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Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling Terminology

Remodeling Terminology

Kitchen and bath remodeling businesses use jargon like any other business. When you decide to remodel the kitchen and bathroom, you hear a lot of specific terms used by designers, contractors, and retailers. Understanding these terms is essential for any homeowner undertaking a remodeling project. This comprehensive guide to kitchen and bathroom remodeling terminology will equip you with the knowledge to communicate effectively with professionals and make informed decisions about the design and functionality of your space. From essential fixtures to intricate design elements, this dictionary covers all the key terms you’ll encounter during your remodeling journey.


Accent Tiles: Decorative tiles used to add visual interest to a wall or floor layout, often featuring unique designs, colors, or textures.

ADA Compliant: Refers to bathroom designs and fixtures that meet the accessibility standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Alcove Tub: A bathtub installed in a three-wall enclosure, common in smaller bathrooms.

Apron Front Sink: A deep sink with a front that extends over the cabinet edge, commonly used in farmhouse-style kitchens.

Accent Lighting: Lighting that focuses light on a particular area or object, enhancing the aesthetic or ambiance of a space.

Aspect Ratio (Bathroom Layout): The ratio of the width to the length of a bathroom, impacting layout options.


Backsplash: Material used to cover the space between a countertop and the upper cabinets to protect the wall from splashes and spills.

Back-to-Wall Toilet: A toilet design with a concealed cistern within the wall or a furniture unit offers a cleaner look and saves space.

Bump-Out: Extending a wall outward to create additional space in a kitchen or bathroom remodel.

Base Cabinets: Cabinets installed on the floor that support countertops and house most of the storage in a kitchen.

Bathroom Renovation: The act of renewing or updating a bathroom, often involving replacing fixtures, flooring, and finishes.

Bathtub Re-Glazing: The process of applying a new glossy coating to a bathtub to restore its shine and improve its appearance.

Beadboard: Decorative wall paneling with a raised profile resembling a row of beads, commonly used for a classic look in kitchens and bathrooms.

Bidet: A plumbing fixture next to the toilet used for personal hygiene (A bathroom fixture used for washing genitals and perineum, typically installed next to the toilet).

Biophilic Design: A design approach incorporating natural elements like plants, light, and natural materials to create a calming and healthy environment applicable to kitchens and bathrooms.

Butler’s Pantry: A service room between the kitchen and dining room, used for storing serving items and sometimes equipped with a sink, countertop, and refrigerator.


Cabinet Hardware: Handles, knobs, and pulls mounted on cabinet doors and drawers.

Cabinet Refacing: The process of replacing cabinet doors and drawer fronts with new ones while keeping the existing cabinet frames for a more affordable update.

Caulking: A waterproof sealing used to fill the joint between tiles, tubs, and sinks to prevent water penetration.

Carrara Marble: A white or gray marble with veined patterns, popular for countertops and vanities due to its elegant look.

Clawfoot Tub: A freestanding bathtub with claw-shaped feet, often used in vintage or traditional bathroom designs.

Color Psychology: The study of how colors impact human emotions and behavior, which can be used strategically in kitchen and bathroom design to create a desired mood.

Console Sink: A sink mounted on a table-like structure, providing an open, airy look.

Corner Kitchen: A layout that utilizes corner space for cabinets and appliances, optimizing available rooms in smaller or awkwardly shaped kitchens.


Design: The planning phase where the layout, style, materials, and colors are selected for a kitchen or bathroom project. This includes creating floor plans, choosing cabinetry styles, and selecting fixtures.

Demolition: The removal of existing fixtures, flooring, and finishes in preparation for a kitchen or bathroom remodel.

Demolition Day: The day dedicated to removing existing fixtures, flooring, and finishes in a remodel project.

Double L-Shaped Kitchen: An advanced version of the L-shaped layout that includes an additional work triangle on an island or another kitchen segment, suitable for multiple cooks and large spaces.

Double Vanity: A bathroom vanity that includes two sinks and is often used in master bathrooms for shared use.

Drainpipe: The pipe that carries wastewater away from fixtures like sinks and bathtubs.

Drain-Waste-Vent System (DWV): The system of pipes carries away wastewater and sewage from sinks, tubs, and toilets and regulates air in the pipes to ensure proper drainage.

Drop-In Sink: A sink on the countertop, with the rim visible.


