8 Design Words You are Probably Saying WRONG!!!

Design is a global medium of artistic expression; therefore, it is no wonder some of its terms can be a linguistic challenge.   There are more than a few words we have all mumbled through in hopes of sounding in the know.  It is also no surprise that most of these words derive from one the chicest countries in the world.  Below, are some commonly mispronounced design terms:

Sette – (French) pronounced SET-TEA.  Commonly mispronounced Set-tay  A long seat with back and arms that is made for more than one person.

BERGERE– (French) BUR-ZHAIR  The mispronunciations are too great to list.  An armchair with exposed wooden framing and upholstered back and seat.  Bergère chairs became popular in 17th century France among nobility.

Bergere Chair in a modern print - Image from One Kings Lane

Bergere Chair in a modern print – Image from One Kings Lane

ARMOIRE– (French) ARM-WAAR.  Commonly mispronounced Arm-Wah  A tall wardrobe or move-able cabinet that dates back as far as the 16th century. Today, armoires fulfill a variety of storage needs.

FAUX BOIS– (French) FOH-BWAH Imitation of wood or wood grain.  The literal translation is “fake wood”.

Faux Bois outdoor chair via Neiman Marcus

Faux Bois outdoor chair via Neiman Marcus

FOYER – (French) FOY-YAY.  Commonly mispronounced Foy-yer  The front entrance hall in a home or building.

My Foyer

My Foyer

IKAT– (Indonesian) EE-KAHT. Commonly mispronounced Eye-kat  A fabric in which the yarns have been tie-dyed before weaving.

NICHE – (French) NEESH.  Commonly mispronounced Nitch.  A recess in a wall, commonly used for displaying decorative objects.

Image via Decorpad

Image via Decorpad

CHAISE LOUNGE (French) SHEZ-LAWNG.  Commonly mispronounced Shayz-lounge.  An upholstered sofa in the shape of a chair that is long enough to support the outstretched legs. The literal translation is “long chair.”


Horchow Maddox Chaise Lounge


I hope to have helped save you from any raised eyebrows at your next party (because really, who does not talk about design at parties 🙂   Now, you can confidently converse on all things design related.

Let me know what design terms you find commonly mispronounced, or any words you may have questions about.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie