Custom Details – Tips for Creating a Unique Space

As a designer, I of course love when clients are looking to design a wholly unique space with lots of custom details. But, not every budget allows fully custom furniture and finishes. And that’s totally okay, because with some creativity, many items can be customized to fit the plan while still being mainly “off-the-rack” or updated.

This is the finishes board for my Coastal Casual Living project (that’s almost complete!) The square pouf ottoman is fully custom whereas the rug, sideboard and dining table are “as is” with no customization.

Linda Merrill Coastal Casual Living Room Moodboard custom details

The dining chairs were a great opportunity to customize because replacing a chair slip seat is one of the easiest tasks for an upholsterer and is even a fairly easy DIY project. These dining chairs only come with the one off-white fabric on the slip seat. While that color would have been “fine” in this plan, it was an easy update to order the chairs as they are sold and have my local workroom recover the seat cushions. As now “off the rack” becomes a wholly unique item as no one else will have this particular fabric on the chair cushions.

Recover a chair slip seat custom details

The Swivel Glider (the last remaining item to be delivered for this project!) is being customized with two different fabrics – one on the seat and one on the body. While most vendors offer the ability to select the fabric to go on the chair, don’t forget that you might also be able to choose more than one fabric for a wholly custom look. If the vendor doesn’t offer the ability to choose more than one fabric, you could have the seat cushion re-covered locally as well.

Swivel Glider customization custom details


A few years ago I had custom designed slipcovers made by my workroom for these basic Ballard Designs Parsons chairs. The print fabric was from a trade only vendor and the velvet fabric on the welting, buttons and trim along the bottom matched the dining chair slip seats which I’d had recovered when those chairs were purchased (I don’t have a photo of this unfortunately).


Linda Merrill parsons chair slipcover custom details

You can also purchase slipcovers from Ballard in an array of fabrics. If you wish to create an even more custom look, you could add a grosgrain ribbon trim to the bottom hems. A local seamstress could do this or you can DIY it if you’re handy.


Ballard Designs parsons chair customized slipcover custom details


While I was looking at the Ballard website (FYI – this is not a sponsored post per se, but please note that I may earn a small commission on sales made via the links to the Ballard website at no extra cost to the buyer.) I saw these pretty drapery panels with a pretty border trim on the leading edge.

Ballard Designs Crewel Suzani Border drapery
Varenna Crewel Suzani Border Drapery Panels from Ballard Designs

This is also a great idea for customizing a more basic look. Adding a simple (or ornate) border onto plain panels will truly level – up the look.

Drapery Panels customized with ribbon custom details


It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of ribbon, isn’t it??


Custom Details Pin

4 thoughts on “Custom Details – Tips for Creating a Unique Space”

  1. I love all your suggestion for how to use trim to customize, Linda, especially using trim on the leading edge of store bought curtain panels.


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