Eat-In Kitchen: A kitchen design incorporating a dining area within the kitchen space allows a casual and convenient dining experience.

Eco-Friendly Materials: Sustainable building materials have a minimal environmental impact and are made from recycled content.

Ensuite Bathroom: A bathroom directly connected to a bedroom, often found in master bedrooms.

Epoxy Grout: A type of grout that is highly resistant to stains and water damage and is used for filling in tile joints.


Farmhouse Sinks: Another term for an apron front sink, characterized by its deep basin and exposed front, fitting for rustic or country-style kitchens.

Fixtures: Plumbing components like faucets, showerheads, toilets, bidets, and sinks.

Floating Vanity: A wall-mounted bathroom vanity with a modern look and the illusion of more space.

Floorplan: A scaled drawing showing the layout of a room, including walls, windows, doors, and fixture placement.

French Doors (Cabinets): Cabinet doors with two hinged panels that meet in the center, offering wider access to the cabinet interior.

Functional Design: A design approach prioritizes practicality and ease of use in a kitchen or bathroom.

Freestanding Tub: A tub that stands alone without support from walls or other surfaces.


Galley Kitchen: A layout featuring parallel countertops and workspaces, with a walkway in between. Efficient for small spaces and one-cook kitchens.

Granite Countertops: Popular kitchen and bathroom countertops made from natural granite stone, known for their durability and natural patterns.

Grout: The material used to fill the spaces between tiles to secure them in place and prevent moisture from getting underneath.


Handheld Showerhead: A type of showerhead that can be detached from its holder for direct manual control by hand.

Hardwood Flooring: Flooring made from solid wood planks, a popular choice in kitchens and living areas for its durability and aesthetic appeal.

Herringbone Pattern: A distinctive arrangement of rectangular tiles or wood pieces used for floors or backsplashes that resembles the bones of a fish.

High-Efficiency Toilets (HET): Toilets designed to use significantly less water per flush compared to standard models.

His and Hers Sinks: Dual sinks in a master bathroom, typically part of a larger vanity, allowing for simultaneous use by two people.

Home Improvement Loan: A loan specifically designed to finance home improvement projects, including kitchen and bathroom remodels.

Horseshoe Kitchen: Another term for a U-shaped kitchen layout, where cabinets and appliances surround the cook on three sides for maximum efficiency.


Inlay Tile: Tiles that are decorated by setting pieces of material into the surface to form a design, often used for decorative borders.

Integrated Appliances: Appliances that are seamlessly built-in to cabinets, creating a clean and streamlined look in the kitchen.

Integrated Sink: A sink and countertop made from the same material and blend seamlessly.

Island: A freestanding cabinet accessible from all sides, often used for additional counter space, seating, or as a work area in the kitchen


Jack and Jill Bathroom: A bathroom that is shared between two bedrooms, with doors entering from each room

Joist: Horizontal structural members used to support floors or ceilings.


Kick Plate: A protective plate installed at the bottom of a door to prevent damage from kicks or bumps.

Kitchen and Bath Remodeling: The process of making improvements or alterations to the kitchen and bathrooms in a home. This often involves updating fixtures, cabinets, countertops, and appliances in the kitchen, as well as vanities, showers, tubs, and tiling in the bathroom. Kitchen and bathroom remodeling aims to enhance functionality and aesthetic appeal and increase the property’s overall value. It can range from minor updates to complete renovations involving structural changes, plumbing, and electrical adjustments.

Kitchen Design: The process of planning and creating a kitchen layout that meets your functional and aesthetic needs.

Kitchen Makeover: A comprehensive renovation project that may involve updating cabinets, countertops, flooring, appliances, and lighting to transform the entire kitchen.

Kitchen Renovation: The act of renewing or updating a kitchen, often involving


Laminate Countertops: Countertops made by bonding layers of materials together, known for their affordability and variety of patterns.

Light Fixture: An electrical device that provides illumination in a room. Common types in kitchens and bathrooms include pendant lights, recessed lights, and sconces.

Live Edge Countertop: A countertop made from natural wood with the natural, uneven edge of the tree trunk preserved, offering a rustic and unique look.

Low-Flow Faucets: Faucets are designed to use less water by restricting flow rates without reducing water pressure.

