Upholstery 101: Our Ultimate Guide To Perfect Upholstery

Fantastic sofas and chairs can really make a room – the form, scale, color and pattern all play heavily into the overall design, but also impact the timelessness and comfort of living with the pieces. Along with using great quality frames and materials, there are several ways to beautifully customize upholstery and we’re here for ALL of them.


1. Up the Bolt vs Railroad

The world of artisanal fabric and custom upholstery has a whole set of vocabulary to go with it – these two terms are worth knowing, particularly if you’re a lover of print and pattern like us! “Up the Bolt” means applying the fabric vertically to the piece, or from bottom to top. “Railroad” means applying the fabric horizontally, or from side to side. It’s all about pattern direction and matching – or in the case of velvet, it is texture and details!

A floral print upholstered chair has had the patterned fabric applied "up the bolt" – a sign of excellence.
The fabric on this banquette has been "railroaded" so as to give the piece a seamless line of print.
2. Phenomenal Fringe, Trims + Contrasting Welts

We LOVE a good trim on an upholstery piece – a long fringe against velvet, a contrast welt on a gorgeous print – you name it, we are here for it! Our go-to upholstery vendor has superb shapes and an excellent assortment of textiles and trims. An expertly selected trim detail paired with an exquisite artisan print or a lush jewel-toned velvet makes a piece POP! (chef’s kiss)

A superb bullion fringe detail on this striped lounge chair adds an element of elevated elegance.
We love this colorful contrasting welt paired with a gorgeous abstract floral print!
The fringey trim detailing on this sofa + pillows is just so good!
The box pleated skirt adds an extra sweet oomph to this linen sofa.
3. Re-covering Heirloom Pieces + Antiques

Applying fresh fabric (and cushion as needed) to an heirloom chair or an antique sofa is a wonderful way to bring new life to a cherished piece while also making it functional for your current lifestyle and aesthetic. We love re-upholstering amazing pieces found in antique stores or flea markets; we advise looking for great quality frames with special shapes. Adding in artisan fabrics, soft velvets and fantastic trim details to these vintage pieces creates a truly one-of-a-kind seat.

These sculptural chairs were found at an antique market and re-covered by a local workshop - applying a sensational lilac velvet and purple bullion fringe.

Do you want fantastic patterns and beautiful details in your home? Let’s get started!

Michelle sitting in a fantastic floral printed tub chair!

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