Are you an armchair critic?
Do you like toilet humour?
What time do you usually go up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire?
Do you sponge off anyone?
Do you often get pins and needles?
Are horror films your cup of tea?
When was the last time you had a duvet day?


Confused? Then read on. I’ve illustrated the most useful idioms and expressions about household items and furniture for your learning pleasure.

bed idioms and expressions

  • as white as a sheet
    meaning – become pale because of shock, fear, sickness
    example – Kayleigh went as white as a sheet when she was getting her tattoo done.
  • clean sheet 
    meaning – start afresh with no past mistakes/problems or concede no goals/points in a sports match
    example – After 5 matches, the Canaries still have a clean sheet.
  • don’t let the bed bugs bite
    meaning – wishing someone a good night’s sleep
    example – It’s past your bed time, go upstairs now. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.
  • duvet day
    meaning – stay in bed/under a duvet
    example – It’s going to rain all day, let’s have a duvet day and watch some films.
  • get out of the wrong side of the bed
    meaning – said to a person who is angry/irritable/bad-tempered
    example – Sorry for shouting at you this morning, I must have got out of the wrong side of bed.
  • go to the mattresses
    meaning – go to war using ruthless tactics
    example – My aunt and uncle are going to the mattresses over custody of their kids.
  • make one’s bed and lie in it
    meaning – face the consequences of one’s actions
    example – I told you not to use those cheap plumbers, you made your bed.
  • pillow talk
    meaning – intimate conversation between lovers
    example – I think he’s seeing someone else, we never have pillow talk anymore.
  • seven sheets to the wind
    meaning – very drunk
    example – We were all seven sheets to the wind last night, what a great night.
  • up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire
    meaning – go upstairs to bed
    example – Make sure the kids are up the wooden hill before 10.
bed idioms
bed idioms - as white as a sheet
bed idioms - clean sheet
bed idioms - don’t let the bed bugs bite meaning
bed expressions - duvet day
bed expressions - get out of the wrong side of the bed
bed expressions - go to the mattresses
bed expressions - make one’s bed and lie in it
pillow sayings - pillow talk
bed idioms - three sheets to the wind
bed expressions - up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire

bucket idioms and expressions

  • bucket down
    meaning – rain heavily
    example – It has been bucketing down all day, I need to hang out my washing.
  • kick the bucket
    meaning – die
    example – When I kick the bucket, I’ll leave you my record collection.
  • pass the sick bucket
    meaning – said when you see something disgusting/public displays of affection
    example – Jaz and Dennis are all over each other, pass me the sick bucket.
bucket idioms
bucket idioms - bucket down
bucket idioms - kick the bucket idiom
bucket idioms - pass the sick bucket

chair idioms and expressions

  • armchair critic
    meaning – a person who criticises others but doesn’t have proper experience on the topic
    example – All the armchair critics are out in force. They’re telling me how to raise my baby.
  • backseat driver
    meaning – a person who interferes in something that is not their responsibility
    example – The boss is a backseat driver, try and avoid him if you can.
  • chair a meeting
    meaning – be in charge of a meeting
    example – My boss has asked me to chair our annual pensions meeting.
  • couch potato
    meaning – a lazy person who doesn’t exercise and sits on the sofa
    example – I used to be a couch potato. Now I have two rescue dogs, I’m always out.
  • fly by the seat of one’s pants
    meaning – use common sense/judgement/instinct instead of following a strict plan
    example – My cousin has no plans for the future. He just flies by the seat of his pants.
  • in the driver’s seat
    meaning – be in control
    example – Simon has left the project, I hope they put me in the driver’s seat.
  • in the hot seat
    meaning – being faced with criticism/questioning/punishment/scrutiny
    example – The director is in the hot seat, a large sum of money has disappeared.
chair idioms
furniture expressions - armchair critic
chair idioms - backseat driver
chair idioms - chair a meeting
furniture expressions - couch potato
chair idioms - fly by the seat of one’s pants
chair idioms - in the driver’s seat
chair idioms - in the hot seat

