Behind every great man, there is a great woman. And behind every great piece of furniture, there are talented people who design it, build it, and bring it to life.
In past articles, we’ve discussed the furniture scene as it is today and how it was in the past. We have given much food for thought and practical tips on how to approach furniture, upholstery and design in general. Now we want to take you on a practical pictorial tour of some of the options we offer our clients, and show you many other design ideas to jumpstart your imagination! First up – upholstery!
We might only see the final fabric and shape, but there is a lot of work that goes into making a chair or a sofa comfortable. A basic upholstered piece will consist of the frame, foundation, filling and fabric. The materials used, as well as the craftsman technique, are the things that dictate the quality of the piece and the overall comfort level. Please note that although there are different materials that are considered elite, it all comes down to personal preference.
The first thing we must consider is the foundation for the filling.
Typically there are two main options.
Springs: Springs are a hallmark of quality. They offer a type of bounce and support that many old sofas and chairs are renowned for. Typically found in older furniture, springs are not so easy to obtain today!
Elastic belts: Modern furniture most often will use elastic belts to support the filling. There are various qualities in these belts, ranging from rigid to elastic and bouncy. It’s a very economical option, and very good results are achieved.
The choice of which material to use in a specific upholstery job depends on the required end result and the filling intended to be used.
It takes experience to anticipate how different materials will work together and what affect they will create. It also takes fine skills to install springs in a way that will give an even and noise free result.
Once the foundation has been assembled, the filling is installed.
Feathers: Expansive, fluffy, and old school, feathers have always been considered the crème-de-la-crème of upholstery fillings. They are still available today and can contribute greatly if used correctly. Feathers have a conforming quality, so they conform around your body when you lean on them. This can make for some heavenly comfortable sofa back cushions! However feathers are not so bouncy or supportive, so they are often mixed with other synthetic materials to obtain the right level of bounce and firmness. The use of feathers is quite rare today, mostly on account of their price. But it should be noted that they are out there for those looking for the ultimate result.
Foam: Foam comes in many grades. They range from solid and hard to soft and giving. Often we will use two of more types glued together to give solidity with a soft top layer.
Synthetics: There are several synthetic fillers used for cushions. These work well and are very affordable.
Fabric: As this is such a wide ranging topic full of personal upholstery design and a diverse range of materials, we will dedicate the next article to the subject.
After reading this article you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of options and details to be considered. But we can assure you that it is a very exciting process and there is nothing more satisfying than sitting on a personalized re-upholstered piece for the first time. Having said that, our team of professionals are more than happy to consult with you on the subject and help you with your decisions.