Marquetry (also spelled as marqueterie) is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to decorative small objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels appreciated in their own right. Parquetry is very similar in technique to marquetry: in the former the pieces of veneer are of simple repeating geometric shapes, forming tiling patterns such as would cover a floor (parquet), or forming basketweave or brickwork patterns, trelliswork and the like.
Marquetry (and parquetry too) differs from the more ancient craft of inlay, or intarsia, in which a solid body of one material is cut out to receive sections of another to form the surface pattern. The word derives from a Middle French word meaning “inlaid work”.