cutlery idioms and expressions

  • born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth
    meaning – born into a rich family
    example – I would hate to have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I like working for my things.
  • fork in the road
    meaning – one has to decide between two questions/options
    example – We’ve reached a fork in the road. Do we build an extension or buy a bigger house?
  • fork out
    meaning – spend money on something expensive or unnecessary
    example – I`ve forked out so much money on my girlfriend lately.
  • go under the knife
    meaning – have an operation/surgery (usually cosmetic)
    example – My knee surgery is tomorrow. I’m a little scared about going under the knife.
  • greasy spoon
    meaning – a cheap restaurant that sells cheap food
    example – If I have a hangover tomorrow, I’ll go to a greasy spoon for breakfast.
  • not the sharpest knife in the drawer
    meaning – unintelligent, stupid
    example – The guy I’m seeing isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s fit.
cutlery idioms
spoon sayings - born with a silver spoon
cutlery idioms - fork in the road
cutlery idioms - fork out
knife idioms - go under the knife
spoon sayings - greasy spoon
knife idioms - not the sharpest knife in the drawer

door idioms and expressions

  • as dead as a doornail
    meaning – most definitely dead
    example – My cactus is as dead as a doornail, I’m definitely not getting a pet.
  • at death’s door
    meaning – near death
    example – Our 14-year-old doggy is at death’s door. We had better start saying our goodbyes.
  • by/through the back door
    meaning – use secret/dishonest methods to achieve something
    example – My mate Steve can access the CCTV cameras by the back door.
  • darken somebody’s door
    meaning – make an unwanted visit
    example – Get out and never darken my door again.
  • don’t shit on your own doorstep
    meaning – don’t do something bad close to home
    example – Bob has been stealing money from his work. Talk about shitting on your own doorstep
  • doormat
    meaning – a person who is constantly abused/exploited/humiliated/treated unfairly
    example – My wife is a doormat, I humiliate her, and she still comes back for more.
  • have one’s foot in the door
    meaning – start working for a company in a low position in the hope of getting promoted
    example – I’d love to get my foot in the door at Google.
  • leave the door open
    meaning – the possibility of something happening in the future
    example – I don’t want to do the course yet; can you leave the door open for me?
  • show someone the door
    meaning – order someone to leave a place/job
    example – I was too drunk last night, they showed me the door before midnight.
door idioms
door idioms - as dead as a doornail
door idioms - at death’s door
door sayings - by the back door
door sayings - darken somebody’s door
door expressions - don't shit on your own doorstep
doormat quotes - doormat
door expressions - have one's foot in the door
door expressions - leave the door open
door expressions- show someone the door

drain idioms and expressions

  • go down the drain
    meaning – fail, disappear, be destroyed
    example – My marriage went down the drain a long time ago.
  • throw money down the drain
    meaning – waste money, buy useless things
    example – My brother is meant to be saving for a house, but he keeps throwing money down the drain.
drain idioms
drain idioms - go down the drain
drain idioms - throw money down the drain

flooring idioms and expressions

  • as snug as a bug in a rug
    meaning – warm/cosy/comfortable
    example – Let’s go home, get as snug as a bug and watch some films.
  • floor someone
    meaning – knock someone out by hitting them
    example – The champ floored the rookie boxer within 45 seconds.
  • have the floor
    meaning – the person speaking in a discussion/debate
    example – I’ve got a few more points to go through then you can have the floor.
  • roll out the red carpet
    meaning – treat someone like royalty
    example – Wales rolled out the red carpet when their rugby team arrived back with the trophy.
  • sweep something under the carpet/rug
    meaning – hide/ignore a problem
    example – Poverty is always swept under the rug by the government.
  • wipe the floor with someone/something
    meaning – easily defeat an opponent
    example – Megan wiped the floor with all the other kids at chess club.
floor/flooring idioms
floor expressions - as snug as a bug in a rug
floor expressions - floor someone
floor idioms - have the floor
carpet expressions - roll out the red carpet
carpet expressions - sweep something under the carpet/rug
floor expressions - wipe the floor with

