Master kitchen and bathroom design terms with this authoritative guide. 80 essential terms, categorized for easy reference. Your key to stylish spaces.
As an experienced professional in the interior décor industry, understanding the vast array of kitchen and bathroom design terms is paramount to crafting functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces. From cabinetry and countertops to fixtures and lighting, these terms encompass every aspect of the design process.
We will delve into key industry-specific terminologies, meticulously categorized for easy reference. With an authoritative tone and clear, concise explanations, this comprehensive guide aims to empower you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions, creating kitchens and bathrooms that reflect your vision and style.
Cabinetry and Storage
- Base Cabinets [beys kab-uh-nits]: Lower cabinets that rest on the floor, providing storage for kitchen and bathroom essentials.
- Wall Cabinets [wawl kab-uh-nits]: Cabinets mounted on walls for storing items like dishes, glasses, and toiletries.
- Pantry [pan-tree]: A dedicated storage space in the kitchen for food items and kitchen supplies.
- Vanity [van-i-tee]: A bathroom cabinet that houses the sink and provides storage for personal items.
- Lazy Susan [ley-zee soo-zuhn]: A rotating shelf unit often placed in kitchen corner cabinets to maximize storage accessibility.
Countertops and Surfaces
- Quartz [kworts]: A durable and low-maintenance engineered stone material used for kitchen and bathroom countertops.
- Granite [gran-it]: A natural stone admired for its beauty and commonly used for countertops and backsplashes.
- Solid Surface [sol-id sur-fis]: Non-porous, versatile material used for seamless countertops and sinks in kitchen and bathroom design.
- Butcher Block [booch-er blok]: A wooden surface, typically used for cutting and food preparation in the kitchen.
- Laminate [lam-uh-neyt]: A cost-effective surfacing material available in various designs for countertops and cabinets.
Fixtures and Fittings
- Faucet [faw-sit]: A device that controls the flow of water from the plumbing system, used for sinks and bathtubs.
- Showerhead [shou-er-hed]: The component of a shower that disperses water, available in different types for varying water flow.
- Backsplash [bak-splash]: A protective and decorative wall covering behind sinks and countertops, often made of tile.
- Handles and Knobs [han-dlz and nahbz]: Small fixtures attached to cabinet doors and drawers, facilitating easy opening and closing.
- Towel Bar [tou-uhl bahr]: A horizontal bar, usually in bathrooms, used to hang towels for drying and display.
- Range [reynj]: An appliance combining a cooktop and oven, essential for cooking in the kitchen.
- Refrigerator [ri-frij-uh-rey-ter]: A cooling appliance used to store food and beverages, available in various sizes and styles.
- Dishwasher [dish-wosh-er]: An appliance used for cleaning dishes and utensils, saving time and water in kitchen cleanup.
- Microwave [my-kroh-weyv]: A quick and efficient appliance for heating and cooking food using electromagnetic radiation.
- Garbage Disposal [gar-bij di-spo-zuhl]: An electrically powered device installed under the sink to grind food waste for easy disposal.
Lighting and Electrical
- Pendant Lights [pen-duhnt lahyts]: Suspended light fixtures, often used in kitchen islands and dining areas.
- Under Cabinet Lighting [uhn-der kab-uh-net lahy-ting]: Fixtures installed beneath wall cabinets, illuminating countertops for better visibility.
- Sconces [skon-siz]: Wall-mounted light fixtures, adding a touch of elegance to bathroom spaces.
- GFCI Outlet [JEE-eff-see-ahy out-let]: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlet, providing electrical safety and used in areas with water exposure.
- Task Lighting [task lahy-ting]: Bright and focused lighting designed to enhance visibility in specific work areas, like countertops and vanities.
Sinks and Basins
- Farmhouse Sink [fahrm-hous singk]: A large, single-basin sink with an exposed front, adding a rustic charm to kitchens.
- Undermount Sink [uhn-der-mount singk]: Sinks installed beneath the countertop, creating a sleek and seamless look.
- Vessel Sink [ves-uhl singk]: A decorative sink that sits on top of the countertop, often used in modern bathroom design.
- Double Basin Sink [duhb-uhl bey-sin singk]: A sink with two separate basins, ideal for multitasking in the kitchen.
- Apron Sink [ey-pruhn singk]: Similar to a farmhouse sink, but with a visible front that extends slightly beyond the countertop.
- Hardwood [hahrd-wood]: Natural wood flooring that adds warmth and elegance to kitchens and bathrooms.