L-Shaped Kitchen: A layout featuring countertops on two perpendicular walls, forming an L shape. Ideal for medium-sized kitchens and offers good workflow and traffic patterns.


Makeover: Often refers to cosmetic updates to a kitchen or bathroom, such as painting cabinets, changing hardware, or updating lighting, without significant structural changes.

Medicine Cabinet: A small cabinet typically mounted on the wall, used for storing medications and toiletries.

Modular Kitchen: A kitchen design comprising various pre-manufactured cabinet and drawer units that can be configured to fit individual space and style preferences.

Mosaic Tiles: Small, often colorful tiles used in backsplash, flooring, or as accent pieces in both kitchens and bathrooms.

Mudroom: An entryway or laundry room with built-in storage for shoes, coats, and other outdoor gear, often located near the kitchen or bathroom for added functionality.

Multiple Showerheads: A shower with two or more showerheads, allowing for a more luxurious showering experience.


Natural Stone Countertops: Countertops made from natural stones like granite, marble, and quartzite, valued for their durability and unique patterns.

Niche (Bathroom): A built-in shelf or recess in the bathroom wall, used for storing toiletries or decorative items.

Non-Slip Tile: Tiles with a textured or matte surface that provide better traction and reduce the risk of slipping, especially important for bathroom floors.

Non-Slip Surface: Surfaces designed to prevent slipping, especially when wet, commonly used for bathroom floors.


Open Concept Kitchen: A kitchen design that removes barriers such as walls and doors to create a single, large space typically combining the kitchen, living room, and dining area.

Open Floor Plan: A layout where kitchen, dining, and living areas flow into one another, creating a sense of spaciousness and connection.

Overlay (Cabinet Door): A term referring to how cabinet doors lay over the cabinet frame, with variations including full overlay, partial overlay, and inset.

Overmount Sink: A type of sink installed on top of the counter with its rim resting on top, as opposed to under-mounted sinks.


Pantry: A storage area or room off the kitchen used for food storage and possibly small kitchen appliances.

Pedestal Sink: A sink that stands on a single pedestal and does not require a countertop.

Pendant Lights: Light fixtures that hang from the ceiling over islands, sinks, or dining areas, providing task lighting and visual interest.

Peninsula: A countertop extension accessible from three sides, similar to an island but anchored on one end to wall or cabinets, effective in L-shaped or U-shaped kitchens to add extra workspace or dining area.

Plumbing: The system of pipes and fixtures that carry water and waste throughout a building.

Pocket Door: A door that slides into a pocket in the wall when opened, saving space in tight areas like bathrooms.

Powder Room: A small bathroom usually located on the main floor of a home, consisting of a toilet and sink but no bathtub or shower.

Porcelain Tile: A dense, durable, and water-resistant type of tile used for floors, walls, and countertops in kitchens and bathrooms.


Quartz Countertops: Engineered stone countertops made from crushed quartz mixed with resin, offering the appearance of natural stone but with increased durability.

Quartzite: A natural stone that is harder than granite and often used for countertops; not to be confused with quartz, an engineered stone.


Recessed Lighting: Lighting fixtures installed into an opening in the ceiling, providing a clean, streamlined look and often used for general lighting.

Remodeling: The process of changing the structure, layout, or design of a kitchen or bathroom to improve functionality, aesthetics, or both.

Renovation: Refers to the process of restoring or updating the kitchen or bathroom, often keeping the same layout but updating fixtures, finishes, and equipment.

Renovation Contractor: A licensed professional who manages and oversees kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects.

Return (Cabinetry): The end piece of a run of cabinets that connects to a wall.

Roman Tub: A freestanding bathtub designed for reclining bathing, often featuring claw feet and a showerhead attachment.

Rough-In: The stage in a plumbing or electrical remodel where pipes and wires are installed before walls are closed.


Sconce: A type of wall-mounted light fixture, often used on either side of a bathroom mirror for balanced lighting.

Shiplap: Wood panels with a rustic appearance where each plank overlaps slightly, commonly used for walls and ceilings in kitchens and bathrooms.

Shower Enclosure: The structure that surrounds a shower stall, typically made of glass or fiberglass panels.

Shower Pan: The watertight base of a shower stall that slopes towards a drain.

Single-Wall Kitchen: A layout with cabinets and appliances fixed on a single wall, ideal for loft or studio spaces.

