What's Your Interior Design IQ
By Kathryn Marsh
Can you speak the language of interior designers? Do you consider yourself a design aficionado or budding designer? Here are a number of design questions for you to check yourself to see just how savvy you are when it comes to design.
1. What is a Chesterfield?
A. An 18th century chest
B. Type of sofa
C. A desk lamp
Answer: B. Chesterfield is a type of sofa where the back and arms are buttoned tufted. It is often upholstered in leather.
2. How high should your chandelier be above your dining table?
A. 48 inches
B. 36 inches
C. 24 inches
Answer: B. 36 inches is just where the light fixture is low enough to light the dining area without interfering with the sight line of those sitting at the table. To get the right height for hanging your chandelier, you should measure from the top of the table up 36 inches. This should be the lowest point of the light fixture.
3. The colors that are directly across from each other on a designer’s color wheel are called?
A. Triadic colors
B. Analogous colors
C. Complementary colors
Answer: C. Complementary color schemes consist of two colors that visually balance each other. For example red is the complement to green, blue is the complement of orange. They tend to be attention getting and high energy combinations.
4. The lower third of a wall covered in wood paneling is called what?
C. Chair rail
Answer: B. Wainscoting is a decorative wood paneling used as both a decorative accent or to cover up damage on walls.
5. What is the ideal distance between a seating group and a coffee table?
A. 16-18 inches
B. 8-10 inches
C. 20-24 inches
Answer: A. Anywhere between 16 to 18 inches is best as this allows for ease of movement between the furniture and allowing the seated person comfortable access to the coffee table without rising from their chair.
6. Passementerie is another name for?
A. Decorative plant
B. Decorative pillow
C. Decorative trim
Answer: C. Passementerier is a French word used to describe the array of ornamental trimmings that includes tassels, bullions, gimps and fringes used on drapery, decorative pillows and furniture.
7. The recessed space below your lower kitchen cabinets is called what?
A. Base rail
B. Toe kick
C. Cabinet base
Answer: B. The toe kick is usually three or four inches above your floor at the base of your lower cabinets. It allows you to stand comfortably in front of the cabinet without losing your balance.
8. What do you call lighting that illuminates the whole room?
A. Task lighting
B. Accent lighting
C. Ambient lighting
Answer: C. Ambient lighting is light that permeates the whole room. It is also referred to as general lighting so people can see where they are going and not tripping over furniture or walking into walls.
9. When designers use the term COM, what are they referring to?
A. An internet design site
B. Color on material
C. Customers own material or fabric
Answer: C. The term COM is used when material has been bought and paid for by the client and shipped to the manufacturer for production.
10. What is a lambrequin?
A. A window treatment
B. A tie back
C. A decorative rod
Answer: A. Lambrequin is a decorative window or door covering. It is usually constructed from wood and fabric covering a shaped form. It frames both the top and sides of the window.
11. What is Trompe l’oeil?
A. A style of bed skirt
B. A painting technique
C. A marble column
Answer: B. A French word that literally means “deceive the eye,” trompe l’oeil is a decorative painting technique that tricks the eye into believing that a two dimensional surface is actually three dimensional and not flat. This type of painting is also used to simulate marble with such detail that it appears to be real.
12. What is a memo?
A. A fabric sample
B. A note
C. A design style
Answer: A. A memo is a large fabric sample that designers request from their supplier. It is sometimes on loan to the designer and must be returned within a specific time frame, usually a thirty day period.
How did you do? If you didn’t do as well as you hoped don’t worry. What’s important is that you now have expanded your design vocabulary. Understanding some of the terminology used by designers can help you in communicating and understanding. So the next time you are talking about design with friends, you may want to use some of these terms and impress them with your savvy design knowledge.