refurnish

If you’ve even flipped through a furniture catalog or browsed furniture online, you’ll know: the names of furniture pieces can seem like an entirely different language. And when you’re refurnishing your house, it’s a language you need to speak; unfortunately, there’s no fun app to teach you!

Whether you’re planning a home redesign for the future or are in the middle of the shopping process and wondering things like, “What is a sideboard cabinet?” this guide can help you.


Types of Sofas

1. Chaise lounge

You’ve heard this word before but may wonder, “What is a chaise on a sofa?” A chaise lounge — also simply called a chaise — is a long, low sofa with short legs. They typically have either no back or a back that doesn’t extend the sofa’s length. These chairs are made for one person to lie back and kick up their feet.

That’s not all a chaise can do, though! “Chaise” can also describe a portion of a more standard sofa. The chaise is the long, extended side of an L-shaped sofa where the occupant can sit or lie down. Whether it’s the chaise on a sofa or a standalone chaise lounge, these timeless pieces of furniture make the perfect napping or reading spot for your home!

2. Lawson Sofa

In most instances, pieces of furniture are named after their original designer. In the case of the Lawson sofa, though, it’s named after Thomas Lawson, who the sofa was designed for. The Lawson has become such a popular style that, at first glance, you may think it’s just a regular sofa. Lawsons tend to be boxy, with three plush, square back cushions as tall as the three square bottom cushions are long. The back cushions are typically attached to the sofa, and it has simple arms that are not overstuffed or pillowy.

3. Sectional sofa

When you imagine a sectional, what do you picture? Years ago, sectional sofas meant enormous, overstuffed, and room-consuming pieces with cupholders and built-in recliners. While those do still exist, sectional sofas have become much more refined.

“Sectional” now often means “modular.” In other words, you can rearrange them to fit your room and needs. Optional chaises, the ability to change where the “L” bend of the sofa is to accommodate an unusual room shape, hidden storage, and more define this new classic. Additionally, oversized cushions have been replaced with clean, modern lines that make these sofas much less intrusive than in previous decades.

4. Loveseat

Just the name “loveseat” makes you want to snuggle up with someone special, doesn’t it? Well, that’s on purpose: A loveseat is usually a small sofa for two occupants willing to get cozy or one wanting to spread out. Not all two-seater sofas are loveseats, though. Loveseats tend to be on the smaller side and may look like oversized chairs to the naked eye. Loveseats may have two defined cushions or one large cushion.


Types of Tables

5. Coffee table

Coffee tables are found in almost every living room, though their variety is endless. They’re a style of low table that is easy to reach from a nearby sofa or chair, and typically are round or oval.

Some people use coffee tables practically to house TV remotes, beverages, magazines, and books being read. Others may use them more decoratively, with flower arrangements, books chosen for their aesthetic qualities, decorative sculptures, and more. You can also use your table for a combination of style and function!

6. Cocktail table

What’s the difference between a cocktail table and a coffee table? Well, besides time of day that you might be using it, not much! Cocktail tables became popular in the 1920’s, and much like their caffeinated counterparts, are long, low tables that go in front of your sofa or lounge chairs. The main difference between the two is that while a coffee table is typically round or oval shaped, a cocktail table tends to be square or rectangular.

7. Dining room table

Much like coffee tables, the variety of dining room table sizes, shapes, and styles can be daunting. A dining table is typically a simple rectangular table approximately 28-30 inches tall. Most commonly, a dining room table has six chairs: two on each long side and one on each short end (also known as the “heads” of the table, seats traditionally occupied by the heads of household). However, dining room tables can be of other shapes and sizes, some even with “leaves” or sections you can add and remove to change the seating capacity. Most often, dining tables are made of some type of wood.

8. Bar table

The most significant difference between a bar table and a standard dining table is that a bar table is much higher: around 42 inches tall. Bar tables require specific chairs designed to accommodate the added height. Bar tables can be used as accent pieces or additional seating, often found in large kitchens with separated dining rooms. Bar tables can also be used instead of a dining table and work well for singles and small families with limited space, as they often only have two seats.

