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Tufting is a design element that may have a place in your home when you next think about redecorating or adding a new piece of furniture to the mix. Using tufted furniture is a way to add visual interest to furniture that may otherwise look like a giant sea of fabric. Tufting also keeps upholstered furniture from looking lumpy over time. Heaven knows I could use some tufting on my old carcass! Tufting is no longer the darling of stuffy old men’s clubs or Grandma’s dainty dressing table stool. Tufting can be very modern, as I will show, and has been revived by the interest in Mid-Century designers such as Mies van der Rohe.
This contemporary living room is awash in soothing and bold colors done in an interesting color-blocking design. While crisp, geometric shapes seem to dictate the placement of color, the sofa cushion and back would have seemed dull and too large a shape without the use of tufting.
Sticking with a monochromatic color palette can also make the traditional art of tufting seem modern, fresh and new again. Contemporary lighting fixtures like this also ensures that the room looks up-to-date.
While I do love a clean and modern look, you know after reading my posts that I am a sucker for traditional preppy design as well. Here is a traditional dining room that introduces a cheerful color scheme and elegant tufted upholstered chairs. Tufting will actually keep the chair back more comfortable for you while seated for long periods of time.
Chairs of all kinds can be tufted...hurray. They can be a folly like this excessively styled and large-scaled wing back chairs, or as basic and everyday as your kitchen bar stools.
Headboards are a popular tufted item too. Here is my issue with tufted headboards...I wish DIY shows would stop telling people they are easy to make at home. They’re not, and I’ve tried. You need to be really handy to make them look good. Naturally I would have somebody do it for me because I have no faith in my abilities. If you want it to look professional, hire a professional. This deep cobalt headboard is HOT.
Here is another version, but much more soothing in tone. Notice how both bedrooms have gourd-shaped ceramic lamps...love.
Next to headboards, benches can look amazing when tufted. Similar to some sofas and chairs, benches can loose their shape without tufting. This contemporary bench is so chic and modern. The tapered leg makes it feel slightly 1950s and would look perfect with a sputnik chandelier.
This tufted bench is totally feminine and works perfectly in this soothing boudoir. The Lucite legs makes it feel ethereal and the fabric makes it restful. Naturally when you plop down to take off your Louboutin shoes you need something beautiful for the tush, and I think this tufted bench delivers.
Photos courtesy of The Zhush, Bogle Street, Vogue, Atlanta Homes Magazine, Frank Roop Photography
Rob is a Los Angeles-based designer who has a background in art history and was an expert at Sotheby's auction house. Formerly the host of "Inside The Auction" for the Fine Living Network, speaker for The Learning Annex and contributing editor for Valley Magazine and LA Bride Magazine, he has spent years bridging the gap between the world of design and the general public.
His design sensibilities are varied and can work in both traditional and contemporary styles. His interiors have most recently been published in Renovation Style Magazine.