Found a term you're unsure about? Use our glossary to learn more about some common buzzwords you might encounter while shopping
for your furniture. Afterwards, if you still have questions, just give our experts a call at 1-800-BUY-MACY.


acacia wood

A durable wood that comes from the acacia tree.

aniline dye

A transparent dye used to enhance the color & natural shine of leather.


A popular finish featuring intentional markings or distressing to give the appearance of age.


A narrow strip of wood or a support rod used for structural integrity, often found under tabletops and chair seats.


A comfortable chair, typically upholstered, with side support for a person’s arm.


A tall wardrobe piece with doors and shelves, often used in bedrooms for storing clothes or a television.

ash wood

A strong but flexible hardwood often used for its durability in upholstery frames or applied as veneers for its highly figured grain. Its color varies from creamy white to medium brown.

attached back pillow

A non-removable pillow attached directly to upholstered furniture for back support and comfort.


bachelor's chest

A low chest of drawers, which typically has three to four drawers, often with a slide that can be pulled out for reading & writing.


An intricately carved design resembling an animal claw grasping a ball or egg, used at the foot of a furniture piece.


A process of cutting & applying veneers to produce a decorative effect or distinctive grain pattern.

bar height

A table or surface that measures 40” to 42” in height. In general, bar stools measure 28” to 30” in height from floor to seat.


An ornamental design accent, created with very small, half-circle molding.

bench seat cushion

A single seat cushion that spans the width of the seating area.


The edge of a flat surface that has been cut at a slant to the main area.

bi-fold door

A single, two-panel door that opens by folding its panels against each other.

birch wood

One of the strongest American hardwoods, identifiable by its close grain pattern & deep tan color.

bistro set

A small table with matching chairs designed for casual dining & entertaining.


A process of chemically treating wood to produce a lighter or more consistent color.

blind fret

A perforated design, cut against a flat background for decorative effect.

bolster pillow

A long, often cylindrical pillow used on beds & seating, primarily for decoration.

bow front

A contoured or curved-front design, often found in wood furniture.


In media storage, the connector between two side towers that sits across the top for additional shelving or decoration.


A small cupboard or sideboard often used to store or display dining items.

bun foot

Round, flattened foot, usually made of wood.


An armless piece attached at the end of a sectional for additional seating or for use as an ottoman.

burl veneers

Rare veneers known for their richly figured grain patterns, produced by slicing cross-sections at the bases of tree trunks.

bustle back

A back-cushion design, consisting of two or more pillows upholstered in a layered or partitioned horizontal pattern.

button back

Buttons sewn through an upholstered surface & tied down to produce a distinctive tailored look & feel.



A curved leg design that bends outward and tapers back to form an S-shape, often found in traditional furniture.

California king bed

A bed that is 4” longer and 4” narrower than traditional king beds; also called a Western king bed.

camel back

A curved seat-back design that slopes upward in the center.


A frame connecting the tips of a four-poster bed, often covered with decorative fabric.

case piece

Furniture that provides interior space for storage, such as a dresser or armoire.


Small, swiveling wheels attached to the bottom of furniture for easy mobility.


The art of shaping metal by heating it, pouring it into a mold and letting it harden, often hand-finished for decoration.

cathedral veneers

Flat-cut veneers characterized by distinctive V-shaped peaks or spires in the grain pattern.


A small storage piece used for storing spirits & glassware.

center glide

A center track used on the bottom of a drawer to guide it when sliding in and out.

chair & a half

A chair that is sized in-between a regular chair & a loveseat.

chaise lounge

A long upholstered chair with a backrest & extended seat for lying down.

cherry wood

A durable reddish-brown hardwood that is very resistant to warping; used as a solid or applied as a veneer.


A sofa that is overstuffed & includes tufting.

china cabinet

A cabinet piece used for the display & storage of china & other dining items.

Chinese joinery

A construction of solid wood pieces without the use of nails or screws. Traditional techniques include tongue & groove or mortise & tenon joints.

club style

A low-back seat design, often with high armrests, inspired by styles once found in nineteenth-century English gentlemen’s clubs.

cocktail ottoman

A large upholstered seat that may also serve as a coffee table.

coil springs

Coiled wires used in high-quality upholstered furniture to provide enhanced support & elasticity in the seat & back.

corner blocks

Triangular blocks of wood used to strengthen major joints in a furniture frame, usually glued and screwed into place.

counter height

A table or surface that measures 34” to 36” in height. In general, stools measure 24” to 26” in height from floor to seat.


