On any given occasion one of my favorite design elements in a room is tufted furniture. Why? Because this tried and proven style has true staying power, is beautiful in its artistic touch, adds an element of diversity and class, and is extremely comfortable. All the more reasons why the design style is becoming more and more popular. Now, we see tufted chairs, headboards, ottomans and sofas everywhere we look (and we aren’t complaining). We relish in its beauty.
But what really is it and how is it made? Read on for the basics of tufted furniture and how to incorporate it in your own home design.
What is it?
Tufted upholstery is a type of textile weaving in which the upholsters stitch layers of fabric in a pattern that they then secure at the ends with a knot, button or ribbon. In this process, peaks and valleys are formed on the surface of the furniture that basically secure the supporting cushion or padding in the design so the “insides” don’t move (think of mattresses – they are often tufted). The dense raised bunches of fabric are then known as the “tufts.” Although tufted furniture has been around for ages and is typically adorned in traditional design styles, the trend is making its way into most nearly every other design style from chic to farmhouse vintage.
Types of Tufting
Diamond: The most common type of tufting, diamond tufting is when the fabric is pulled and secured into such a fashion that when complete, you see a pattern of diamond shaped arrangements. Found must commonly on antiqued or traditionally styled sofas or chairs, this type of tufting is often considered the most comfortable because of the extra cushioning pushed into the raised “pocket” or “tuft” once secure.
Button: Button tufting mainly refers to upholstered pieces where you can notably see buttons in a geometric pattern on the fabric surfaces. The key difference between button and diamond tufting is that in diamond tufting, the stitches are at a much deeper depth giving the appearance of bigger pockets whereas in button tufting, the securing stitches are at a much lighter depth creating shallower depressions in the tufts.
Biscuit or Bun: Designed more recently than the traditional diamond tuft, biscuit tufting is when the stiches are secured to form a square pattern and can either be at a shallow stitch or a more cavernous one. Biscuit tufting is more common in mid-century modern or contemporary designs.
Blind: While less common than the other three types, blind tufting is characterized by the lack of buttons and signature pattern and is created by the fabric being secured with a knot in the back. Blind tufted furniture is often represented in more contemporary, minimalistic design styles.
Benefits of Tufted Furniture
One of the key benefits of tufted furniture is its longevity. As the fabric is reinforced within its tufts every couple of inches, the overall design is likely to sag less over time. Thus, tufted pieces typically last longer than non-tufted. Another benefit of tufted furniture pieces is found in its comfort level. Due to the extra attention to detail and the stitching in the manufacturing process, tufted furniture pieces remain plush and plump without continuous fluffing. The cushioning inside is less likely to move over time as it is “stitched” into place. Finally, one of our favorite benefits of tufted furniture is that it adds a level of texture and depth to any given room and can soften a sometimes harsh overall appearance of a modern design. Adding in a few tufted pieces complements contemporary or metal based styles by being more relaxing and welcoming.
How to Incorporate it into your Design
As mentioned above, tufted furniture is available in the most conventional furnishings: chairs, headboards, ottomans and sofas. For these pieces, use them in combination with solid, railroaded fabric pieces. For instance, place a tufted sofa next to two non-tufted accent chairs with a wood or metal console table as the finishing piece in the room. Accessorize the sofa with pillows of varying shapes, sizes and textile selections. If you love the tufted ottoman appearance, pair the design with a solid chaise lounge chair or sofa and accessorize the ottoman with a hard edge tray and other linear decorations. This creates a casual, yet traditional atmosphere and is perfect for families with young children. For a more romantic design, incorporate a tufted white linen headboard into your master suite and pair with all white bedding. Add in an accent color by adorning your bed with throws of varying palettes or adding a hint of gray to maintain a contemporary image. Another tried and true method for tufted furniture? Round your dining room table with matching button tufted chairs. By doing so, your dining room will immediately exude a more classic style but can also be either traditional or farmhouse depending on the color of fabric you choose. Last but not least, incorporate a few button tufted throw pillows a top your bed or on your living room sofa and you will be in heaven. While immediately adding comfort, these accent pieces also add in a level of refinement.
New to the design is the use of tufted fabric on case goods and usually hard sided furniture. Occasionally we will see tufted bedroom night stands or end tables. While harder to find, these design pieces can create a sense of uniqueness to a design style and offer a more traditional appearance while allowing the other home furnishings in the room to be a little more dramatic or daring.
See some of our favorite tufted pieces here:
From the non-traditional night stand to a headboard, let us help you find your perfect tufted home furnishing. Stop in our showroom to see what we carry in stock or ask one of our associates to help you find your dream accent piece.