Quite often we choose neutral fabrics for our upholstered goods. Some of this is because these purchases are expensive – we don’t want something trendy only to have it go out of style. And some of this decision is because upholstered goods are large and a dominant fabric may be too much. But when upholstery is done well, with some unusual details, it can add a creative touch to any room.
Here are some of the terms to know when getting custom furniture made or when you speak to an upholsterer:
Nailhead: the tiny nails that trim around a piece of fabric. Often the line of the nailhead follows the line of the upholstered piece and can help emphasize lines or curves. If you are having a piece designed custom then you will have a choice of nailhead style (silver, brass, round, square, etc.).
Gimp: a flat, braided trim piece used to hide seams or where the fabric, or nailheads, meet the wooden frame.
Welting: the piece of rolled fabric, or trim, that runs along the seam of the fabric. “Self-welt” is when the fabric used for the main body of the piece is the same fabric used in the welt. Choosing an interesting color, or different material (like leather trim on a fabric sofa) can add a huge visual interest to a piece.
Buttoning: if your upholstered piece has buttons you can choose to have them covered in a contrasting fabric. You can also choose to have float buttoning, sitting on top of the fabric, or deep buttoning, recessed buttons.