At Red Thread we work with small start-ups on up to Fortune 500 companies. We well know that not every company has a Facilities Planner that can take care of all the details. Developing a new workplace can be a daunting task, especially when you are doing it for the first time. We’ve created a handy glossary of terms to ease you into the furniture speak!


Acoustical panel:
A systems furniture panel with acoustical properties that absorbs sound providing a higher STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating for the overall workspace.

Adjacency Requirements:
This is programming information that is essential when beginning a space design and involves determining the most functional proximity of various personnel groups and equipment areas in a work environment.

Adjustable Arms:
Refers to the adjustability of chair arm rest, typically on a task chair. They can be height adjustable (vertical), width adjustable (height), rotating and/or have a sliding arm pad.

Adjustable Glides:
Alternately referred  to as “levelers” these are located on the base of furniture to help level it on uneven flooring.

American National Standards Institute. ANSI/BIFMA Safety and performance standards are developed by the BIFMA (see below) Engineering Committee. The standards are reviewed every five years and intended to provide manufacturers with a common basis for evaluating safety, durability, and the structural adequacy of furniture items.

This feature ensures that a drawer will stay closed and not spontaneously open or recoil when it is closed with normal force.

Area Takeoff:
The tabulation of area in square feet or yardage, this information is used to qualify spaces in planning and budgeting efforts.

The computer program used by most architecture and interior design industry professionals to generate drawings.

Back Pitch:
Refers to the angle of a chairs back in relation to the seat.

Base Cap:
A solid cap that fits over part of a metal base.

Base Power Infeed:
The power source connection from the buildings electrical current to the systems furniture panel.

B/B/F Pedestal:
Abbreviation for Box/Box/File pedestal. The word pedestal (or commonly referred to as a “ped”) is a filing unit, typically about 15” wide and located under a work surface top. A “box” is a drawer 6” high used for smaller items, such as pencils and calculators. The file drawer is about 12” high and a standard hanging file compartment.

Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association.

Block Diagram:
Created in the programming phase, this rough diagram shows space allocation in correct proportion of each department and their proposed locations within the space.

Boat Shaped Table Top:
A rectangular shaped table top design that, in plain view has 2 short sides that are flat and 2 long sides that are bowed outward in a convex shape so as to allow for better person to person vision around a long conference table.

Book Match:
Sheets of laminate or veneer are laid so that the back of one sheet is matched to the face of an adjacent sheet, like facing pages in a book.

Box Drawer:
A 6” high drawer in a pedestal.

The work surface that connects a desk and credenza that forms a U-shaped configuration around the user.

Bullet Top:
Used in place of a standard desk in “L” or “U” configurations, a bullet top is essentially a work surface that gets its name from its shape. Viewed from above, it has a round circular shape at the end which is typically supported by a post or leg.

A support leg that allows knee clearance for the user underneath the work surface.

Refers to free standing office furniture.

Used in the specification phase, this abbreviation stands for “Customer’s Own Leather.”

Used in the specification phase, this abbreviation stands for “Customer’s Own Material.”

Contract Furniture:
Furniture obtained by contract through dealers or manufacturers and generally developed for commercial use to meet the safety regulations and rigors of a public environment.

Smalls weights in the base of a tall file cabinet that keep it from tipping over when a loaded drawer is open.

In a private office setting, it is a work surface/storage unit located behind the user and in a conference room it can be used for serving as well as provide additional storage.

Defeat Mechanism:
The mechanism that helps prevent a file cabinet from accidentally tipping over.

A term referring to the weight of a cubic foot of foam. When specifying seating, the greater the density, the more material in the foam and the more durable the product.

Direct Pressure Laminate:
A sheet of melamine bonded to particle board. It is much less durable than high-pressure laminate.

Double Pedestal Desk:
A desk configuration that consists of left and right pedestal files and knee space in the center for the user.

A method of joining two pieces of wood utilizing a flaring triangular shape that fits perfectly into a corresponding negative shape forming an interlocking fit.