home idioms and expressions

  • bring home the bacon
    meaning – work to earn money for the family
    example – I stay at home and look after the kids while my wife brings home the bacon.
  • charity begins at home
    meaning – you should take care of your own family before other people
    example – I can’t donate any money this month. My daughter needs new shoes, charity begin at home.
  • close to home
    meaning – a topic that affects you/makes you uncomfortable as you can relate to it
    example – Our class about the dangers of drink driving was a little close to home.
  • eat someone out of house and home
    meaning – eat a lot of someone else’s food
    example – I’m only allowed round grandma’s once a week because I eat her out of house and home.
  • go hard or go home
    meaning – put in all your effort or don’t bother
    example – I’ve put all my savings into my new business. It’s go hard or go home.
  • hammer home
    meaning – make someone understand
    example – I’m creating a campaign to hammer home the dangers of drug taking.
  • hit a home run
    meaning – do something that is very successful
    example – Our latest product is selling like crazy. We’ve hit a home run.
  • home in on
    meaning – accurately aim towards a target/destination
    example – The new treatment homes in on the cancerous cells and destroys them.
  • home sweet home
    meaning – an expression of joy at returning/being at home
    example – We’ll be home sweet home in an hour or so.
  • make oneself at home
    meaning – enter a place and behave as if you lived there
    example – You can stay at mine as long as you like, just make yourself at home.
  • play away (from home)
    meaning – cheat on your partner, be unfaithful
    example – My boyfriend has been working late a lot recently. Do you think he’s playing away?
  • the homestretch
    meaning – the final stage of a long activity
    example – After tomorrow’s exam, we’re in the homestretch.
  • till the cows come home
    meaning – for a very long time
    example – Don’t ever start an argument with Will. He can argue till the cows come home.
home idioms
home idioms - bring home the bacon
home expressions - charity begins at home
home idioms - close to home
home sayings - eat someone out of house and home
home expressions - go hard or go home
home idioms - hammer home
hit a home run meaning
home sayings - home in on
home idioms - home sweet home
home sayings - make oneself at home
home expressions - play away (from home)
home expressions - the homestretch
home idioms - till the cows come home

house idioms and expressions

  • as safe as houses
    meaning – very safe/secure
    example – The Rolex I with me, it’s as safe as houses.
  • bring the house down
    meaning – thoroughly entertain an audience
    example – One of the comedians at the open mic night brought the house down.
  • built like a brick shit house
    meaning – a large muscular person
    example – Colin is built like a brick shit house. He trains six times a week.
  • eat someone out of house and home
    meaning – eat a lot of someone else’s food
    example – I’m only allowed round grandma’s once a week because I eat her out of house and home.
  • get on like a house on fire
    meaning – quickly become good friends and have a lot in common
    example – We all got on like a house on fire at the dinner party.
  • go round the houses
    meaning – a very long and complicated way of reaching a conclusion
    example – I hate Mr Oxley’s classes. He always goes round the houses and makes it difficult.
  • household name
    meaning – a person or object that is well known by the public
    example – My aim is to make my products household names by 2020.
  • housewife/husband
    meaning – a wife/husband who stays at home and looks after the house/children
    example – After the baby is born, I’ll go to work, and Daniel will be a househusband.
  • in the doghouse
    meaning – someone is angry/annoyed with you
    example – I bought my mum her favourite flowers, so I’m out of the doghouse.
  • on the house
    meaning – free/no charge
    example – I order from the Chinese so often, they always give me stuff on the house.
  • people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones
    meaning – don’t criticise other people’s faults if you have them yourself (a hypocrite)
    example – She shouts at me for smoking, but she takes drugs. People in glass houses…
house idioms
house expressions - as safe as houses
house expressions - bring the house down
house idioms - built like a brick shit house
house idioms - eat someone out of house and home
house expressions - get on like a house on fire
house idioms - go round the houses
house idioms - household name meaning
housewife/husband meaning
house idioms - in the dog house
house expressions - on the house
house idioms - people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

key idioms and expressions

  • key in
    meaning – enter numbers or information into a device using a keyboard/keypad
    example – I keyed in the code, but the alarm won’t stop.
  • under lock and key
    meaning – safely locked away
    example – My secret recipe is hidden under lock and key, I’ll take it to my grave.
key idioms
key idioms - key in
key idioms - under lock and key

