B



Back-coating

Fabric treated with sizing on the back only to give added weight, strength and opacity.



Balsa Wood

A large, fast-growing tree native to Central and South America. It's popularity comes from its lightweight nature and light density.



Baluster

This is an architectural term for a small turned column that forms a unit in a balustrade. It is wood, stone, or metal that is molded to form a column. Balusters have a bold shape with many curves.



Balustrade

This is a row of repeating columns called balusters that support the railing of a staircase, rail, etc. Balustrades were first used in ancient Greek and Roman architecture.



Bamboo

A group of woody perennial evergreen plants in the true grass family. Bamboo fabric is very soft without any chemical treatment. Textiles made of bamboo have natural antibacterial, antifungal and odor resistant properties, even after multiple washings. And because it grows so quickly, bamboo is an easily renewable resource. Bamboo uses less water to grow and requires minimal pesticides as it is naturally pest resistant.



Banister

This refers to the balusters of a stairway. However, the term banister refers to a more modern, narrower support to a handrail than a traditional balusters. The term is often used to refer to the handrail of a stairway.



Banister Back Chair

An American colonial and 17th century English chair with vertical bars, or spindles, forming the chair back. The bars on the chairs are made of the turnings from staircase railings and have been split down the middle so that the flat side is where your back rests.



Banquette Sofa Seating

A long upholstered seating bench or sofa that is placed against or built into a wall.



Baroque

An Italian architectural style from the 17th century, baroque is an Italian word that describes an over-the-top and exaggerated style of church architecture. Carvers and gilders were established during the Baroque era. Ornamented decoration was common on furniture and buildings, and the decoration and curves were bold and expressive. This style is representative of the Roman Catholic Church. The moldings, twisted columns, and details relate to an entire work rather than just one panel.



Bentwood Chairs

These light but strong chairs made of beech wood were first seen in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Designed by Michael Thonet, an Austrian furniture-maker, the beech wood can be bent into different shapes when exposed to heat and steam. These chairs often had caned seats.



Bergère A French term used to describe the closed space under the arms of a chair. A characteristic of this type of chair is a long and comfortably padded seat. This type chair was common in the classical period in America. Beveled

A slant or inclination on a surface creates a beveled look. It is often used to give objects a three-dimensional look.



Biedermeier

A German style during the first half of the 19th century that was heavily influenced by French Empire styles. This style was used by the middle and lower classes as its pieces were imitations of grand pieces from Paris. Details were done by using black or gold paint, and simple surfaces were made out of local German woods like walnut, maple, and fruitwoods.



Birch

This wood originated in the 18th century, and is native to Europe and the British Isles. It is light brown in color and is often streaked with silver and fine grain. Birch is strong wood, and it can also be used to make printing paper. When used to make plywood, it is lightweight and suitable for furniture production.



Black Forest Style

Black Forest, or in German, Schwarz Wald, is a mountain range in southwest Germany. Wood carving is a large industry in this region, and wooden sculptures of nature are incorporated into household items. Walnut and linden wood is typically used.



Block Foot

The foot of a chair or table that is plain and rectangular or square. Block feet are often found on Marlborough legs.



Block Front

An 18th-century New England piece where a piece is vertically divided into three sections. The middle section usually carves in and the two sides carve out.



Bombe

The front of a chest that is swelled outwards. This style was used in the late Louis XV and early Louis XVIeras of the 18th century and also in Baroque work. It inspired a similar but more curvaceous design in England and Holland where it was called a kettle front chest. It was also used in the Chippendale style.



Bonnet Top

An American term for a carved or hooded pediment on a bookcase or cabinet. This is an English design used in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.



Boulle

The French practice of inlaying thin strips of brass into furniture pieces. This practice was seen in the Louis XV Rococo style of the 18th century.



Bourdon Stitching

A close, narrow row of decorative raised stitching such as a monogram, finished edge or accent.



Bowfront

A chest of drawers, commode, or cabinet with a curve in front shaped like a bow, characteristic of the 18th century. Also called swell front or arbalet.



Breakfront

A Queen Anne piece of furniture from the early 18th century with the front of the piece made in different lengths. Most large book cases have a broken front.



British Colonial Style

This style began when British colonists settled in India after the Crown took power in 1857. Though they enjoyed the tropical landscape, they longed for home. Since the climate in India did not complement the woods used in England, local craftsmen recreated these designs with more durable materials found in the area like teak, mahogany, wicker, and rattan, and typically used only natural colors in fabrics since dyes were difficult to obtain.



Brocade

Neatly woven silk in multiple colors to create a bright, detailed look. Originating in India, brocade was used for bed hangings and upholstery during the Renaissance and Queen Anne's rule in England in the 18th century.



Broken Arch Top

Designed on bookshelves and cabinets, this is a typical Queen Anne style design made in the early 1700s in New England by young cabinet makers and apprentices who moved from England. The term broken arch refers to a pediment top with varying ornamentation.



Bulbous

A term used to describe wood decorated with bulbs and knobs, which is common to many European styles. This is found on table and chair legs as well as cabinets and shelves.



Bun Foot

A Jacobean term for a foot shaped like a stubby knob. This term came to use in the 17th century. This is an English term for ball foot.



Bureau Plat

A Louis XV French term for a flat-topped desk. This type of desk has a series of drawers directly under the tabletop to hold writing paper, utensils, etc. Also used in the Art Nouveau movement.



Burled Wood

Burled wood is used to create sculptures, furniture, and clocks in unique shapes and ring patterns. Burl wood is an abnormal growth found on trees that have experienced environmental damage or stress, and this wood is very rare.



Butcher Block

A stylized wood surface, either in blocks or panels, used in countertops, cutting boards, and table tops. Comes in end grain (most durable and more expensive) or edge grain (cost-effective and easier to make).