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Entries in upholstery (3)


I want a hole punched, leather skirted chair

I really love to reupholster vintage furniture. Here is some inspiration I like. And an idea.


Sometimes it’s the fabric that makes the piece.






Other times it’s the mix of fabrics. 






And sometimes it’s not the fabric that is the star. Instead, it’s the upholstering technique — and upholsterer’s skill — that dazzles. Pleating, pattern matching, tufting... Wowza!





I just got an email today from Barney’s. It’s a gorgeous Kelly Wearstler leather skirt. And another very clever idea from Kelly: peep-style, hole-punched leather.




Now imagine this hole-punched look as the skirt of a chair. Imagine brass chair legs just slightly peeking through those punched holes. Wouldn’t it be fabulous? Great idea, Kelly!

Bye. I have to go hole-punch something.



{ Sources: Kelly Wearstler, Design-CrisisNero Chronicles, Mary McGee Interiors, and Angie Helm Interiors }  




Time to Reupholster, Part 2

Woven and printed fabrics have never been more beautiful, accessible, and well-priced. But, why not upholster your piece in something else?  I've been spying some fabulous upholstered furniture covered in really interesting textiles. Here are some great alternatives to fabric-by-the-yard that add loads of character to your piece.

My apologies — source unknown

Elevator Padding: Yep, elevator padding. Pads are quilted (usually a chevron pattern), come in huge dimensions, and are pre-treated for soiling resistance. Depending on the supplier, padding colors can be limiting. But, if you’re into neutrals, they’ve got em. And, it’s often less expensive than discount designer fabrics. For sources, simply Google. You'll be shocked at how plentiful elevator padding is.

Lurve. It.: Here’s Utility Canvas blankets and bedding. It’s quilted like elevator padding, but it’s available in prints and cool colors. Machine washable too. I'm thinking this would be perfect for dog beds and kids' playroom furniture and I can’t wait to order! 

BOTTOM LEFT: Flickr; TOP LEFT, needlepoint Queen Anne chair via Mrs. Blandings; TOP RIGHT, cube ottoman, Anthropologie; BOTTOM RIGHT, bentwood vintage chair upholstered in needlepoint,Elderberry Design

STITCH YOUR OWN: Or, find vintage needlework on eBay and at garage sales. Unless you have cats with claws, needlepoint is amazingly durable.

Truck Tarp Ottoman by Anthropologie upholstered in recycled Brazilian cargo tarps.

BOHO CHIC: Inverted seams and pieced fabrics create a hippie-chic vibe.

Rug, Yurdan; ottoman, Jayson Home & Garden

Have kids, dogs, feet? Nothing’s more durable than a flatwoven rug upholstered on your furniture. To save money, buy damaged rugs at flea markets or yard sales and use the undamaged parts only. Kilims often have a rough, loofah-like texture. So these would work best on stools and chair backs — rather than chair arms and seats. 


Au naturale: Vintage hemp and linens never looked so good. Even though they are more highly coveted by designers, I prefer the ones without the contrast ticking stripe. eBay’s LoodyLady is the best source for antique or old linen and homespun.  Here are my sources for newly produced hemps and linens:


Near Sea Naturals 

Quilts, Denyse Schmidt Quilts; sofa, Wisteria

Patchwork: These Denyse Schmidt contemporary quilts would make spectacular upholstery. I prefer only small doses (like a footstool) of quilt-upholstered furniture so that it doesn’t come off as too sweety-sweet. Don’t use antique quilts unless they are in perfect condition. Even though they appear to be in good condition, older fabrics are usually damaged by age and light and will tear or fray with the slightest wear. 

New tea-dyed flag, eBay; Union Jack Chairs by Dan Marty Designs

Show your true colors: Any large piece of cloth will usually work as upholstery. I love the Union Jack chairs shown above. And, notice the nice effect of the uncut thread at the the tufting points. 


Time to Reupholster, Part 1

Why buy new when there are so many great furniture forms out there waiting for a makeover?  It's an quick way to give your entire space a fresh, new look. And with the economy in the pits and great inexpensive upholstery fabrics, the timing is perfect. Today, I quiz a pro for advice and offer up some reupholstery inspiration. Tomorrow, we recover furniture with non-upholstery alternatives. 

The hardest part of reupholstering anything is finding an upholsterer. If you’re here in Atlanta, I highly recommend New Again. { No, it’s not my company, I’m not related, and I don’t get kickbacks. I’m just a fan!  }  Here’s some great advice on furniture makeovers from Angie Rojas and Fernando Hernandez of New Again

eye spy: What's the difference in a “good” upholstery job and a not-so-good one?  