A sideboard or buffet used to store dinnerware & china.

crotch veneers

Rare, high-quality veneers known for their highly figured, V-shaped grain pattern, created from wood taken from the intersection of a branch with the trunk of the tree.

crown molding

An architectural design applied to the top of wooden furniture pieces for decoration; also known as a cornice.


A cabinet or closet with shelves designed for storing dining items.


A glass-door case piece with interior shelves for displaying & protecting collectibles.



A 3-in-1 piece that functions as a chaise lounge, a sofa & a bed. They are used for lounging, reclining & seating in common rooms.


A crescent or half-moon shape, often found in sofa & console tables for placement against a flat surface.

direct ship

Items sent directly from the vendor or manufacturer right to the customer’s door. Direct ship items can often have a surcharge for shipping. Also called quick ship.

diamond point

A wood-turning chisel with a flat blade on which the cutting end is ground at an angle from both edges to a sharp point in the center.


Wear or markings applied to wood furniture to create an aged or antiqued appearance.

double-wrapped cushion

A high-quality foam cushion insert, wrapped with two layers of synthetic filler to round off the square edges of foam.

dovetail joinery (English)

A durable joint formed by interlocking wedges, typically found in high-quality furniture & used on drawer fronts & drawer boxes.

dovetail joinery (French)

A more simplified sliding dovetail construction that can be seen from the bottom, most often used on drawers with winding or curved fronts.


A round, headless wooden pin inserted into the holes of two adjacent pieces for alignment or reinforcement.

drake foot

A three-toed foot often found on Queen Anne style furniture.

drawer guide

A strip of wood fastened to the top or bottom of a drawer to guide it along its track.

drop-leaf table

A table whose surface area can be extended by raising hinged flaps or side panels.

drum table

A circular table with a deep skirt that may contain drawers.

dust board

A flat, horizontal board placed between drawers of a dresser to prevent the circulation of dust inside, found in high-quality case pieces.



A dark black hardwood primarily used for veneers & inlays.

engineered wood

A manufactured wood, created by binding together the strands, particles or fibers of wood products to form composite materials; also called composite wood.


A display piece featuring a series of open shelves for storing and showcasing books & other items.


finger joint

A highly durable joint connecting the ends of two wood pieces by interlocking finger-like projections.


A turned or carved ornamental decoration used at the top of chairs, bed posts or in the break of pediments, often in the form of a knob, ball, acorn, urn or flame.


A protective coating or treatment of a wooden surface, often with stain, paint, lacquer or oils, used for coloring & preventing surface damage.

flared arm

An upholstered arm that arches away from the sofa or chair.

four poster bed

A bed frame featuring four high posts positioned at each corner, also referred to as a canopy bed.

full-grain leather

An exceptionally durable leather which has not been altered beyond the removal of hair; each piece retains the natural markings & texture of the hide.


A type of sofa that unfolds and extends to be used as a bed.



A decorative band of carved molding resembling twisting rope, also known as nulling.

garden stool

A type of stool that is barrel-shaped & ceramic, also serving as a little side table or room accent.


The natural arrangement or direction of fibers in a piece of wood.


Square or U-shaped channel running parallel to the grain of a piece of wood.


hand-tied coils

A high-quality spring system used in sofas & chairs in which multiple springs are hand-tied to each other for enhanced durability & elasticity.


The wood of broad-leaved trees, like ash, oak, birch, cherry, maple or mahogany, distinguished from that of cone-bearing trees & firs.


An upright structure rising above the mattress at the head of a bed.

high-resilience cushions

Upholstery cushioning made with quality, high-density foam, often polyurethane, offering a soft, initial feel that becomes firmer as more pressure is applied.


A low cupboard or display piece, usually featuring open shelves for showcasing or storing collectibles & other items.



Decorative materials, such as leather, ivory or ebony, set into the surface of solid wood.

iron beds

Beds crafted from cast iron that are often painted or treated with other protective finishes.



An extremely durable method of interlocking woodwork by connecting pieces without use of nails or screws; examples include mortise & tenon & double-doweled joinery.


kiln dried hardwood

Hardwoods that are heated in an industrial oven to enhance durability by removing excess sap & moisture; the process is used to prevent warping, swelling or shrinking of wood, & to minimize mildew & rotting during the life of the piece.


The section of cut timber where the branch of a tree has been removed; the size of a knot can affect the strength & quality of the timber.



Protective finishing material used to produce a high gloss on surfaces.


Chair-back design featuring several horizontal slats resembling a ladder.


Machine used for turning wood, metal or other materials.

left-arm facing

A sectional design with the arm on the left side if you are facing the piece.


