We’ve Got The Trends Covered – What’s New in Upholstery

by Stacey Sheppard in News & Noteworthy

Trends in upholstery change on a regular basis and we are seeing some particularly exciting ideas coming through in 2013

Upholstered pieces can be a way of making a bold design statement at home (and not just in the living room but the bedroom and dining room too) as well as providing us with comfort and relaxation. Simply changing your choice of fabric can completely reinvent the whole room.

‘Detailing can immediately create a unique piece with a sense of drama and opulence particularly with reflective fabrics such as velvets.’

Popular profiles

When it comes to profiles for upholstered furniture, Jonathan Barber, furniture designer at The Sofa & Chair Company says that their clients consistently ask for ‘The London Look’. ‘British design and craftsmanship is highly respected and the relationship between iconic classics and modern design is the most sought-after theme as far as we can see,’ he says. ‘Modern furniture in London tends to integrate simple lines, with the detail seen in the stitching and piping.’

‘Sleek, contemporary sofas with clean lines and low backs are proving consistently popular at the moment, alongside deep seats and chaise modules or ottomans for added comfort,’ says Kasia Drymer of interior design practice Living in Space.

All in the detail

Detail in upholstery seems to be playing an increasingly important role and we have seen some really interesting developments with regards to studs, stitching, piping, and buttoning.

‘For the last few years, contrasting piping seemed all the rage,’ says interior designer Heather Jenkinson. ‘This year, studs have definitely overtaken piping.’ Drymer agrees that studwork is a popular detailing feature along with deep buttoning. ‘Detailing can immediately create a unique piece with a sense of drama and opulence particularly with reflective fabrics such as velvets,’ she says.

Bold & brave patterns

When it comes to pattern, Jenkinson says that this is the big hero at the moment and is a cost effective way to change the environment of a room. Barber agrees and says that Aztec patterns, herringbone, Asian influences and large chevron patterns also remain very popular. He says: ‘If a piece of furniture is destined to be a focal point in a room then patterned fabrics are often used.’

Drymer too has noticed a high demand for occasional chairs upholstered in ‘wow’ fabrics to enhance a neutral scheme. She says: ‘Clients are being bold and brave and introducing bright colours, patterned designs and coloured textures for their upholstery to enrich the overall palette and design.’


Whilst bold patterns may be popular right now, neutrals are still high on the agenda for many consumers and some like to mix and match the two. Jenkinson recently visited the Architectural Digest Home Show in NYC and says that she noticed that the fabrics used in upholstery were pretty neutral in colour and texture, with a tendency towards colour blocking when it came to styling, so a sofa in one solid colour used alongside two armchairs either in a contrasting colour or big pattern.

With regards to specific colours, Barber says jewel colours have also been making an appearance recently and he noted that deep emeralds, amethyst and amber were popular in Milan this year.

Material world

And finally, what about fabrics? Interior stylist Heidi Maude says that a staple fabric for upholstery is plain natural linen as it is durable, classic, timeless and lasts forever. However, she also identifies dense wools and chunky knits as being popular fabric choices at the moment. Barber picked up on different fabric trends whilst in Milan. ‘We noticed weave fabrics making an appearance. They are often soothing fabrics and when used on large soft seating, add to the overall comfort,’ he says although he expects this to change very soon as we are just hitting the warmer seasons resulting in light summery fabrics and patterns.


The Sofa and Chair Company – www.thesofaandchair.co.uk

Living in Space – living-inspace.co.uk

Heidi Maude – heidimaude.com

Heather Jenkinson – www.heatherjenkinson.co.uk

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