Oak Heritage Inc

Don't get Lost in Furniture Jargon: Common Terms

Have you ever been furniture shopping and got lost in the jargon? Like any other industry, the furniture world has a whole set of words and phrases that the everyday buyer may not be familiar with. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Keep reading for a description of commonly used words and phrases you may come across while furniture shopping.


Aprons - Also known as table skirting, table aprons are the part of the table that attached to the underside of the top. Aprons stabilize the top, and help to hide mechanisms under the table top such as gears used for extension. 

Apron Gap Covers - Apron gap covers do just what they say they will, they cover the gap or line in the center of tables that are designed to extend. 

Backsplash - Backsplashes are a decorative piece installed on the top and back of a flat surface. Often used on buffets and servers, backsplashes also serve a function. They help keep things from being pushed of the top. 

Buttons - Buttons are small wooden plugs that are inserted in a drilled hole over top of screws. 

Crown Moulding - Crown moulding is a decorative piece of wood used at the top of furniture, and is similar to ceiling moulding. 

Drawer Slides - usually long metal instruments attached to the outside of the drawer that make them slide in and out easily. 

Dovetail - A dovetail joint is a secure way of fitting corners together. Each board is cut on the end to have complementary interlocking “fingers” that fit together like puzzle pieces. 

Drop Leaves - Drop leaves are leaves for extending the table that are attached to the table itself with hinges. They drop down to the side if the table when not in use, and when pulled up and braced, they are parallel with the tabletop to add extra surface space. 

Finish - Finish is a clear protective coat put on the furniture after it is stained or painted. Most people think of polyurethane, although we use a special grade of finish that is even more resistant to everyday wear and tear. 

Glazing - Glazing is a special coating we sometimes use on wood before we paint or stain it. It is a special technique that adds an extra depth to the furniture. It makes the furniture look aged or antiqued. 

Inlay Doors or Inlay Drawers - Inlay doors or drawers are cut to sit evenly with the face of a piece of furniture, instead of in front of it. They don’t “bump out” of the front. 

Kick Moulding - Kick moulding is the bottom decorative moulding on a piece of furniture. Overlay Doors or Overlay Drawers - Overlay doors or drawers protrude past the face of the piece of furniture. 

Pedestal - Pedestals are columns and feet that hold up a table in place of table legs. Pedestals stay stationary when the table is opened. Single pedestal tables have one column, and are often small in size. Double pedestal tables are usually larger, which requires the support of two pedestals. 

Self Storing Leaves - Tables that are self storing are designed to store their table leaves inside the table itself. They often have a geared mechanism that makes extension smooth and easy. The advantages of self storing leaves are clear, no worry about losing them, damaging them, or trying to find a place to store them: that’s why many of our table are self storing. 

Side Lights - Side lights are a pane of glass built in to the side of a piece of furniture. We offer side lights as an option on our hutch tops. 

Slats - Slats are one to two inch pieces of wood used between two larger components of a piece of furniture. They are usually decorative, and are often used on our Arts & Crafts style furniture, although we also use steam bent back slats on our wood chairs to add comfortable lumbar support. 

Table locks - Table locks are a two part mechanism. One part is installed on the underside of a non-solid table top, and the other part is installed on the table leaf. The two parts then lock together, similar to how window locks work. It keeps the table from being pulled apart. 

Table Pins - Table pins are installed on the joint of the table tops and also on table leaves. They fit into corresponding holes and help keep the table aligned when the leaves are added to the table. 

Trestle - Trestles are a type of table base that supports the table as an alternative to table legs. Trestles sit in the center of the tables as opposed to the corners like legs do. They are designed to stay stationary when the table is opened to accept leaves, and are easy enough to open that one person can often do it themselves. 

Touch Lighting - Touch lighting is a light that is designed to turn on and off just by touching a metal part of the furniture. We often use touch lighting in our hutch tops. 

Wraps - Wraps are wooden hoops that have been steam bent to add decorative features to a piece of furniture. They also can be used to add support. We use wraps most often on our chairs between legs. 

Still looking for answers on other furniture terms? Send us a message on Facebook and we’ll respond with the definition if we can.

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