Every industry has an arcane language that its experts use to dazzle you. Here are some of the home design terms you'll hear when you're doing up the place - and what they really mean.

Antiqueing: what the stress of living in a building site is doing to your face.

Builder: the person who picks the radio station you and the neighbours will be listening to from 7am for the next six weeks.

Conversation piece: an ugly substitute for eclectic taste.


Credenza: nobody knows what this is. A type of fish soup?

Curated: the home as the heavily-edited gallery exhibition of the self. If you expect your friends to pretend to admire it, serve wine and cheese at the opening.

Fitted kitchen: old industry joke. If it's fitted, it won't. You haven't felt this rubbish about sizing since the Topshop dressing rooms.

Fixture: a terrifying word to hear from a tradie, as in: "I've fixture toilet," when - as far as you were aware - it wasn't broken.

Flashing: what the plumber's heavy toolbelt is responsible for.

Flock wallpaper: already over. Get the flock out of here.

Greige: grey-beige, the most popular interior colour because it matches all your possessions once the plastering dust settles on them permanently.

Incandescent: what you'll be when you get the final bill.

Hardware: something the doors need, so called because it costs the same as a new computer.

Minimalism: Great if you like clean lines and a slight echo. You'll need a storage unit for your knick-knacks because the designer threw up a little when you used the word knick-knacks.

Moulding: either ornate plasterwork on your ceiling or what they find when they open up the bathroom gib. Confusingly, your moulding can be moulding.

Paint sample chart: a torture device. None of those paint colours actually exist; Half Tea is the only one they really make because that's what you'll choose when it all gets too overwhelming.

Open plan: the ongoing changes to the supposedly approved design. Requires an Open Wallet.

Shabby chic: the furniture, the rugs, the walls and the inhabitants are distressed.

Splashback: what the shower does since you went for the waterfall showerhead.

Suite: what you say with deep satisfaction when you hear the unfixable cracking sound your old bathroom units make hitting the skip.

Test pot: what you'll be tempted to do to make the renovation process more enjoyable.

Throw pillow: the safest way to express mid-project frustration.

Waste: what you'll feel about the project manager's fee when you realise you haven't seen him in weeks.

Vanity unit: an interior designer.