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Upholstery Tips and Tricks!

We’re getting so excited for an upcoming textile event with Chairloom and Apartment Therapy to reupholster furniture and wanted to share some how-to’s and inspiration for Upholstery 101!

Two chairs upholstered with Coral and Tusk desert embroidered linen fabric, in front of peach wall, with Moroccan rug and cactus.


Our embroidered linen fabric is a great choice for stools, chairs, settees, and basically anything you can imagine recovering! A couple years ago we even took it upon ourselves to build and upholster a whole BED, you can follow our step-by-step DIY. We’ve upholstered dozens of chairs over the years that we've used for studio hangs, napping spots for 100 + pound dogs, and to enjoy in our own homes with daily use. You can also consult with your upholsterer and ask if they recommend backing the fabric, which is a standard way to reinforce the fabric for extra strength.


Coral and Tusk studio, pillows on shelves in the background, two upholstered chairs in the foreground.


First, take stock of what you want to upholster and the difficulty level. If you’re handy with a nail gun and cutting foam and want to dive in, then by all means do it! Something like a seat pad or ottoman is a great place to start. If your project feels like too much to tackle and you want to make sure you have a professional handling your piece, then start by looking up local upholsterers.Yelp, Houzz, and word of mouth through your local fabric store or design center are great go-to’s! Alternatively, use a company like Chairloom who has direct access to furniture inventory and fabric designers, and can have the perfect piece professionally upholstered and delivered to your door. You'll have your dream furniture piece without any headaches! Upholsterers are also a wonderful resource for making coordinating pillows of any size, so invest in a little extra fabric and have a matching set to elevate your decor.

Armchair upholstered with gray linen embroidered with fuchsia graphic pattern. Armchair upholstered with gray linen embroidered with a fuchsia graphic pattern, in front of bookshelf wall..

 The wingback above was upholstered by Chairloom for Homepolish interior designer (and all around amazing designer/ writer/ person), Angela Belt. The Quill Sunstone makes a striking stripe down the center of the chair and pairs perfectly with our Berber Pyrite Fuchsia that they also upholstered on the seat cushion next to it. To ensure your furniture and fabric are appropriate to use, and to order the correct amount of yardage, always purchase swatches and find out the fabric specifications. Some fabric stores will let you cut off small pieces, but it's better to have more to show your upholsterer and is usually only a few dollars, so it's definitely worth it. The other reason for "swatching" is that when you do send your furniture away to be redone, you'll have the swatch to be able to use for matching pillows, paint, and any other goods in the room. At Coral & Tusk, we provide the pattern repeat size of the design, layout of the design, linen width and recommended care for all of our fabrics, and can help you calculate yardage needed for the type of item being upholstered. That information is extremely important, so be sure wherever you do end up buying your fabric from, that you have those things in mind.

Overhead image of slate gray embroidered fabric swatches, geometric designs.

Another colorway of our Quill fabric, this time in Slate and made into stools by one of our favorite design teams, Cloth & Kind. Check out their feed for a plethora of interior design inspiration!


This handy guideline from Apartment Therapy has estimates of yardage for all styles of seating from a Louis XV to an Eames as well as stools and sofas. Again, if you choose a patterned fabric, think about how you want the design laid out on the chair. For example, the Quill Sunstone fabric above had the pattern running straight down the chair. The pattern placement will effect your yardage measurements, so it's critical to show the upholsterer how you want it to look. A quick sketch or mock up is one of our favorite tools to use! Then we can visually explain how the design will look on a piece and can be reworked if that's not what a customer is looking for.

(From Apartment Therapy, images: Butler K. Fabric Yardage Chart Version 2, Knol 2009 via Dina Holland's Honey & Fitz blog) We're sharing some of our favorite upholstered pieces along with tips and tricks to follow in order to create a cherished piece of furniture. We love how Chairloom (left) and Bradley Stephens (right) used our Ridgeline Fuschia fabric, which has an incredible sheen made up of colorful threads, so differently. They both chose to pick up on the teal as an accent color and counterbalance the warm fuchsia and we're enamored with the results! Another element to think about with your upholsterer is fringe and embellishment. It's definitely having a moment in decor again (right, Trim Queen?!) and makes this George Smith stool elevated but fun and playful. Crisp piping also shows up again and again in client projects and is a professional icing on the cake if you will.

This seen-much-better-days slipper chair gets some refinishing of the wood to create warmth.

The front was button tufted in our Slate Striae Linen fabric with the fabulous stitched-and-sequined Pinnacle Quartz Fuchsia fabric on the back. Piping does a great job to outline the shape of the chair and tie in the fuchsia from the back through the front.  

This incredible antique rocker was a Chairloom project for actress, entrepreneur and interior design guru Brooklyn Decker! Champs fabric has a playful pattern of animal badges making an inviting seat for the nursery. The neutral linen ground color with various colors of stitching are easily matched to a range of decor for an heirloom furniture piece. Double piping along the edges of the fabric draw your eyes to the beautiful wood details.


Here's a second rocker, this one from One King's Lane President Debbie Propst featured in Country Living also upholstered in Champs Fabric for this colorful, sophisticated nursery. The slate blue wall is calming while the cherry red of the rug adds a pop of color and the chair seamlessly fits in.

For our Desert collection, we wanted a driftwood type of color stain for the wood legs on this bench upholstered in out Tumbleweed Natural fabric. We almost always go with roller legs so the pieces are easily movable and versatile as an ottoman or additional seating. Having pillows made of the same fabric as well as coordinating ones creates a cohesive look.

Feathers are a favorite theme for us and work so well in a variety of interiors. The colors of the threads can really warm up a space and create an inviting focal point. The below ottoman by Wendy Berry of W Design was done for a beach property, but we love that they introduced a global feeling over overtly nautical themed. The ottoman has coordinating cinnamon brown piping and you can see how the upholsterer matched the feathers perfectly from the side to the top!

Settee upholstered with feather border fabric in front of wood wall with feather pillows.
This settee is an example of a smart way to use our Feather Border Fabric. The feathers design fits within the settee back so that it displays the embroidery, but uses our solid linen on the seat cushion for extra durability.

Last but not least, to keep your new furniture looking amazing, follow this great guide. If you have any questions at all about our fabric and suggestions for upholstery, please reach out! Our go-to fabric girl Lynsey is happy to answer any question at !