kitchen idioms and expressions

  • as much use as a chocolate teapot
    meaning – totally useless
    example – I hired a new guy, he’s as much use as a chocolate teapot.
  • bun in the oven
    meaning – be pregnant I’m sure
    example – Tilly has a bun in the oven, look at the shape of her stomach.
  • different kettle of fish
    meaning – something is different from the thing you have been talking about
    example – I said I’d spend an afternoon with him, a week is a different kettle of fish.
  • everything but the kitchen sink
    meaning – including absolutely everything
    example – Lisa has a hair dryer, she took everything but the kitchen sink.
  • flash in the pan
    meaning – someone/something that is only successful for a short period of time
    example – They were only a flash in the pan, but they had a few good songs.
  • go to pot
    meaning – deteriorate
    example – My nan’s garden is going to pot, she’s too weak to cut the grass now.
  • have a lot on one’s plate
    meaning – have too much work/many things to deal with
    example – We can’t go on holiday this year, we’ve got too much on our plates.
  • if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen
    meaning – if you can’t cope with the pressure, stop doing it
    example – My firm is the best in the UK. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
  • memory like a sieve
    meaning – very forgetful/have an extremely bad memory
    example – Can you write me a list? I’ve got a memory like a sieve.
  • not one’s cup of tea
    meaning – don’t like something
    example – I’ve been to a few theme parks but they’re not my cup of tea. I hate heights and queues.
  • out of the frying pan, into the fire
    meaning – from a bad situation to an even worse situation
    example – I left my abusive husband, now I’m homeless. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
  • pan out
    meaning – what happens
    example – I don’t want to make any rash decisions, we’ll see how things pan out.
  • pot calling the kettle black
    meaning – a person criticizes someone for doing something they also do
    example – Pot calling the kettle black Lisa. You can’t tell me to stop smoking, you smoke.
  • sponge off
    meaning – get money/food/shelter etc. from others and make no attempt to pay for it
    example – I’ve been made redundant, I’ll have to sponge off my parents for a bit.
  • step up to the plate
    meaning – come forward and take responsibility especially in times of crisis
    example – Two employees have quit. I need everyone to step up to the plate to ensure orders are done.
  • storm in a teacup
    meaning – make a small problem seem bigger than it actually is
    example – Corey made a storm in a teacup. Opening on Saturday doesn’t bother me.
kitchen idioms
kitchen sayings - as much use a a chocolate teapot
kitchen idioms - bun in the oven
kitchen idioms - different kettle of fish
kitchen idioms - everything but the kitchen sink
kitchen expressions - flash in the pan
kitchen expressions - go to pot
kitchen expressions - have a lot on one’s plate
kitchen expressions - if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen
kitchen expressions - memory like a sieve
kitchen sayings - not one’s cup of tea
kitchen sayings - out of the frying pan, into the fire
kitchen sayings - pan out
kitchen idioms - pot calling the kettle black
kitchen idioms - sponge off
kitchen idioms - step up to the plate
kitchen idioms - storm in a teacup

roof idioms and expressions

  • go through the roof
    meaning – prices/figures get extremely high or suddenly get mad/angry/excited
    example – Petrol prices have gone through the roof recently. I need a car with a smaller engine.
  • hit the roof
    meaning – become extremely angry
    example – If Joe ditches me one more time for a stupid football match, I’ll hit the roof.
  • like a cat on a hot tin roof
    meaning – be anxious, agitated, nervous
    example – The kids are like cats on a hot tin roof. It’s exam results day.
roof idioms
roof idioms - go through the roof
roof idioms - hit the roof
roof idioms - like a cat on a hot tin roof

shelf idioms and expressions

  • on the shelf
    meaning – unwanted, undesired, useless
    example – The boss put all my ideas on the shelf.
  • shelf life
    meaning – the length of time a product is suitable for use
    example – I make my products out of materials that have a long shelf life.
shelf idioms
shelf idioms - on the shelf
shelf idioms - shelf life

