10 Home Decor Words You’re Probably Mispronouncing

How to pronounce the word armoire

As with fashion and food, the influences of home decor span the globe. So it’s no surprise that some design terms can be a linguistic nightmare. The good news is, you don’t need a French degree to get these words right, because you’ve got us. We’ve created an easy pronunciation guide for the most commonly mispronounced words. With a little practice, they’ll be rolling off your tongue in no time — and you’ll impress even your most highbrow friends.

For the following terms, we’ve included the phonetic spelling of their native origin.

1. Armoire: (French) arm-WAAR

A tall wardrobe or moveable cabinet that dates back as far as the 16th century. Today, armoires fulfill a variety of storage needs for today’s homeowner that have nothing to do with its original purpose: storing a king’s robe. A common mispronunciation is: arm-WAH.

How to pronounce the word bergere

2. Bergère: (French) bur-ZHAIR

An armchair with exposed wooden framing and upholstered back and seat. Bergère chairs became popular in 17th century France amongst nobility, and were often made out of gilded walnut or beechwood and upholstered in jacquard silk.

How to pronounce the word cachepot

3. Cachepot: (French) CASH-poh

An ornamental vessel used to hold flowers and often used to conceal a flowerpot. A common mispronunciation is: cash-POT.

How to pronounce the word chaise lounge

4. Chaise Longue: (French) shez lawng

An upholstered sofa in the shape of a chair that is long enough to support the outstretched legs. A literal translation is “long chair.” A common mispronunciation is: shayze lounge.

5. Faux bois: (French) foh-BWAH

The artistic imitation of wood or wood grains in various media. This craft has roots in the Renaissance. The translation is “false wood.”

How to pronounce the word foyer

6. Foyer: (French) foy-YAY

The front entrance hall in a home or building. A common mispronunciation is: foy-yerr

How to pronounce the word ikat

7. Ikat: (Indonesian) EE-kaht

A fabric in which the yarns have been tie-dyed before weaving. A common mispronunciation is: EYE-cat.

2015 Southern Living Idea House designed by Bunny Williams in Charlottesville, Virginia

8. Kilim: (Turkish) KEY-lim

A flat-woven, reversible rug. A common mispronunciation is: KY-lim or key-LEEM

Sybil settee with art above it

9. Settee: (French) set-TEA

A long seat with back and arms that is made for more than one person. A common mispronunciation is: set-tay

How to pronounce the word Thonet

10. Thonet: (German, Austrian) toe-net

A German-Austrian furniture maker who invented bentwood furniture. Also a reference name for bentwood furniture. A common mispronunciation is: tho-NAY.

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Patricia Palermo

Patricia Palermo

Patricia Palermo has been writing about home décor and design since 1999, which is when she first learned the term faux bois. She's passionate about helping others find their design style, because she believes with a little know-how and inspiration, anyone can decorate with confidence. Patricia has a degree in Journalism and lives in Atlanta with her husband and four-year-old twins.


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    December 10, 2020

    Don’t forget jabot…

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    Nicolas DeBoisaison

    September 8, 2020

    So… foy-YAY is the new mispronunciation of Foyer. The correct way to say it would be Fwah-yih (like yippee)

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    Vanita Mann

    July 15, 2020

    Thank you for sharing this information. It’s very enlightening.

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    July 2, 2016

    Thanks for the chuckle, Ballard’s. Arrogance aside, your resources appear somewhat inaccurate, but I suppose attitude is everything. As a young woman, I found an established dictionary (i.e., Oxford, Webster) the most reliable method of ensuring correct pronunciation, I highly recommend it today.

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    Ginger Johnson

    April 5, 2016

    Most enjoyable and entertaining! I think you did a great job and would not think of correcting you even if I thought I was right!

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    March 6, 2016

    I enjoyed this idea ! However in order to teach, the teacher must know the subject. Some words were spelled wrong or country of origin were wrong. Please keep this going, it will be fun to learn more.

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    March 6, 2016

    No, no, no, no, no!

    It is pronounced BARE (to be naked) or BEAR (as in the animal) —ZHAIR.

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    March 3, 2016

    Sonya is right! “Lounge” is definitely not French! Neither is “settee” which is a variation of the old English word “settle”. You might also have added “palette” which many decorators mispronounce and even spell ”pallet”…

    I had never heard of a “madalene” chair but if, as I suspect, it is French, it should be “madeleine”.

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    March 3, 2016

    Chaise longue is French for long chair, not chaise lounge. Hence the common mispronunciation.

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      March 4, 2016

      Ballarddesign.com hasn’t corrected the spelling yet from “chaise lounge” to “chaise longue”. They need to show people how to spell it correctly, as well as pronounce it. This is really going to confuse people even more.

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    L Marshall

    March 2, 2016

    I do see a comma between German and Austrian, indicating two distinct countries, I believe.

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    February 25, 2016

    Very helpful. Never took the time to learn French and it’s definitely not pronounced as it is spelled!

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    February 24, 2016

    Lots of fun, you should research the thonet more, as a genealogical back ground you are either German or Austrian but not German austrian

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    R. Pyper

    February 22, 2016

    These are all good—could also add chinoiserie and etagere.

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      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 22, 2016

      Great idea. Thanks!

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    Kim C.

    February 18, 2016

    Wow! Sure did find it helpful. I had at least four of them wrong! Thanks for the definitions too.