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Adding Nail-Head Trim to Upholstered Furniture

March 30, 2012

I did a guest post over at Renewed Upon A Dream a few weeks ago and I thought I would share it with you here today:

I took a break from all the work on the basement project to tackle a fun furniture update I had been thinking about for a while. Last summer we purchased this chaise to give us more seating in the living room.

It replaced a small french upholstered chair, and is a great place for lounging and movie watching since it seats two. Have you ever lived with a piece of furniture for a while before you realized that it needed a little bit of tweaking to really blend into your decor? That’s exactly what happened with this piece. It served it’s purpose perfectly, but was missing the details that the rest of the furniture in the room has:

Nail-head trim on the sofa:

Brocade print and gimp on the settee:

I tried spicing it up with a custom bolster pillow in fabrics that coordinate with the room, but it still didn’t feel personalized enough. If you check out my blog, you will see that I have been sewing since I was a child, and I have been reupholstering antiques since college. Some of you may not like this – so I’m sorry if I offend you, but I don’t spray paint and staple fabric to antiques – I actually restore them, and use traditional tools and materials (tacks, hand-tied springs etc..) to bring them back to their original glory. I’m not a fan of altering antique furniture because the new fad is to spray paint everything white, in fact that’s one of my pet peeves. I am a fan of updating new pieces though (furniture that isn’t solid wood or hand-made), and so I decided to add a nail-head trim to the chaise.

Tools needed:

  • Tack hammer (or a hammer with a small head, around the size of the tack)

  • Tacks/Nails (They sell these at JoAnn’s or at a reupholstery supply store)

  • Optional: Helper cat

I hammered in each tack by free-hand, but you could use a pencil to dry a light line on the fabric and then a ruler to make a dot where each tack will be placed. This would create a very uniform look with equal spacing. I lined each tack, right next to the last one with minimal spacing. I choose the placement by following the natural lines of the piece, and the adding additional arm detailing.

This is such a simple project that took me a few hours and only cost $20 in supplies. What do you think?




11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2012 12:06 PM

    This looks wonderful! Its amazing what a big impact small details can have – isn’t it?

    By the way, that chair looks incredibly comfortable, I’m jealous! 🙂

  2. April 2, 2012 10:22 PM

    I honesty think this made a huge difference! I hope you do a tutorial one day on properly restoring furniture…I don’t have any antiques pieces worthy of it but I’m interested in the process!

  3. March 31, 2012 8:11 AM

    I really like the nailhead look on certain furniture – it gives a slightly old world feel and rich appeal as well. You did a nice job!

  4. 1house1couple permalink
    March 31, 2012 1:52 AM

    I always love everything you do! I want to do nail-head trim someday…

    Oh my gosh! It’s like my cat showed up in your bag! I’m like, “Kitty! What are you doing at Rachel’s house and get out of her bag.” lol.

    I showed Kyle and he loved it too – the cat and the nail-head trimmed chair 🙂


  5. March 30, 2012 7:39 PM

    That looks great!

  6. March 30, 2012 11:13 AM

    This is awesome! Love it!

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