table idioms and expressions

  • bring something to the table
    meaning – provide something useful/beneficial
    example – We’ll arrange a meeting where everyone can bring their ideas to the table.
  • put one’s cards on the table
    meaning – be honest and open about one’s feelings/ideas/intentions
    example – He put his cards on the table and told me he didn’t love me anymore.
  • turn the tables
    meaning – reverse a situation
    example – We were 3-0 down, now we’re 5-2 up. We turned the tables in the second half.
  • under the table
    meaning – in secret as it’s usually illegal
    example – I gave the interviewer some money under the table. Hopefully, I get the job.
table idioms
table idioms - bring something to the table
table idioms - put one’s cards on the table
table idioms - turn the tables
table idioms - under the table

toilet idioms and expressions

  • down the toilet
    meaning – wasted/fail
    example – Julian’s career went down the toilet after the scandal broke.
  • toilet humour
    meaning – disgusting/vulgar jokes
    example – Leon, your toilet humour isn’t appropriate in the office. Please tone it down.
toilet idioms
toilet expressions - down the toilet
toilet expressions - toilet humour

tool idioms and expressions

  • as daft as a brush
    meaning – a very silly or foolish person
    example – I saw a comedian last night, he was as daft as a brush
  • as hard as nails
    meaning – a tough person
    example – Don’t mess with Ryan, he’s as hard as nails.
  • bury the hatchet
    meaning – end a conflict and be friends
    example – I’ve buried the hatchet with my neighbours, our argument about the fence was stupid.
  • call a spade a spade
    meaning – talk about something truthfully even if it’s not polite
    example – Mickey calls a spade a spade. He’s a bit blunt but at least he’s honest.
  • climb the corporate ladder
    meaning – the hierarchy of power in a big company I work for a big company. Hopefully, I can climb the example – corporate ladder and earn mega bucks.
  • go at something hammer and tongs
    meaning – emphatically/energetically/violently
    example – The cat and dog are going at it hammer and tongs, one of them will end up hurt.
  • hammer home
    meaning – make someone understand
    example – I’m creating a campaign to hammer home the dangers of drug taking.
  • have an axe to grind
    meaning – have a complaint/dispute
    example – The boss has called an emergency meeting, I think he has an axe to grind.
  • have a screw loose
    meaning – crazy/insane/odd/weird
    example – You can’t leave a three-year-old at home alone. Does she have a screw loose?
  • have one’s head screwed on
    meaning – be sensible, have common sense
    example – My son has his head screwed on, but my daughter has a crazy side.
  • hit the nail on the head
    meaning – describe someone/something exactly correct
    example – Craig hit the nail on the head when he said we need to rebrand the company.
  • screw up
    meaning – do something bad or twist something into a smaller shape
    example – I have screwed up the offer and thrown it away, it was way too low.
  • tar someone with the same brush
    meaning – think someone has the same faults/bad qualities as similar people My brother was expelled. example – I’m tarred with the same brush, everyone thinks I’m trouble.
  • the final nail in the coffin
    meaning – the final event that causes failure
    example – Cheaper imports from abroad were the final nail in the coffin for the small shoe shop.
tool phrases
tool idioms - as daft as a brush
tool phrases - as hard as nails
tool phrases - bury the hatchet
tool phrases - call a spade a spade
tool idioms - climb the corporate ladder
hammer sayings - go at something hammer and tongs
axe quotes - have an axe to grind
home idioms - hammer home
tool idioms - have a screw loose
tool idioms - have one’s head screwed on
tool phrases - hit the nail on the head
tool idioms - screw up
tool idioms - tar someone with the same brush
tool idioms - the final nail in the coffin