- Tile [tahyl]: Durable and water-resistant, available in various designs for kitchen and bathroom flooring.
- Laminate Flooring [lam-uh-neyt flawr-ing]: An affordable and versatile flooring option that imitates the look of hardwood or tile.
- Vinyl Flooring [vahynl flawr-ing]: Resilient and waterproof flooring, often used in bathrooms for its ease of maintenance.
- Stone Flooring [stohn flawr-ing]: Natural stone tiles, such as marble, travertine, or slate, known for their timeless appeal.
Backsplashes and Wall Coverings
- Subway Tile [suhb-wey tahyl]: Rectangular ceramic tiles often arranged in a brick pattern, commonly used for backsplashes.
- Mosaic [moh-zey-ik]: Small tiles or pieces assembled to create intricate patterns, adding visual interest to backsplashes and walls.
- Wainscoting [weyn-skoh-ting]: Wood paneling installed on the lower half of walls, protecting them from moisture and adding a classic touch.
- Shiplap [ship-lap]: Horizontal wooden boards installed with a slight gap between them, providing a rustic wall covering.
- Wallpaper [wawl-pey-per]: Decorative paper with various patterns and textures, applied to walls for added aesthetics.
Color and Finishes
- Matte [mat]: A non-glossy finish, popular for cabinets and appliances, creating a contemporary look.
- Glossy [glos-ee]: A shiny finish, often used on countertops and tiles, giving a modern and sleek appearance.
- Neutral Colors [noo-truhl kuhl-erz]: Versatile colors like beige, gray, and white that serve as a backdrop for various design elements.
- Accent Color [ak-sent kuhl-er]: A bold and contrasting color used sparingly to draw attention to specific areas or features.
- Satin [sat-n]: A smooth finish that falls between matte and glossy, providing an elegant touch to surfaces.
Layout and Design Concepts
- Open Floor Plan [oh-puhn flawr plan]: A layout that combines the kitchen, dining, and living areas, creating a spacious and inviting environment.
- Kitchen Island [kitch-uh-n ahy-luhnd]: A freestanding countertop with storage and seating options, enhancing functionality in the kitchen.
- Ergonomics [ur-guh-nom-iks]: The science of designing spaces and products for optimal human use and comfort, crucial in kitchen design.
- Traffic Flow [traf-ik floh]: The movement patterns within a space, important for optimizing accessibility and usability.
- Universal Design [yoo-nuh-vur-suhl di-zahyn]: An inclusive approach to design, making spaces accessible to people of all abilities and ages.
Ventilation and Hoods
- Range Hood [reynj hood]: An appliance installed above the cooking range to remove smoke, steam, and odors from the kitchen.
- Exhaust Fan [ig-zawst fan]: A fan system used in bathrooms to eliminate humidity and maintain air quality.
- Downdraft Ventilation [doun-draft ven-tuh-ley-shuhn]: A ventilation system that pulls air and odors downward, often installed in kitchen islands.
- Soffit [sof-it]: A box-like structure concealing ductwork and used for indirect kitchen and bathroom ventilation.
- CFM [see-ef-em]: Cubic Feet per Minute, a measurement used to indicate the airflow capacity of ventilation systems.
Hardware and Installation
- Stud Finder [stud fahyn-der]: A tool used to locate wall studs for secure installation of heavy items like cabinets and mirrors.
- Level [lev-uhl]: A tool ensuring horizontal and vertical alignment during installation.
- Anchors [ang-kerz]: Devices used to provide extra support when installing items on walls without studs or in drywall.
- Caulk [kawk]: A waterproof filler used to seal gaps around sinks, countertops, and bathtubs for a clean and watertight finish.
- Grout [grout]: A cement-based material used to fill gaps between tiles, providing stability and preventing water seepage.
- Single Handle [sing-guhl han-dl]: A faucet with one lever controlling both water flow and temperature.
- Double Handle [duhb-uhl han-dl]: A faucet with separate handles for hot and cold water, requiring individual adjustments.
- Pull-Down Faucet [poo l-doun faw-sit]: A faucet with a spray head that can be pulled down for better reach and rinsing.
- Bridge Faucet [brij faw-sit]: A faucet with a traditional design, featuring a bridge connecting the hot and cold water handles.
- Touchless Faucet [tuhch-lis faw-sit]: A sensor-activated faucet that turns on and off with a touchless motion.
