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Handmade to Order in Great Britain

Glossary of Furniture Terms

We hope that this glossary will help to explain exactly what different pieces of furniture are, so you can consider all of the options when choosing what handmade item will suit your home best.

Different Types of Table

Traditionally, long narrow trestle-type tables, with fixed tops, so called after the monks' refectory or dining-room in the Middle Ages.

A table which incorporates some form of lengthening the top for additional sitters. The oldest type is the Draw Leaf extension table, dating from the fifteenth century, which Stephen still makes today!

The side leaves hang vertically in the closed position and are support by brackets, sliders or, in the case of the Gate-Leg table, by a hinged leg or leg frame.

These tables are normally circular or D-end and are supported by a central podium or pillar terminating in three (tripod) or four legs. The top of round, or circular, tables cannot be too large to ensure that it will remain rigid on the pillar support.

Rectangular tables with drawers on the long side and, occasionally, small flaps at the end supported by brackets.

A generic term usually referring to all types of occasional table that are placed against a wall, writing tables, hall tables, etc.

This table is, strictly, a bracketed table-top without legs fixed to a wall and supporting a pier-mirror, but this term now generally encompasses all side tables placed against a wall.

Originally, these were small circular tables with tray-type tops, but now the term embraces a wide range of low occasional tables, as you will see on our web site.

Different Types of Chair

As the name suggests, this chair is for use with a dining table. The finish of the chair is normally matched to that of the table and, elements of the table can even be incorporated into the chair design too.

These chairs have a rush seat, rather than a wooden seat, which normally drops into the chair frame. Some rush seats are fixed onto the frame itself. The Ladderback and Spindleback chairs normally have a rush seat.

This frame chair has a back support made up of horizontal slats/bars, which give the appearance of a ladder. The slats are normally shaped, and include the wavy line style.

This chair is made with a solid wooden seat, which is shaped (saddled) to make it more comfortable, and normally has a curved back made using steam bent pieces of wood. The term 'Windsor' was derived as a result of chair makers congregating in the woodlands, around the Thames Valley, Slough, and selling their products in Windsor market.

This style of chair has a swivel seat, normally with arm rests, and thus is more suited to a study or home office space than a dining room.

This chair does not have arm rests. It is normally part of a set for a dining table, with two arm chairs at either end.

Different Types of Bed

A divan bed is normally a deep solid support, with a sprung surface, on which a mattress can rest. The divan base normally has drawers in the sides, providing storage. We can make our bed frames around divan bases, so if you have an existing set you would like to keep please get in touch to discuss more.

This bed, as the name suggests, is lower to the floor and does not have long bed posts. It normally has a headboard and either a footboard or end rail.

This is a very low bed frame on which a mattress rests and is raised slightly from the ground. It is more common in contemporary settings, where only a simple square construction is required.

This bed originated in France, and translates to 'lit bateau'. The bed itself has both a head and foot board which are curved, finishing with a rolled/round top bar. Some manufacturers now sell 'sleigh' beds which have flat panels in the head and foot and only keep a curved design on the posts/supports.

This bed has four long posts, and normally a head and foot board. The posts are normally turned, and can be quite slender.

A bed which has a short canopy which extends from the tall posts at the head end. Although called 'half tester' the canopy does not normally extend across half of the bed.

In the UK, this bed is commonly regarded as a bed with four long posts and a full tester/canopy/ceiling. However, this term can also be used to describe a bed with the four posts only, and no canopy (as per 'pencil post' above).

This bed, as with the 'four poster', has four bed posts and a full tester. The canopy can be left open, or can be finished with a fabric or wood ceiling/roof.

This bed or, more specifically, mattress is filled with water. It is also normally heated, for comfort. It is entirely possible to have a waterbed built into a four poster bed frame too.

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