Hospitality Design & Architecture Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms: Interior Architecture, Interior Design, Hospitality FF&E


This glossary provides definitions for key technical terms related to architecture, interior design, FF&E procurement, and hospitality design, as used by IGroup Design in our blogs and projects.


  • Accessibility: The design of spaces and products to be usable by people with disabilities, adhering to relevant building codes and accessibility standards.
  • ADA Compliance: Ensuring that a space meets the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for accessibility.
  • Aesthetics: The visual appeal and overall sensory experience of a space, encompassing factors like color, texture, lighting, and materiality.
  • Amenities: Additional features or services offered within a hospitality project, such as a spa, fitness center, or pool, designed to enhance the guest experience.


  • Brand Identity: The unique visual and messaging elements that represent a company or organization, translated into design elements within the hospitality project.
  • Budget: The allocated financial resources for a design project, encompassing construction, FF&E procurement, and other associated costs.
  • Built-in Furniture: Furniture that is permanently attached to a wall or structure, often custom-designed to optimize space and functionality.


  • Client: The individual or organization who commissions IGroup Design for a project, with specific goals and aspirations for the space.
  • Color Palette: The range of colors used in a design scheme, carefully selected to evoke desired emotions and create a cohesive aesthetic.
  • Conceptual Design: The initial phase of design, where ideas are explored through sketches, mood boards, and schematic drawings to establish a general direction.


  • Design Development: The process of refining the conceptual design into detailed plans and specifications, including architectural drawings, construction documents, and FF&E selections.
  • Demolition: The process of removing existing structures or elements within a space to prepare for new construction or renovation.
  • Door Hardware: The functional and decorative elements of doors, including handles, locks, hinges, and closers.
  • Drafting: The technical drawing process used to create detailed construction documents, such as floor plans, elevations, and sections.


  • FF&E: Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment. This encompasses all movable elements within a space, including furniture, lighting, artwork, and decorative accessories.
  • Functionality: The ability of a space to meet its intended purpose efficiently and effectively, considering factors like traffic flow, ergonomics, and accessibility.
  • Finishes: The surface materials used in a space, such as paint, wallpaper, flooring, tile, and countertops, that contribute to the overall aesthetic and functionality.
  • Fire Code Compliance: Ensuring that a space adheres to fire safety regulations and incorporates necessary fire protection measures.
  • Furniture Selection: The process of choosing furniture pieces that align with the design aesthetic, functionality needs, and budget constraints of the project.


  • Guest Experience: The overall impression and emotions a guest feels while interacting with a hospitality project, influenced by design elements, service quality, and overall ambiance.


  • Hospitality Design: The specialized field of design focused on creating spaces for hotels, restaurants, spas, and other hospitality businesses, tailored to enhance the guest experience.


  • Interior Design: The process of designing the interior of a space, including furniture, finishes, lighting, and FF&E selection, to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing environment.


  • Joist: A horizontal structural member that supports the floor or ceiling of a building.
  • J-Box: An electrical junction box used to connect multiple wires within a wall or ceiling.


  • Key Fob Access: A system utilizing key fobs or RFID cards for secure access control within corporate hospitality spaces, such as conference rooms or executive lounges.
  • Kitchen Design: (for Corporate Settings): This could be further specified as designing functional and visually appealing kitchens within corporate office spaces, catering areas, or break rooms, considering factors like ergonomic layouts, high-traffic use, and integration with technology (coffee machines, smart appliances).
  • Key Visuals: These are the most prominent and recognizable design elements used to represent a brand or project, often incorporated into corporate hospitality spaces to create a cohesive visual identity.
  • Kiosk: Self-service kiosks can be used in corporate hospitality settings for various purposes, such as check-in, ordering food and beverages, or accessing information.
  • Knockdown Furniture: This type of furniture is designed to be easily assembled and disassembled, potentially useful in corporate hospitality settings requiring flexibility or temporary setups.


  • Layout: The arrangement of furniture, fixtures, and other elements within a space, optimized for functionality, traffic flow, and visual appeal.
  • Lighting: The use of artificial and natural light to create a desired ambiance and functionality, considering factors like task lighting, accent lighting, and overall lighting design principles.


  • Millwork: Custom-made woodwork elements, such as cabinetry, trim, moldings, and architectural details, often used to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of a space.
  • Mood Board: A visual representation of the overall design direction, using images, colors, materials, and textures to convey the desired aesthetic and ambiance.


  • Niche: A recessed space in a wall, often used to display artwork, sculptures, or other decorative elements.
  • Natural Light: Daylight entering a space through windows or skylights, contributing to energy efficiency and occupant well-being.
  • Non-Load-Bearing Wall: A wall that does not support the weight of the building above it, offering more flexibility for design and layout changes.
  • Nook: A small, cozy space within a larger room, often used for reading, relaxing, or working.


  • Occupancy Permit: A permit issued by a local authority that allows a building to be occupied once construction and inspections are deemed complete.
  • Open Floor Plan: A design concept that minimizes dividing walls and creates a sense of spaciousness and visual connection between different areas within a space.
  • Organic Architecture: An architectural philosophy that emphasizes harmony with nature, using natural materials and forms to create buildings that blend seamlessly with their surroundings.
  • Ornamentation: Decorative elements added to a space to enhance its visual appeal, such as moldings, trim, and decorative finishes.
  • Outfitting: The process of selecting and installing furniture, fixtures, and equipment within a space, ensuring functionality and aesthetic cohesion.
  • Overhang: The horizontal projection of a roof or other structural element beyond the wall below.


  • Permitting: The process of obtaining legal approval for construction or renovation work, ensuring compliance with local building codes and regulations.
  • Procurement: The process of acquiring furniture, fixtures, and equipment for a project, involving vendor selection, cost negotiation, and quality control.
  • Project Scope: The defined boundaries and deliverables of a design project, including specific areas of focus, budget limitations, and timeline expectations.


  • Renderings: Digital images or animations that realistically depict a proposed design, providing a visual representation of the finished space for client approval.


  • Space Planning: The process of analyzing and arranging a physical space to optimize its functionality, aesthetics, and efficiency, considering factors like traffic flow, furniture placement, and code requirements.
  • Sustainability: The use of environmentally responsible design practices that minimize negative impacts, including energy efficiency, material selection, and water conservation strategies.


  • Timeline: The schedule for completing a design project, outlining key milestones and deadlines for design development, construction, and FF&E procurement.
  • Traffic Flow: The movement of people through a space, considered during the design process to ensure smooth circulation and avoid congestion.
  • Turnkey Project: A project where IGroup Design manages the entire design and construction process, from initial concept to final completion.
  • Textiles: Fabrics and other woven materials used in a space, such as upholstery, drapery, carpeting, and wall coverings, that contribute to the overall aesthetic and functionality.


  • Value Engineering: The process of analyzing and optimizing design elements to reduce costs while maintaining quality and functionality, often involving material substitutions, alternative construction methods, or FF&E value optimization.
  • Virtual Reality (VR): A technology that creates a simulated, immersive experience of a space, allowing clients and designers to virtually walk through the proposed design and experience