- Bathtub [bath-tuhb]: A large container used for bathing and relaxation, available in various shapes and materials.
- Shower Niche [shou-er neesh]: A built-in shelf or recess in the shower wall, providing storage for toiletries.
- Bidet [bih-day]: A personal hygiene fixture, used for washing after using the toilet.
- Rain Showerhead [reyn shou-er-hed]: A large showerhead that simulates the sensation of rainfall, providing a luxurious bathing experience.
- Freestanding Tub [free-stan-ding tuhb]: A bathtub not attached to the wall, often placed as a centerpiece in the bathroom.
- Range Oven [reynj oh-vuhn]: The part of a range appliance that contains the oven for baking and roasting.
- Convection Oven [kuhn-vek-shuhn oh-vuhn]: An oven equipped with a fan to circulate hot air, ensuring even cooking.
- Induction Cooktop [in-duhk-shuhn kook-top]: A cooktop that uses electromagnetic technology for precise and efficient cooking.
- Pot Filler [pot fil-er]: A faucet installed near the stove to fill pots and pans directly, eliminating the need to carry them to the sink.
- Beverage Center [bev-er-ij sen-ter]: A specialized area or appliance for storing and dispensing beverages, typically found in modern kitchens.
- Towel Warmers [tou-uhl wawr-mers]: Devices that gently warm towels for a spa-like experience after bathing.
- Robe Hook [rohb hoo k]: A small hook mounted on walls or doors to hang bathrobes and towels.
- Soap Dispenser [sohp di-spen-ser]: A container for liquid soap, offering convenience and reducing clutter around the sink.
- Tumbler Holder [tuhm-bler hoh l-der]: A fixture that holds drinking glasses or toothbrushes, commonly found in bathrooms.
- Toilet Paper Holder [toi-lit pee-per hoh l-der]: A device used to store and dispense toilet paper rolls near the toilet.
Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Features
- Energy Star Appliances [en-er-jee stahr uh-plahy-uhn-siz]: Kitchen and bathroom appliances certified for their energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption and utility costs.
- Low-Flow Faucets [loh-floh faw-sits]: Water-efficient faucets designed to conserve water without compromising performance in bathrooms and kitchens.
- Recycled Materials [ree-sy-kuld muh-teer-ee-uhlz]: Building materials made from recycled content, contributing to environmentally-friendly kitchen and bathroom design.
- VOC-Free Paint [vee-oh-see free peynt]: Paints with low or no volatile organic compounds, ensuring better indoor air quality and health.
- Salvaged Wood [sal-vayjd wood]: Reclaimed wood from old structures or sources, adding character and sustainability to cabinets and flooring.
- Galley Kitchen [gal-ee kitch-uhn]: A narrow kitchen layout with two parallel countertops and a central walkway, maximizing efficiency in small spaces.
- U-Shaped Kitchen [yoo-shept kitch-uhn]: A kitchen layout with three walls of cabinets forming a U-shape, providing ample storage and workspace.
- L-Shaped Kitchen [el-shept kitch-uhn]: A kitchen layout with cabinets along two adjacent walls, ideal for open floor plans and corner spaces.
- Island Kitchen [ahy-luhnd kitch-uhn]: A kitchen layout incorporating a central island, offering additional workspace, storage, and seating.
- Peninsula Kitchen [pen-in-suh-luh kitch-uhn]: Similar to an island kitchen, but the central unit is attached to one wall, creating a partial separation from the adjoining space.
- Vanity Lights [van-i-tee lahyts]: Light fixtures placed above or beside the bathroom mirror, providing optimal illumination for grooming tasks.
- LED Lighting [led lahy-ting]: Energy-efficient light-emitting diode technology, commonly used for bathroom lighting due to its long lifespan and low energy consumption.
- Natural Light [nach-er-uhl lahyt]: Incorporating windows or skylights to bring in natural sunlight, enhancing the bathroom’s ambiance.
- Task Lighting [task lahy-ting]: Focused lighting near specific areas like shower stalls or bathtubs, ensuring safety and convenience during bathing.
- Dimmer Switch [dim-er swich]: A switch that allows adjusting the brightness of lights, offering flexibility and ambiance control in the bathroom.
Kitchen and Bathroom Hardware Styles
- Modern [mod-ern]: Sleek and minimalist hardware designs, often featuring clean lines and contemporary finishes like brushed nickel or matte black.