New Again: A good upholstery job will come from someone with experience.  Ask the upholsterer how many years experience he has.  A good upholsterer will also reinforce the frame if needed, add a little bit of padding to give the piece of furniture that soft feel again and most important, use the fabric correctly to display the pattern (if any) correctly.  You do not want a beautiful pattern lost.  What you also don't want is a lumpy, messy piece. The end result should look and feel as if the furniture is NEW again.  That is the purpose of having old furniture reupholstered. 

eye spy: What's the biggest mistake your clients make?  

New AgainThe biggest mistake our clients make is to choose an upholsterer based only on the price. Besides getting a few quotes, ask questions such as how many years of experience.  Who will be doing the job? The actual upholsterer or a helper that might not be as experienced.  Will the old fabric be removed or will they upholster on top of the existing, bad smelling, dirty fabric? 

eye spy: Do your clients usually come to you for advise and fabric? Or, do they generally know what they want? 

New AgainOur clients normally know what they want as far as fabric type is concerned but we are often asked for advice on changing the furniture style. An expert upholstery can almost always make the changes you want. We have even added rolled arm rests to a piece of furniture that didn't have them!     

Before + After

Maybe it’s my inner crafter, but I love before + after shots. Ah, so nice.

Tiger Lilly Shop via Flickr

Tiger Lilly Shop via Flickr

MennyJ via Flickr

Favorite Fabric Sources

Design Diva Fabrics

Lewis & Sheron




And, from AtticMag:

I Luv Fabrix 

Portsmith Fabric

The Fabric Guy   

Alex Pifer’s Seraph 



How much do you need? Click here for an upholstery fabric estimator

More Inspiration

From Absolutely Beautiful Things, absolutely beautiful upholstered chairs by Anna Spiro of Black & Spiro

Calandria chair by Anthropologie


BOTTOM LEFT, Marimekko fabric; TOP LEFT, Josef Frank fabrics; RIGHT, Antwerp chair, Anthropologie

Loud + Lovely:  Anthropologie does a great job with their boldly upholstered furnishings. The company reintroduced us to Scandinavian fabrics a couple years ago and they are still fresh and fabulous. My favorites are by designer extraordinaire Josef Frank. I also love practically anything Marimekko. Here are my sources:

Just Scandinavian


LEFT, Lynn Morgan Design; RIGHT, Eric Piasecki Photography

CUSHION CONTRAST: Use outdoor fabrics for heavy-traffic seat cushions. Or, use contrasting fabrics to highlight the structure of the piece.

Above: My apologies — sources unknown


TOP + BOTTOM LEFT, M Paoletti via Flickr; TOP CENTER, source unknown — my apologies; RIGHT, Elle Decor

Nailheads: According to trade sources, both functional and decorative nailheads are the top trend in upholstery 

Above: Sadia B via Flickr

The anti-fluff:  Crisp and clean and modern 

Above: Astrid chair, Anthropologie


Matchy-matchy: An expert upholsterer will pattern-match all joins


LEFT, Location Works; TOP RIGHT, Country LIving; BOTTOM RIGHT, Cookie Magazine suggests creating individual zones for a shared room by upholstering headboards in different fabrics

MIX IT UP: Use contrasting fabrics to punch up your furniture and your room

BOTTOM LEFT: Country Living; TOP, Domino advises changing fabrics with your mood by making multiple slipcovers that attach with Velcro; RIGHT, each dining chair in a different color, Domino


MORE MIXING: Use two or more fabrics to add visual interest.

BOTTOM LEFT, Anthropologie; TOP LEFT + RIGHT, sources unknown — my apologies; BOTTOM RIGHT, asymmetrical stripe on chairs, Domino

STRIPED: Stripes play nicely with other patterns and adding a bit of zing to any room.

BOTTOM LEFT, The Furniture Joint; BOTTOM CENTER, Baldwin Chair, Jayson Home & Garden; BOTTOM RIGHT, The Furniture Joint; TOP, Tyler Chair, Jayson Home & Garden


Vegans, avert your eyes!  Hides add visual interest and durability unmatched by upholstery fabrics.   { Just don’t overdo it by matching leathers on loveseat + sofa + chair + ottoman. }  Click here for a leather conversion chart for estimating the number of hides you’ll need to reupholster your seating.


INSET, Random Gardenia via Flickr; MAIN, source unkown — my apologies

COUNTER-CLOCKWISE FROM BOTTOM LEFT: ball-fringed pillow via Strange Closets; contrasting trim to show off a great contour; ruffle self-fabric trim via White & Wander; tassle-fringe, Mecox Gardens; brushed fringe trim, Traditional Home

Finish it:  Trim running along fabric seams highlight shape and add a finished look to your piece

Good bones! I found these fabulously shaped pieces when I scoured today’s Craigslist. Squint. Looks better, right?  Now, imagine this furniture reupholstered with your fabric picks. Nice.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post. eye spy nabs some terrific upholstery-alternatives for recovering furniture.