Adjustable inserts that can be screwed in & out of the legs of furniture to level the piece on an uneven floor.

loose back

A pillow treatment that can be removed from an upholstered piece.

love seat

A small sofa piece usually intended for seating two people.


mahogany wood

A tropical, medium hardwood having a richly figured, somewhat open grain, varying in color from orange-red to brown; used as a solid & applied veneer.

maple wood

A light-colored, close-grained hardwood that is very dense & widely used in making high-grade furniture.


The use of variously colored woods & veneers to form decorative designs, such as scrolls & flowers.


Manufactured sheet materials made from compressed & bonded wood fibers; dense & stable, it’s easily worked by machine or hand tools & commonly used in the making of furniture; also called MDF.

mid-century modern

Refers to mid-twentieth century modern designs from 1933 to 1965, often used to describe the style of the mid-1950s.


Simply designed, straight-lined furniture, usually made of oak, in which the construction techniques are often exposed.

modular furniture

Furniture consisting of multiple units that can be linked or placed against one another to form a variety of arrangements. Pieces are finished on all sides.

moisture content

A measure of the amount of free water in a sample of wood, affecting its weight & strength.

mortise & tenon

The durable joining of two wood pieces by inserting a narrowed projection (tenon) at the end of one piece into a hole (mortise) cut in the side of another; often found in high-quality case pieces.


In architecture, a slender piece that divides an opening, such as a division between adjacent panes of a window.



Light, golden-colored hardwood with a prominent texture & grain, popular in country, casual & mission-style furniture.


A low seat or footstool that has no back or arms. It can be used to extend the length of a couch or as a free-standing seat in the living room area.



A unique coloration resulting from aging, polishing, or seasoning the surface or finish of the wood, metal, leather & other materials.

pedestal table

A table supported by a single, center base or pillar with several feet extending from the bottom.


In media storage, a tower with shelves at the sides of a console, often connected by a bridge.

pillow back

An upholstery design with removable cushions or pillows resting along the back of the sofa or chair.


A fine-textured softwood, easily worked with machine or hand tools.

platform bed

Beds whose bases consist of a raised, flat, horizontal surface for supporting a mattress; often designed as “low-profile” for use without a box spring.

poly Dacron wrap

High-quality cushion construction in which a soft, resilient polyester material is wrapped around a polyurethane core.


A semi-hardwood easily worked with machine or hand tools & used extensively in furniture for its resistance to warping.


A smaller variation of the ottoman with cushioning that lends it a poufy shape.

powder-coat finish

Bonded finish applied to furnishing to withstand extreme temperatures & prevent rust & fading.

power reclining

A sofa or sectional piece that features a power motion footrest or headrest which is user controlled.


A premium blonde wood popularly used as veneers in furniture & cabinetry because of its highly decorative & figured grain patterns.

pub table

A round or rectangular table, usually higher than traditional dining pieces, designed for small spaces & intimate dining.


Queen Anne style

Highly ornamented furniture named after England’s Queen Anne, who reigned from 1702 to 1714; distinguishing features include cabriole legs, curved seat-backs & decorative shell carvings.

quick ship

Items sent directly from the vendor or manufacturer right to the customer’s door. Quick ship items can often have a surcharge for shipping. Also called direct ship.



Wood made from stems of tough palms found in tropical Asia, often woven or bent for use in furniture.

right-arm facing

A design with the arm on the right side if you are facing the piece.

roll arm

An upholstered design of rounded arms that flare outward from the piece & give the appearance of having been rolled.

ropey cherry

A type of cherry wood veneer displaying a flowing, ribbon-like grain pattern.

rustic finish

A piece of furniture that has a weathered or distressed finish to make it look old.


saber leg

A chair or table leg that is curved & tapered in a fashion resembling the design of a cavalry saber.


A type of desk that has a base with wide drawers & a hinged desktop surface. It usually features a book case at the top of the desk that can be closed with doors that are typically made of glass.


Furniture made up of multiple units to form a single arrangement or sometimes separated into individual seating pieces. Sectional units are not finished on all sides.

self-storing leaves

Leaves used to extend the surface of a table, stored within the table when not in use.


A dining room storage piece used for placing utensils, table linens & other serveware.


A bench-like sofa featuring a long seat with side arms & a back, often upholstered or topped with loose seat cushions.


Unadorned, simple furniture designs featuring clean, elegant lines, originated in the 19th century by an American religious faction known as the Shakers.


A type of leather with a rough surface usually made with shark or stingray skin.