- Traditional [truh-dish-uh-nuhl]: Classic and timeless hardware styles, with ornate details and finishes like polished brass or oil-rubbed bronze.
- Transitional [tran-sish-uh-nuhl]: A blend of modern and traditional elements, offering versatility and flexibility in design choices.
- Rustic [ruhs-tik]: Hardware with a distressed or aged appearance, complementing farmhouse and cottage-style kitchens and bathrooms.
- Industrial [in-duhs-tree-uhl]: Hardware inspired by factory and warehouse aesthetics, often using materials like steel and iron for a rugged look.
Kitchen and Bathroom Flooring Patterns
- Herringbone [her-ing-bohn]: A zigzag pattern formed by rectangular tiles or planks, adding visual interest to floors and backsplashes.
- Chevron [shev-ron]: Similar to herringbone but with the ends cut at an angle, creating a continuous V-shaped pattern.
- Basketweave [bas-kit-weev]: A pattern resembling a woven basket, achieved by interlocking square tiles.
- Diagonal [dahy-ag-uh-nuhl]: Installing tiles or planks diagonally instead of horizontally or vertically, creating a dynamic and spacious feel.
- Brick Pattern [brik pat-ern]: Placing rectangular tiles in a staggered formation like a brick wall, commonly used for subway tiles.
Bathroom Shower Systems
- Thermostatic Valve [ther-muh-stat-ik valv]: A shower valve that maintains a constant water temperature, preventing sudden temperature fluctuations.
- Rainfall Shower [reyn-fawl shou-er]: A showerhead that delivers a gentle and wide spray, mimicking the sensation of rainfall.
- Handheld Showerhead [hand-held shou-er-hed]: A portable showerhead with a flexible hose, providing versatility and convenience during bathing.
- Body Jets [bod-ee jets]: Additional spray nozzles installed in the shower walls, offering a massaging effect and a luxurious shower experience.
- Steam Shower [steem shou-er]: A shower equipped with a steam generator, creating a spa-like atmosphere and promoting relaxation.
Kitchen and Bathroom Countertop Edges
- Bullnose [bool-nohz]: A rounded edge profile, common in kitchens and bathrooms for a smooth and safe finish.
- Beveled [bev-uhld]: An edge profile with a slight angle, adding dimension and interest to countertops.
- Ogee [oh-jee]: An intricate edge profile with a double S-shaped curve, often used for a more decorative and elegant look.
- Eased Edge [eezd ej]: A simple and straight edge profile, offering a clean and modern appearance.
- Waterfall Edge [waw-ter-fawl ej]: A seamless continuation of the countertop material down the sides, creating a striking and contemporary design.
Kitchen and Bathroom Layout Considerations
- Work Triangle [wurk try-ang-guhl]: In kitchen design, the efficient positioning of the stove, sink, and refrigerator, optimizing workflow during food preparation.
- Clearance Space [kli-rins speys]: The minimum distance required around fixtures and appliances to ensure safe and comfortable usage.
- Universal Design [yoo-nuh-vur-suhl di-zahyn]: Incorporating features that accommodate users of all ages and abilities, promoting accessibility and safety.
- Ergonomic Heights [ur-guh-nom-ik hahyts]: Designing countertops, sinks, and other fixtures at comfortable heights to minimize strain and fatigue.
- Sightlines [sahyt-lahynz]: Ensuring clear views of key focal points and areas within the kitchen and bathroom for a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing layout.
As you venture forth to create your dream kitchen and bathroom spaces, remember the significance of cabinetry, countertops, fixtures, lighting, and layout concepts. Armed with this comprehensive knowledge, you can confidently engage with design professionals, make informed choices, and ultimately fashion spaces that blend functionality, style, and sustainability seamlessly. Let these expert insights guide you as you embark on an inspiring journey to craft your ideal living spaces.
Shilpa Ahuja is a designer and editor of Decorisk Magazine. She has worked in hotel interiors at The Park Hotels, India, and has completed several home interior design projects as a freelancer.
She completed her Masters in Design Studies (MDesS) degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She also has a Bachelor degree in Architecture (B.Arch) from Chandigarh College of Architecture. Her work has been published in Indian Design & Interior magazine and exhibited at Harvard University and at Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh.
Shilpa is also the Editor-in-Chief of Shilpa Ahuja Digital Media, which includes ShilpaAhuja.com, one of India’s most-read digital fashion magazines. Originally from Chandigarh, she is currently based in Chennai, and can be reached at [email protected].