9. Cafe table

Cafe tables are similar to bar tables in that they are usually more limited in seating than a standard dining room table – often just two seats at a round table. Unlike bar seating, though, cafe tables are the height of a standard dining table. Cafe tables can be made in various materials and shapes, including folding plastic and metal variations for multi-use spaces.


Types of Living Room Chairs

10. Slipper chair

Slipper chairs rose in popularity during the Victorian era and have stuck around ever since. These iconic chairs are defined by their low legs, lack of arms, and wide, rectangular cushions. They have a sleek look that complements a range of styles, with the added benefit of taking up less space than other styles. While they were historically found in women’s bedrooms and dressing rooms, modern slipper chairs are great accent pieces for any room.

11. Armchair

While slipper chairs are defined by their lack of arms, it’s easy to guess what makes an armchair different. That’s right: they have armrests! “Armchair” is a broad phrase for any kind of comfortable, upholstered seat with a back and arms. Armchairs come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and fabrics, so it’s easy to find one to fit your home’s decor.

12. Recliner

A recliner is another furniture name that broadly refers to many different types of chairs, all of which recline back for comfort and often feature a built-in footrest. A recliner can be a standalone chair or a portion of a sofa. Some recliners are oversized leather pieces with lever-actuated footrests that pop out from underneath. Other recliners glide on tracks and recline when the user pushes against the back. And, of course, electric recliners now adjust with the push of a button or remote.


Types of Storage

13. Sideboard cabinet

Sideboards are a style of freestanding cabinet often found in mid-century styles. Sideboards have short, stubby legs and feature drawers and cabinets for storage. Some styles also have a hutch-like area traditionally for displaying items like crystal, but they can be used for whatever you like. While sideboards tend to be pretty large, they can be helpful in any room for storing miscellany in style.

14. Credenza

The difference between a credenza and a sideboard is subtle but essential: the legs. Credenzas often have no legs at all, or they are much shorter and rarely visible. Additionally, credenzas traditionally have sliding doors instead of drawers. A credenza is also a flexible piece of furniture for almost any room of the house, and widespread modern use is as a TV stand.

15. Buffet

Once again, the defining characteristic of a buffet is the legs. Buffets usually have the longest legs of the three. Buffets are most commonly used for serving food and storage, and as such, they are often found in dining rooms. Buffets can come in various materials and colors to fit your style.


Types of Bedroom Furniture

16. Chest of drawers

You’d be forgiven if you thought that a chest of drawers was the same thing as a dresser. But technically, it’s not! A chest of drawers is a tall, narrower set of drawers typically found in a bedroom. A chest of drawers is a single column of parallel drawers and doesn’t feature a mirror on top. And unlike a dresser, a chest of drawers is taller than it is wide. Sometimes a bedroom set will include both a dresser and a chest of drawers for various pieces of clothing.

17. Sleigh bed

Sleigh beds are a beautiful, historic style of bed frame that will spruce up any bedroom. Both the headboard and footboard of sleigh beds feature out turned scroll designs, and often the entire piece curves outwards. This shape gives the bed frame a sleigh-like appearance, hence the name. They’re often made of ornate wood and can even have decorative carvings on them. While sleigh beds may be timeless, they certainly make a statement!

18. Four-poster bed

A four-poster is a type of bed frame identifiable by its four vertical posts that rise up from the corners of the bed. On some four-posters, the posts are also connected by horizontal poles, forming a rectangle above the bed. However, this is not always the case. At first glance, this might look like a canopy bed. Don’t be fooled, though! Four-posters are distinct from canopy beds in that they don’t have a canopy covering the top, simply bare posts.


CORT Outlet Speaks the Language of Furniture!

Learning the lingo of furniture may feel like learning a second language – and in a way, it is! Researching ways to redecorate your home can be confusing.

Whether it’s time for a chaise, sideboard, credenza, or just a regular sofa, CORT Furniture Outlet has the pieces you need. Visit your local CORT Outlet in-store or online for up to 70% off retail prices on gently used furniture. Plus, all CORT Outlet pieces are CORT certified, meaning they’ve been cleaned and inspected by our experts. Shop with confidence at your local CORT Outlet or online today.