Glossary – Interior design

Refurbishing a home is like going to a foreign country for the first time. You need to understand the language, the habits and customs to really get to know a place.

In our GLOSSARY series, we are exploring some of the terms that are often used, starting with INTERIOR DESIGN.


While people have been designing homes for thousands of years, interior design as a job is relatively new — in fact, the term itself was only coined in 1930s. The board of interior design qualifications defines the profession as:

“The Professional Interior Designer is qualified by education, experience, and examination to enhance the function and quality of interior spaces”.

The process starts with a concept drawing or sketches. Your designer will then draw a floor plan using a specific scale to show you the layout designed. He might also give you drawing of cross-section.


Concept drawing or sketch: This is usually a freehand drawing, a quick and simple way of exploring initial ideas for designs.

Floor plan: A drawing done to scale, showing the relationships between the rooms and other physical features. Each floor is drawn separately. Dimensions are usually specified.

Scale: All plans are drawn to scale, and there should be a scale bar at the bottom of every page. A plan drawn at a scale of 1:100 means that every 1mm on the plan represents 100mm in the real physical space. It is very important that the scaling is done correctly! Floor plans sent by estate agents are often misleading, as there is a tendency to reduce the size of the furniture to make the rooms seem more spacious.

Cross-section: A cross-section shows a building or room cut along a vertical axis to reveal the interior structure