Part of being an interior designer is knowing the vocabulary. A good designer can discuss Kuba cloth, Greek Revival architectural details, and clerestory windows with ease. But there are other words in the design lexicon that have more fraught backstories, including origins in colonialism, prejudice, and slavery. Recently, the internet was abuzz when TMZ revealed that the Houston Association of Realtors dropped “master bedroom” from listings because some realtors felt “master” was a reminder of slavery. Many builders began shifting to “owner’s suite” a few years ago because that includes buyers of all genders (House Beautiful has dropped the term from its style guide in favor of the simple “main”).
But the truth is, there are many more examples of how problematic history has permeated our vocabularies. And in order to make an effort to combat systemic racism, we must commit to