Smart Home Technology: Integrating voice-controlled lighting, smart thermostats, or automated water shutoff valves into your kitchen or bathroom for convenience and control.

Soft Close: A feature on cabinet doors and drawers ensures they close gently and silently.

Steam Shower: A shower stall with a steam generator allows for a spa-like steam bathing experience.

Stone Veneer: Thin slices of natural stone applied to a backing material to create the look of solid stone walls at a lower cost, commonly used for bathroom walls.

Subway Tiles: Rectangular ceramic tiles commonly used for backsplashes and walls, known for their classic, versatile design.


Tear-Out: Another term for demolition day.

Tile Backsplash: A backsplash made from ceramic, porcelain, stone, or glass tiles, offering a durable and easy-to-clean surface in kitchens and bathrooms.

Toe Kick: The recessed space at the bottom of the base cabinets, allowing you to stand closer to the countertop.

Toilet Flange: A fitting that connects the bottom of the toilet to the drainpipe.

Triangle Work Zone (Work Triangle): A concept in kitchen design that places the refrigerator, stove, and sink at three points of a triangle to optimize efficiency.


Universal Design: An approach to design that creates spaces that are accessible and usable by people of all ages and abilities, applicable to both kitchens and bathrooms.

Universal Design Checklist: A list of features that promote accessibility in kitchens and bathrooms, such as wider doorways, grab bars, and lower counter heights.

Undercounter Sink: A sink mounted underneath the countertop, creating a seamless look and making cleanup easier.

Undermount Sink: A sink mounted underneath the countertop, providing a sleek and seamless look.

Update: Minor changes or adjustments to refresh the look or functionality of a kitchen or bathroom without a full remodel or renovation.

U-Shaped Kitchen (Horseshoe): A layout that surrounds the cook on three sides with countertops, cabinets, and appliances, suitable for one primary cook and providing ample storage and workspace.


Vanity: A bathroom cabinet that includes a sink and storage, often serving as the focal point for bathroom design.

Vanity Height: The height of the countertop surface of a bathroom vanity.

Vanity Unit: A complete bathroom vanity with a sink, countertop, and cabinet base.

Ventilation Fan: A fan that removes moisture and odors from the bathroom to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Vessel Sink: A bowl-shaped sink that sits on top of the bathroom counter, rather than being set below it.


Walk-In Closet: A large closet with enough space to walk in and browse clothes, often incorporated into master bathroom designs for added convenience.

Walk-In Pantry: A dedicated storage space within or adjacent to the kitchen, offering ample space for foodstuffs and kitchen appliances, enhancing kitchen storage and organization.

Walk-In Shower: A large shower stall with enough space to walk in and out comfortably, often featuring multiple showerheads and a built-in bench.

Wall-Hung Toilet: A toilet in which the bowl and tank are mounted directly to the wall, saving floor space and making cleaning easier.

Waterfall Countertop: A countertop design where the material continues down the side of the cabinet or island to the floor, creating a continuous flow of material.

Waterproofing: The process of applying a protective layer to prevent water damage to walls, floors

Wet Bar: A small bar or counter in the kitchen or bathroom equipped with a sink and space for preparing drinks.

Work Triangle: A concept in kitchen design that places the refrigerator, stove, and sink at three points of a triangle to optimize efficiency.


Xeriscaping: Landscaping practices that use drought-tolerant plants which can be a water-saving consideration for bathroom ventilation.


Yield (Material): The amount of usable material after it has been processed or fabricated, which is important for measuring efficiency in material use when ordering tiles, countertops, or lumber.


Zero-Radius Sink: A kitchen or bathroom sink with sharp, 90-degree corners and straight edges, giving it a modern, boxy look.

Zone Lighting: Lighting designed to illuminate specific areas or zones within a kitchen or bathroom, such as task lighting over a kitchen island or ambient lighting in a bathroom.

Zone Planning (Kitchen): Dividing the kitchen into designated work zones (prep, cooking, cleaning, storage) to improve workflow and efficiency.


Understanding kitchen and bathroom remodeling terminology helps you make informed decisions and communicate clearly with designers and contractors. This comprehensive guide equips you with the language and concepts needed to navigate your kitchen and bathroom remodeling. From cabinet styles to plumbing fixtures, you now have a resource that will guide you through every stage of your kitchen or bathroom renovation, ensuring a smooth and successful project.