wall idioms and expressions

  • bang one’s head against a brick wall
    meaning – try to achieve something that is impossible to achieve
    example – Stop banging your head against a brick wall, you’ll understand equations eventually.
  • drive up the wall
    meaning – make someone angry/annoyed
    example – I spent the weekend with my parents. They drove me up the wall, I’m glad to be home.
  • fly on the wall
    meaning – you would like to hear what is happening without being noticed
    example – Marty is in trouble with his girl. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when she gets her hands on him.
  • have one’s back against the wall
    meaning – you are in a difficult situation and have no other options
    example – I’m in so much debt, my back is against the wall. The bailiffs are coming tomorrow.
  • hit a wall
    meaning – get to a point where you are not physically/mentally able to continue
    example – I hit a wall at around 22 miles and had to pull out of the marathon.
  • writing on the wall
    meaning – signs that something bad will happen in the future
    example – Can’t you see the writing on the wall? The company is going bankrupt.
wall idioms
wall idioms - bang one’s head against a brick wall
wall idioms - drive up the wall
wall idioms - have one's back against the wall
wall idioms - hit a wall
wall idioms - writing on the wall

window idioms and expressions

  • eyes are the window to the soul
    meaning – looking into someone’s eyes can tell you what they’re feeling/thinking
    example – They say the eyes are the window to the soul. Trevor has devious eyes.
  • go out the window
    meaning – disappear
    example – As soon as I’ve had a drink, my common sense goes out the window.
  • window shopping
    meaning – look at goods without intending to buy anything
    example – Let’s go window shopping and pick out all the things we can buy on payday.
window expressions
window expressions - go out the window
window expressions - eyes are the window to the soul
window expressions - window shopping

other household idioms and expressions

  • basket case
    a person who is incapable of functioning properly/insane
    Working for that firm for 20 years turned Harold into a basket case.
  • bring the curtain down on
    end something
    She brought the curtain down on her 40-year career in showbusiness.
  • by hook or by crook
    by any means possible (honestly or dishonestly)
    We’re going to win this competition by hook or by crook.
  • can’t hold a candle to
    one person/thing is nowhere near as good as another
    None of the groups nowadays hold a candle to The Beatles.
  • clothes horse
    an indoor frame to hang wet clothes on
    I hate having no garden. I prefer a washing line than a clothes horse.
  • come/crawl out of the woodwork
    appear suddenly after being hidden for a long time
    10,000 fans came out of the woodwork when we reached the final.
  • fine-toothed comb
    thoroughly investigate/check
    Make sure you go through your assignment with a fine-toothed comb before submitting it.
  • fly off the handle
    lose your temper and become angry
    My mum flew off the handle when my sister told her she was pregnant. She’s only 14.
  • hand that rocks the cradle (rules the world)
    mothers have power as they influence their children’s personalities and behaviour
    We offer free counselling sessions to all new mums, the hand that rocks the cradle…
  • part of the furniture
    someone/something has been somewhere for a very long time
    Reg has been with the company for 45 years, he’s part of the furniture.
  • lead someone down the garden path
    mislead/deceive someone
    I’ve been lead down the garden path. These ‘health’ shakes are full of sugar.
  • pins and needles
    a tingling sensation in part of your body
    Pins and needles are your body’s way of telling you that part needs more blood.
  • pull the plug
    stop something happening/continuing
    My landlord pulled the plug on my poker nights. The neighbours started complaining.
  • push the envelope
    be innovative, go beyond the normal limits
    Davison pushes the envelope in his films, I’ve never seen anything like it.
  • skeleton in one’s closet
    an embarrassing/damaging secret
    I’m seeing a guy, I think he has a few skeletons in his closet.
  • smoke like a chimney
    someone who smokes a lot of cigarettes
    My mum smokes like a chimney, I wish she’d stop.
  • the shit hits the fan
    a situation goes wrong
    The country is in chaos. The shit has hit the fan, there are riots everywhere.
  • throw in the towel
    surrender, give up, admit defeat
    My new business was failing so I threw in the towel.
household idioms
household idioms - basket case
household idioms - bring the curtain down on
household idioms - by hook or by crook
candle sayings - can’t hold a candle to
household idioms - clothes horse
household idioms - come/crawl out of the woodwork
household idioms - fine-toothed comb
household idioms - fly off the handle
household idioms - hand that rocks the cradle rules the world
household idioms - part of the furniture
household expressions - lead someone down the garden path
household idioms - pins and needles
household idioms - pull the plug
household idioms - push the envelope
household idioms - skeleton in one’s closet
household idioms - smoke like a chimney
household idioms - the shit hits the fan
household idioms - throw in the towel