Different styles of upholstery trim

Written by grace stamper
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The trim on upholstery serves two purposes. It is used to hide the staples, tacks and fabric edges, and also is part of the decorative style of the furniture. Modern furniture tends to have clean edges with no trim or a simple piping, while older styles may have fringe, buttoning, gimp or even a nail trim.


Welting is the piping that you find around the edges of a sofa, cushion or chair. It can match or contrast the upholstery fabric. It is usually made with bias strips cut from the material so it will smoothly go around corners. Welting gives a crisp finish and also hides raw edges and staples.


Gimp is a tape woven in various braided and twisted designs. It can be found in many colours and different textures. Gimp is a very common trim used to hide edges and tack heads on furniture.


Not to be confused with gimp, braid is used to decorate rather than to hide edges. Furniture braid trim was formerly called galloon. Some braid is fringed or comes beaded or with tassels attached.

Nails and Nail Trim

Leather or leather-like furniture is commonly finished with decorative nails or nail trim. Decorative nails are individual nails that are hammered into place with a special tool. Nail trim is a strip pattern of nails and spacers attached to each other, which is applied like gimp but hammered into place. Decorative nails are common on Western-style leather furniture.


Upholstery buttons are sewn on the piece in one of two methods: flat or deep. In flat buttoning, they are sewn lightly onto the fabric. In deep buttoning or button tufting, they are sewn on and then pulled tightly and tied off, creating an indentation in the back, seat, or cushion of the furniture.


At one time, fringe was a popular finishing for furniture. It was used like gimp to cover nails, tacks and raw edges. Today, fringe is mostly used around loose pillows that are part of the sofa or chair.

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