Furniture styles come and go, but tufted furniture has staying power. Tufting is more popular today than ever.
Upholsterers achieve this look by threading through layers of fabric or leather, often in a pattern, and securing the ends of the thread with a knot or button. The dense clusters that this technique creates are known as "tufts."
There several types of tufting techniques. Some lend themselves better to a particular design style than others:
Diamond tufting. It's the most common and also the most popular and traditional of the tufting styles. Its signature diamond button arrangement creates a soft, romantic look. Velvets, silks and satins give the style a more formal look. Linens and textured fabrics make it more casual, while tufted leather is more masculine.
Biscuit tufting. This style forms a square pattern that gives a contemporary look without the lushness of diamond tufting.
Button tufting. When buttons are pulled tightly against the fabric, a shallow depression is created, providing a chic, tailored appearance. The highlight is the button itself. This technique is best for a traditional setting in an orderly, crisp living room, bedroom or dressing room.
Blind tufting. Aiming for a more modern look, blind tufting is characterized by the lack of buttons. The twine used to secure the tufting is simply pulled back and secured. The look is very systematic and sleek.
Not limited to upholstery only, tufting is also being incorporated into the fronts of case goods such as dressers, buffets and chests. Leather is the most suitable choice for this application. Mixing tufted fronts with beautiful hardware and metal trims can transform a simple wooden chest into a work of art.
Designer Vicki Payne is host and producer of "For Your Home," available on PBS, Create TV and in syndication.