Upholstery Details

I’ve been gathering images of great upholstery details for a while and decided it was time to share them. When coming up with a (hopefully) catchy title, I thought about the phrase “the devil is in the details”. I wondered then, does this expression mean what I think it does? Often, we use idiomatic phrases almost unthinkingly. I googled the meaning of the term and found something interesting. According to Grammerist:

The idiom the devil is in the details means that mistakes are usually made in the small details of a project. Usually it is a caution to pay attention to avoid failure.

An older, and slightly more common, phrase God is in the detail means that attention paid to small things has big rewards, or that details are important.

The devil version of the idiom is a variation on the God phrase, though the exact origin of both is uncertain.

Well, when it comes to upholstery, both expressions are spot on. When the details aren’t tended to closely, you get this:

Upholstery Details
Anthropologie Bixby Chair

In my view, the pattern on the bottom of the chair needs to flow with the pattern on the cushion, not repeat it. Cute chair, but failure on that detail.

Upholstery Details
Anthropologie Antwerp chair

Giving credit where it’s due, this chair above does a fairly decent job of matching the pattern.

Uttermost Dyani chair upholstery Details
Uttermost Dyani chair

This is another example of poorly chosen fabric placement. The pattern on the decking doesn’t flow up to the cushion front, which doesn’t flow into the cushion top. And worse, the overall pattern isn’t centered on the chair. The blue flower with the white center should have been centered on the back, so it’s surrounded by the brown/blue medallions. It’s an expensive mismatch that isn’t worth the price.

Aside from the quality of construction (the parts you can’t see), the quality and attention to detail is what sets custom work apart from mass-built items where they are inclined to lay out the fabrics in the most “efficient” manner regardless of how it will look. My guess is that if you bought a pair of any of these chairs, the pattern layout wouldn’t be identical chair to chair.

Upholstery Details
Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings

I had these chairs and sofa’s above made for a client last year. We spent considerable time working on the exact layout of the fabric pattern on the chairs – inside and out – as well as on the pillows. Each chair is identical and we made the best use of the embroidered fabrics.

Upholstery Details
Aiden Gray daybed

I love the detail on this amazing French antique daybed from Aiden Gray. The detail in the end looks like simple upholstery tape – but makes for a unique and one of a kind look.

Upholstery Details
Ebanista Collection

This would make a sweet dress, no? There’s a reason they call them “dressmaker” details.

Getting the upholstery details just right is what it’s all about in design. It’s what we do, all day, every day.

Recommended Reading:
Upholstery Uncovered by Richelle Plett
A Guide to Wood Types from Octane Seating
Dressmaker Details – Gray Walker Interiors
Upholstery Terms – Hickory Furniture Mart

5 thoughts on “Upholstery Details”

  1. Great post on furniture upholstery! Who would have thought you could do so many wonderful creative things with upholstery, only limited by one’s imagination?


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