A small rounded piece of wood usually made of birch or maple, used for making or strengthening joints.

Drawer Configuration:
The layout of drawers within a pedestal often seen as box/box/file or file/file.

Drum Base:
A large cylindrical base used to support a table or work surface.

End Panel:
A panel that runs the entire depth of a freestanding work surface and does not allow for knee clearance for the user.

End Trim:
On a system furniture panel, it refers to the finished vertical end cap.

Furniture designed to provide optimal comfort and to avoid stress or injury.

Executive Chair:
A high back, padded desk chair.

Face Veneer:
The veneer on the most visible surfaces.

F/F Pedestal:
Stands for file/file pedestal, typically about 15” wide and located under a work surface top.

Flipper Door:
Refers to the door on an overhead storage unit in a workstation that are typically hinged at the top and lift up or into the storage unit.

Floor Core:
The process of drilling through the slab of a floor to bring power and telecom/data capability to a room or area.

Refers to furniture not supported by panel systems.

Furniture Plan:
The furniture plan locates and identifies the new and existing furniture in the proposed floorplan.

Small, adjustable feet on a large piece of furniture or systems furniture panel in order to make it level.

A finished hole in a work surface to allow for wires.

High Pressure Laminate:
A laminate composed of six to eight layers of building material that have been bonded with resin then topped with a melamine plastic facing. Often high pressure laminates are used in office furniture to add durability to a piece of furniture without sacrificing its appearance.

A storage unit that sits on top of a credenza. Typically seen in a private office setting.

A device used to lock two or more drawers together that allows only one drawer to be open at a time to preventing tipping.

Inside Delivery:
A special request to have the furniture delivered inside the customers facility.

Keyboard Tray:
A unit that attaches to the underside of a work surface to hold a keyboard.

In the base of the systems furniture panel, refers to the hole provided for an electrical or data outlet.

Lateral file:
A filing cabinet that is wider than is deep to allow for side to side filing, typically come in widths of 30”, 36” and 42”.

A material formed by fusing two separate materials together. The term laminate can be used to describe both high pressure laminate and direct pressure laminate.

Lead Time:
The amount of time needed for production and delivery of a piece of furniture after order entry.

Load Bar:
A bar mounted either to a wall or to a systems furniture panel to which accessories are mounted.

The corner connector used when two panels meet at a 90 degree angle. Also referred to as a 2 way connector.

Lumbar Support:
A standard available option on a good quality task chair that provides support for the lower back.

A plastic resin used to coat direct pressure laminate, and used between the layers of high density laminate. Melamine may also refer to direct pressure laminate, which is less durable of the two laminates available for office furniture.

Built in counters, shelving, cabinetry, wall or ceiling paneling, moldings etc. usually fabricated off site.

Move Coordination:
Optional services which include scheduling of contractors, moving and delivering crews, and installers to assist the owner of occupying space.

Mobile Pedestal:
A small storage unit that has casters to allow for mobility. Typically used for files and/or personal storage. Most can be ordered with a cushion on top to allow for informal seating.

Off Modular:
The Ability for systems furniture components to join into perpendicular panel at any increment, rather than the ends of the panel only.

Open Plan:
Partitions put together usually in the center of an office space to create an open working environment. Typically it does not have a door or a ceiling.

Produced by recessing the modesty panel when the work surface overhangs the modesty panel. Overhangs vary from 6” to 11”.

Panel Creep:
When planning multiple workstation clusters for a space, it is the dimension of a panels thickness multiplied by how many times it occurs over the length of the space.

Panel Mount:
The ability to mount and hang storage units, work surfaces and accessories to a systems furniture panel.

Also referred to as a ped, is a filing unit, typically about 15” wide and located under a worksurface top. Can be fixed or mobile and can have different storage configurations.

Peninsula Top:
Also called a p-top, it is a primary work surface designed with one rounded end to provide a comfortable meeting space with multiple users gathered around.

Plan View:
An aerial view of space, room or piece of furniture.

Pneumatic Height Adjustment:
On a task chair, allows different size users to adjust the seat height.

