Why Trim is the underrated star of the design world


Jeffrey Westbrook

When designing a home, most people spend a lot of time thinking about the big things: rugs, sofas, appliances (and all of that is important!). But there’s one design detail that more than punches its weight in making a statement: Trim, aka trimmings. An umbrella term used to describe everything from embroidered ribbons to fringe, tassels, nailheads and more, trim is any good designer’s secret weapon – and with the right knowledge, it can be yours too. Trim takes anything from a blah chair to a cheap curtain and makes it instantly tailored. For Beautiful house color problem, Senior Style Director Robert Rufino set out to prove just how transformative a yard of tape, cord or fringe can be. “Add trim to an inexpensive curtain or high-end loveseat,” he advises. “It will enhance the richness of the colors and heighten the drama.” Read on for proof.

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These poufs of Wayfair get a bespoke finish with a variety of trims: to the left is the Dawn large round storage ottoman in pink by Mercury Row with a Cecile rosewood trim by S. Harris by Fabricut and a Whole beaded border in pale gold by Lori Weitzner of Samuel & Sons. On the right is the Keefer large square cube ottoman by Ivy Bronx with Osborne & Little Trianon Ball and yzma trim in Stroheim energy.

The round pouf at the back is vintage, with Labyrinth band in chartreuse and Lattice weaving burnished brass fabric from Jim Thompson Fabrics.


Decorate a memory card

Get a simple cork board from your local craft store or on Amazon (or use this rustic design by Ballard!) and cover it with trimmings to make it a functional piece. Here is what Rufino used: Zelda Trim by Travers and Big Leaves fabric from Simmer & Rhode; Menagerie emerald rim and Julienne Samuel & Sons Tulip Double-Piped Trim; wooden block Madeaux Forest fabric.


Add interest to a dining chair

the Sebastian chair Bunny Williams Home gets an extra kick with a The evening ikat border in Eventide by Samuel & Sons and red ribbon trim, which pops against the leopard upholstery. (A water lily buddies orange pillow from the Kit Kemp collection for Annie Selke adds even more drama.)

Here’s your proof that trimmings work just as well on luxury linens as they do on discount curtains: Rufino added Sunrise Schumacher’s blue embroidery ribbon and a Aurelia Double tassel tieback in sapphire from Samuel & Sons at Chinese Stripe Designer’s Guild cobalt velvet, then paired Schumacher’s knotted trellis band in crimson with a pink blackout curtain from Amazon.


Create a charming footstool

CR Laine’s Bradstreet ottoman with hardwood legs in Sable becomes a work of art with Sanur indigo band, Tillandsia peacock cord, and Phuket Pompoms in Peacock by Kravet.


Take a couch to the next level

Say goodbye to visible dust bunnies and power cords! Finish your couch in fringe for a delightfully maximalist look, like Rufino has done here with Nobilis Velvet Dourdan fabric and Oberon Ingot fringe from Samuel & Sons.


Cut a skired tablecloth

There’s nothing more versatile than a skirted table – it brings a soft feel without the hassle of upholstery, and it hides storage underneath. Kick yours up a notch with toppings, like Rufino did with Brigitte strip in the ocean on Anna French Indian Hazel printed fabric in Spa Blue and Saybrook Check light blue woven fabric, all Thibaut.


Customize cushions

Even the most basic pillow can be made more chic with a decorative border, but patterned pillows take personalization to the next level. Here Rufino has carved a pillow out of Berard Clarence House fabric with Sidi Masmoudi carmine trim, a With porcelain blue embroidered linen cushion by The Vale London The Floof Pebble trim, and a Moorish labyrinth Palm cushion by Studio Four with Bobble upholstery by Rapture & Wright.

Sure, you may have heard of monogrammed sheets, but what about cut sheets? Rufino added Rocha Jazz teal trim to Interstellar Fabricut fabric for a sham on custom pillows by Eastern Accents and a Berbero white and orange sheet set, Cashmere throw a blanket, and Quilted blanket cover in off-white from Verderoccia.


Add Interest to a Roman Shade

At Thibaut’s prism the Blossom fabric takes on a graphic touch with hartney navy blue ribbon.

With a few yards of trim and a glue gun, I took a set of standard IKEA shelves to a new maximalist level.

Read the tutorial here

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