We wish we could tell you we've solved the mystery as to why shopping for furniture has such an adverse effect on relationships. We can tell you this: Your problems may have less to do with your conflicting tastes in side chairs and more to do with your ability to describe what your preference is in a way that your partner/roommate/design-challenged shopping buddy will understand.
Here to help: An intermediary of sorts -- 12 of the most commonly used and confused words from designers' mouths.
You aren't crazy for being confused about this one, which has also been used to describe a type of skirt. In home decor, however, it's a boxy type of window treatment used to conceal curtain rods and other hardware.
Commonly confused with: Cornices, which are, by definition, the exact same thing.
This is not a place; it is a thing. A sofa to be exact -- the kind made by the now-defunct Massachusetts furniture manufacturer A. H. Davenport and Company. In the 18th century, the term became more widely used to describe a compact, secretary-style desk.
Commonly confused with: Chesterfields, settees and other "fancy" seating; towns in New England.
If ever there were a more widely used word in the dictionary of decor, this is it. On one hand, the term is used in reference to a cabinet for TV and radio equipment. On the other, "an ornamented bracket with scrolls or corbel supporting a cornice, shelf, or tabletop," according to Merriam-Webster. And, when paired with the word "table," it becomes a fancy-sounding perch for your objets (we tackle that term below).
Commonly confused with: PlayStations and other video game systems your male companions probably wish they were shopping for instead.
This decidedly British-sounding word has nothing to do with socks. It is a thick, firmly-padded cushion used for kneeling in a church and for lounging at home.
Commonly confused with: Ottomans; footstools
If you're trying to avoid a fallout, don't even think about venturing down the bedding aisle until you get this one straight. A coverlet is a bedspread (yes, of the quilt variety), but its length -- typically shorter than the floor -- is what makes it unique.
Commonly confused with: Comforters, duvets, throw blankets.
WAINSCOT (Pronounced: Wain-scut)
You've likely seen it -- an area of wooden paneling on the lower part of the walls of a room -- but maybe you didn't know what it was called. Either way, we agree with This Old House who says that while a can of paint is great, "nothing beats a traditional wainscot of richly layered wood panels" to revamp and add dimension to a room.
Commonly confused with: A article of clothing; chair rails, a type of moulding fixed horizontally to the wall around the perimeter of a room.
OBJETS (Pronounced: Ob-jay)
This French word literally translates to "object," but if you want to escape the evil glare of high-end furniture store associates, try not to call it that (or gawk at the ridiculous price tag you'll find on many of these for-display-only pieces).
Commonly confused with: Junk.
Lighting terminology is a beast of its own and sconces are partly to blame. These are the smaller-scale fixtures that attach to a wall and are typically defined by some type of ornamental bracket.
Commonly confused with: Scones, among the sleepy... or tipsy.
This tall chest of drawers sits up on four legs and got its name from a corruption of the French word bois (“wood”).
Commonly confused with: Dressers; the highboy tables you're likely to place your empty cocktail glass at a celebratory event.
If you know what an objet is, chances are you know what a finial is, too. If not, it's the ornament at the top, end or corner of an object, most notably, a curtain rod or lampshade.
Commonly confused with: Knobs.
ETAGERE (Pronounced: A-ta-jair)
You call it a bookshelf, the French call it an etagere. Both are used for displaying ornaments; the latter has open shelves that become narrower as it goes up.
Commonly confused with: Rickety bathroom storage.
IKAT (Pronounced: E-cat)
You'll know this Indonesian fabric (and, now, a pattern) when you see it thanks to its threads, which are tie-dyed before weaving.
Commonly confused with: "Tribal" prints.