Great Furniture: It’s All in the Details

Here’s to our upholstered furniture, the comfy pieces that make our down time so gratifying. After a long day, we can’t wait to flop down on the sofa in our living room, the enveloping reading chair by the fire, or dining chairs that make you reluctant to get up from the table.  As if supreme comfort wasn’t enough to demand from our furniture, we also expect every piece to be beautiful and on-fashion, show-ready when it’s time to entertain.

If you are not supremely satisfied with the look, style or condition of your sofas, chairs or ottomans, maybe it’s time to replace them. Whether you are replacing old or adding new furniture, here’s my advice: Pay attention to the details. We’re in the middle of our Upholstered Furniture Sale at Nell Hill’s (20% off through Feb. 15!), so I’m helping lots of folks choose the perfect pieces for their homes. The secret I share with them? It’s all in the details.


Select interesting fabrics

Before I talk about fabrics or anything else, I need to share this: Invest in the highest quality furniture your budget will allow. If you are trying to stretch your decorating dollars, it can be tempting to go for the cheap stuff. But while poorly constructed furniture may look OK on the showroom floor, it will likely fall apart in a few years, if not sooner. At Nell Hill’s, we carry furniture crafted by top companies like Lee Industries and CR Laine, who sweat every detail (kiln-dried wood frames, hand-tied springs, stuff like that) to ensure your great looking furniture will stay that way, long into the future.

Picking fabric for your furniture is a lot of fun, but can also be stressful. This is a big investment, so you want something you’ll like for years. Start by asking yourself, “How will I use this piece of furniture?” If it’s a dining room chair, you will need something durable and easy to clean, for example. “What colors and patterns will I love today, and tomorrow?” I like to cover sofas in safer fabrics like solids or very muted patterns. Then, have a little fun with the smaller pieces, like chairs and ottomans, opting for fabric with more color or pattern.


Legs that get a second look

Legs help set the style of a piece of furniture, whether classic or contemporary. For years, I’ve been over the moon about turned legs on castors. Love that English look. But I’m also falling for today’s funky legs, like the Lucite number on the ottoman in the photo above. They are just so darn fun!


Skirts that make a statement

Don’t want exposed legs? Finish your furniture with a skirt. Traditionally, skirted furniture either looks formal or romantic. But check out the interesting interpretation in the photo above. The horizontal bands of color on the skirt of this chair add a fun flair. One note of caution on skirts: If you have pets that like to rest up against your skirted chair or sofa, it will get dirty and require cleaning from time to time. Thanks, Lyric!


Outline with contrasting welt

My style has evolved and changed through the years, but there are a few things I have loved for decades, and always will. Among them is furniture finished in a contrasting welt. Outlining the seams of a sofa, chair or ottoman is a mainstay of the Nell Hill’s look. There are so many directions you can go when you use a welt that’s a different fabric than the furniture is upholstered in. Try high contrast, like you see in the photo above. Or use a pattern or color that makes an appearance in another spot in the room, like your window coverings, accent pillows or ottoman. Sometimes I like to welt furniture in leather to give it a richer look. This design decision alone will take a piece, and the entire room, from generic to custom.


Nail it with nail-head trim 

Nail-head trim has been showing strong in the world of interior design for years now, and looks like it is here to stay. Finishing a sofa, chair or ottoman with these little dots of metallic sheen give it a nice clean, contemporary edge.


Transcendent tape trim 

A few years ago, designers began creating the most beautiful fabric tapes, which we are using at Nell Hill’s to trim furniture, window treatments, bedding and pillows. In the photo above, the double bands of Greek key tape give this sofa a sophisticated air. We created the Trim Bar at Nell Hill’s to showcase all the sensational tape trims we have – stop by next time you’re in!

Next Week …We begin a series featuring the evolving style of three young ladies whose little-girl bedrooms were featured in my book Feather Your Nest. You won’t believe what the spaces look like today!