A piece of furniture meant for placement at the side of a dining room. Its drawers, cupboards & shelves are intended to hold china, linen & other dining essentials while entertaining or storing in between.

side chair

An armless dining chair, usually placed at the sides of a dining table.

single-wrapped cushion

A foam cushion insert, wrapped with a single layer of synthetic filler to round off the square edges of the foam.

sinuous wire springs

A supportive, high-quality spring system formed by attaching S-shaped or zigzagged steel wires to an upholstery frame & stretching them from front to back or top to bottom.

slat back

A design of horizontal panels running across the back of the chair, used commonly in American colonial style furniture.


A sofa piece with a bed stored within its frame.

sleigh bed

A bed frame featuring a high, scrolled headboard & footboard resembling the design of a sleigh.


A fitted, tailored fabric that slips over a piece of furniture, allowing for easy cleaning or replacement.

slipper chair

A high-backed, usually upholstered chair with short legs, originally designed as a bedroom piece for changing clothes & putting on shoes.

sofa table

A long, thin occasional table placed against the back of a sofa or against a wall.


Wood from a cone-bearing tree, such as pine, cedar or redwood.

Special order

A piece that can be customized with different fabrics & colors.


A light, shaft-like turning, or other long, thin stick of wood, used in the construction of chair-backs & other furniture.


The single vertical panel in a chair-back, joining the seat to the top rail.


A natural or synthetic chemical used to color, highlight & protect wood grain; can be water, oil or spirit-based.

storage bed

A bed featuring drawers built into the frame to provide additional storage space in the bedroom.


A brand leader of high performance synthetic yarns that resist mold, mildew & extreme weather conditions, meant for use in the cushioning of outdoor furniture.

swivel base

A mechanism enabling a chair to spin from side to side on a stationary platform or on legs.

swivel glider

A reclining chair that features a front-to-back gliding motion combined with a swivel base.

synthetic wicker

A material woven of synthetic fibers that withstands weather conditions & resists fading, mold & mildew, often used in outdoor furniture.


table pad

A protective, removable cover for dining tables designed to prevent scratches, marks & damage from hot pans or other serving items.

tapered leg

A leg whose width becomes gradually more slender toward the bottom end.


A t-shaped seat cushion whose front edges extend outward in front of the arms of an upholstered piece.


A durable, oily hardwood native to India & the islands of the East Indies, resembling walnut in color & grain with a yellow to dark-brown tinge.

tempered glass

A glass specially treated for enhanced strength & resistance to extremely hot temperatures.

tight cushion

An upholstered seat cushion that cannot be moved from the piece.

tongue & groove

A durable, high-quality joint connecting two boards with a channel or groove on the edge of one board & a rib on the edge of another.

top-grain leather

The highest quality leather available, taken from the outer, most durable layer of a hide.


In media storage, a shelved piece usually placed at the side of an entertainment console & connected to another tower by a bridge on top.

track arm

A straight, square arm on a sofa or armchair.

trestle table

A table supported by two primary legs or pedestals connected by a brace in between.


A bed that is often enclosed in a pull-out drawer & stored beneath a daybed.

turned leg

A leg shaped circularly on a lathe for ornamentation, commonly found in traditional-style furniture.



Attached fabric, cushioning & other materials used to cover the inner construction of a piece of furniture.



A protective, transparent coating resistant to heat & moisture that is spread over a wood surface to strengthen it &/or add color.


A thin layer of wood applied with glue to the surface of solid wood or MDF to display unique or decorative grain patterns.


wallsaver recliner

A reclining chair that moves forward as it reclines, allowing it to be placed closer to the wall to save space.

walnut wood

A dense, strong hardwood used in high-quality furniture for its durability & light weight; chocolate brown in color.


To bend or twist from a flat position into a curve.


A light, diluted coat of paint.


A durable foundation of an upholstered piece, made of strong jute fiber banding & used to support.


A cord wrapped in fabric used to trim upholstery seams for added detail.

wenge finish

A very dark stain applied to wood to replicate the appearance of wenge wood, a dense wood marked by its chocolate brown grain.


A hard fiber woven from natural materials, such as willow, red & rattan, commonly used in summer & outdoor furniture.

Windsor chair

A wooden chair composed of slender, turned spindles, raking legs & a saddle seat.

wing back

An upholstered armchair with wings extending forward from the back of the seat.

wire brush finish

Wire brushing wood gives new wood a weathered & textured look by using a tool that removes the finish from the wood.

wire management

In media or desk storage, pieces designed to accommodate cords & wires from electronic components.


A striped variety of hornstone, resembling wood in appearance.

wraparound doors

Doors whose hinges open 270 degrees, so that they lie flush against the sides of the piece.

wrought iron

A malleable form of iron, easily welded & worked on a forge.



A supportive or decorative x-shaped arrangement of diagonal stretchers connecting the legs or back of a piece of furniture.