Design Terms 101

by Alden Miller | December 17, 2016 | Alden Miller Interiors

We know that the design world can come as a great mystery for some and when designers start throwing specialized terms around, things can get unnecessarily confusing quite quickly. That’s why we’ve created Design Terms 101, a simple, easy guide to the technical words and phrases that you’ve heard but have never remembered to Google. For each edition of this blog series, we’ll share 5 common terms, their significance, and a witty sentence so that you will no longer have to worry about your next meeting with your interior designer. Enjoy!


the title used for the person who facilitates the ordering process in interior design.

Client: “If we don’t need the custom couch on a tight deadline, do we still need to pay for the expeditor fee?”

Designer: *laughs* “No, counter to the common assumption, our expeditor handles all of the product ordering so that we can complete your project and the title doesn’t infer a quicker turnaround ”. 


Shorthand for unless otherwise noted. This term is used on plans for the contractor to protect the designer in case he or she wants to change their mind.

Contractor: “Almost every detail is annotated with UON! Are you trying to make my job even harder?”

Designer: *shrugs

Photo Jan 28, 10 03 43 AMColorway

a way to describe when something is multiple colors.

Client: “I like the fabric’s design but don’t like the red palette.”

Designer: “That’s O.K.! Let’s explore different colorways.”


a term used to describe a fabric’s quality (feel, weight, movement).

“I’ve got to give this company a hand for their fabric selection. Their fabrics always have a great hand and are clearly high-quality.”

Lead Time

a term used to describe the length of time to receive a something.

“With a custom couch, you should expect a lead time of eight to twelve weeks. It may be your baby, but thankfully it won’t take as long.”