Learn More about Furniture

(A glossary of terms)

Armoire – a large wardrobe or movable closet, for storing clothes. Popular uses today also include entertainment centers, TVs, and computer workspaces. (See Case Goods.)

Bergère – a chair with an exposed wooden frame. The back and seat may be upholstered or may feature loose cushions.

Case goods – large pieces of furniture usually used for storage, such as chests of drawers, armoires, and hutches.

Commode – a stand or cupboard, once used for hiding chamber pots. Often used as a side table or nightstand.

Chaise (with “lounge” or “longue”) – a long chair for reclining with one’s legs up, with or without one or two arms.

Credenza – a buffet, side table, or bookcase, about table height, with a flat surface. Used for serving and storage.

Etagere – a small, upright set of free-standing open sided shelves, similar to a “what-not” or baker’s rack, for displaying small items.

Escritoire – a writing desk or secretary.

Futon – Japanese-inspired thin mattress, covered in fabric, used on the floor or on a wooden frame, for sleeping. Also the name of the frame, which usually can be reconfigured as a sofa.

Highboy – a tall chest of drawers on four legs, often in the Chippendale or other English or early American style.

Hutch – an upper cabinet with shelves, with or without doors, placed on a chest, chest of drawers, or desk.

Jardiniere – a large plant stand, typically a cache pot on a matching or complementary base. Lowboy – a low chest of drawers, or table with drawers.

Ottoman – a hassock, upholstered low stool or footrest. Often used as a substitute for a coffee table.

Platform bed – a mattress supported by a flat wood base, without a box spring or metal frame.

Settee – a love seat or small sofa on exposed wood legs.

Sideboard – a credenza or buffet table, with a wide center drawer and several small drawers or shelves on either side of the center drawer.

Sleigh Bed – a wooden bed with large headboard, and a curved footboard that resembles the front of a horse-drawn sleigh.

Suite – a set of furniture pieces in matching wood, design and motif for use in the same room, usually the living room or bedroom.

Tallboy – Drawers stacked on top of a low chest of drawers, to create a chest-on-chest.

Tambour Desk – a roll top desk that uses thin strips of wood applied to a pliable back to create a flexible door.

Vitrine – a cabinet with glass doors, for display.

Wardrobe – a tall enclosed cabinet with doors, for storing clothing or bedding, sometimes with a single shelf and clothes rod, sometimes with a drawer in the bottom section. (See Armoire.