Furniture upholstery is an artful and functional aspect of interior design that enhances the beauty, comfort, and durability of our favorite seating and resting spaces. When it comes to upholstery, it’s crucial to understand the terminology used by professionals in the industry. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify furniture upholstery terminology, empowering you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about your furniture and communicate effectively with upholstery experts.
Upholstery refers to the process of covering furniture, such as chairs, sofas, or ottomans, with fabric, leather, or other materials. It involves attaching the chosen upholstery material to the furniture’s frame, often with the use of padding and springs, to create a comfortable and visually appealing piece.
Fabric: Fabric is the primary material used in upholstery. It comes in a wide range of options, including cotton, linen, silk, wool, velvet, and synthetic fibers. Each type of fabric has its own unique characteristics, such as texture, durability, and cleaning requirements. Understanding different fabric options will help you choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
Padding: Padding refers to the layers of soft materials, such as foam, cotton, or polyester fiberfill, placed between the upholstery fabric and the furniture frame. It provides cushioning, comfort, and shape to the furniture piece.
Spring System: A spring system, also known as the suspension system, is the network of springs or webbing that supports the padding and enhances the comfort and durability of the furniture. Common types of spring systems include coil springs, sinuous springs (also known as zigzag springs), and webbing.
Cushions: Cushions are the soft supports placed on furniture seats and backs to provide additional comfort. They can be filled with foam, feathers, or a combination of materials. Understanding the different cushion options, such as loose cushions or attached cushions, will help you make decisions about the look and functionality of your furniture.
Welt Cord: A welt cord, also known as piping, is a decorative trim that runs along the seams of upholstered furniture. It adds a polished and tailored look to the piece while also reinforcing the seams and preventing fraying.
Tufting: Tufting is a technique used to create a pattern of depressions or indentations in upholstery by threading or pulling the fabric or leather to create clusters of buttons or stitches. It adds visual interest and dimension to furniture, giving it a classic and sophisticated appearance.
Skirt: A skirt is a fabric panel that hangs from the bottom edge of a chair or sofa to conceal the legs or base. Skirts can be pleated or tailored, adding a touch of elegance and hiding any structural components.
Nailhead Trim: Nailhead trim consists of individual decorative nails or studs that are hammered into the upholstery fabric along the edges of furniture. It provides a distinct and luxurious embellishment, creating a visually appealing border or pattern.
Familiarizing yourself with furniture upholstery terminology enables you to make well-informed decisions when selecting materials, discussing customization options, and communicating with upholstery professionals. By understanding the various components and techniques involved, you can bring your furniture visions to life, creating personalized and stylish pieces that perfectly suit your tastes and preferences. Whether you’re reupholstering a cherished heirloom or purchasing a new piece, this comprehensive guide empowers you to navigate the world of furniture upholstery with confidence.