Posture Control:
Allows the back rest to tilt independently of the seat, allowing adjustments in back patch.

Power Infeed:
The electrical connection used to provided systems furniture with the buildings power source.

Power Pole:
A floor to ceiling pole, similar to a small column bringing power to a telephone/data wiring to a workstation pod, in lieu of a floor feed.

Power Whip:
Industry slang for a power source that connects the buildings electricity to the systems furniture or cubicle.

The initial stage of a project in which spatial requirements are determined considering numbers and classifications of personnel, size and departments, anticipated future expansions or reductions, and required adjacencies.

Punch List:
The list that is generated after the project’s completion to indicate any items that are missing or damaged. Applies to architecture as well as to furniture.

Polyvinyl Chloride.

Quadradplex Outlet:
Also known as a quad, it is an electrical outlet with 4 receptacles.

Quick Ship:
A program offered by most furniture manufacturers making some of their most popular or easily manufactured products available with accelerated lead times.

The channel provided within a systems furniture panel to run electrical and data cabling to the outlets.

Radius Styling:
The rounded edge on the tops of desks and credenzas.

Remanufactured Furniture:
The reuse of core components in a workstation that can be returned to a new condition with OEM warranties and safety assurances renewed as well.

The side work surface stemming from the users primary work surface creating an L-shape in plan.

Schematic Plan:
A preliminary space plan showing the proposed form and location of the primary components of the space. It provides, in plan view, a graphic depiction of the architectural elements, the furniture, and their interrelationship.

The easy to remove portions of a systems furniture panel that allow for different kinds of surfaces from markerboard to upholstered tack board.

Sliding Seat Pan:
An option on many task chairs that allows the seat to move from front to back in order to accommodate different leg lengths.

Space Plan:
Is a preliminary layout which graphically illustrates basic needs, future growth and adjacencies as defined by the project statement. It is drawn as if the building were “sliced” horizontally, the room and ceiling removed and view above. It indicates placement of walls and type of construction, wall penetrations (doors, windows) defined exit ways, circulation within the area being planned support areas (such as file rooms, libraries, raised floor computer areas, etc) along with their relationship to existing building elements. Furniture and equipment layouts will provide an understanding of the general use of the spaces being presented.

The ordering information for a piece of furniture. Typically includes the manufacturers item number, color, finish, size, and any other options specific to the piece.

The Common center panel running down the middle of a workstation pod that all perpendicular panels connect into.

Tack board:
A fabric covered tackable surface generally mounted to the panel or wall between the top of a work surface and the bottom of an overhead cabinet.

Task Chair:
The type of an office or desk chair. It is generally comfortable and adjustable and can swivel 360 degrees.

Task Light:
The additional light source commonly provided at a desk or workstation. Can be freestanding or mounted underneath an overhead storage cabinet.

Tension Control:
A mechanical feature usually adjusted by a knob located under the seat of a chair that controls the degree of resistance the chair provides when leaning back.

Top Cap:
The finished piece of the top of a workstation post or panel.

Tongue And Groove:
A joint made by fitting a tongue on the edge of a board into a matching groove on another board.

Transaction Top:
A work surface typically mounted at 42” high and intended for receiving standing visitors such as at a reception station.

“U” Shaped Work Station:
A piece of furniture consisting of a single pedestal desk and a single pedestal credenza connected on one side by a flat top and modesty panel.

A thin strip of real wood glued on to a substrate of plywood or particle board.

Vertical File:
A filing cabinet that is deeper than it is wide, in which records can only be stored front to back.

Vertical Raceway Panel:
A panel with an interior vertical cavity to bring power and data above work surface height.

Wall Mount:
Refers to the installation of systems furniture pieces that are mounted directly to a drywall partition, rather than hung from a furniture panel.

Wardrobe Cabinet:
A personal storage unit in a workspace designed to hold a coat, jacket, or other hanging items.

Wire Management:
Characteristics of a piece of furniture that conceal wires and power chords from view.

A table or desk with three sided partition around it, usually made for individual work.