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Home Decor Trends: Nailhead Trim

Home Decor Trends: Nailhead Trim

Posted by Aimee Talbot on 8th May 2014

Nailhead trim is yet another traditional design detail that is getting a lot of attention in this year’s lists of decor trends! A Better Homes and Gardens magazine article called What We Want in Our Homes: 2014 highlighted nailhead trim. They said: “It’s an ideal trend to embrace for larger investment pieces, such as upholstered chairs and sofas, because it’s timeless.”

Even though nailhead trim is especially fashionable now it is never really out of fashion, so you don’t have to worry about it looking dated in a few years. Nailhead trim is a classic detail that goes back 400 years.Antique French Hunting chairs

Nailheads were a practical way for European craftsmen to attach fabric or leather to the wooden furniture frame. For example, we’ve got this very rare set of antique French Hunting chairs from 1880 in the gallery. We have never seen embossed leather on a set of Hunting chairs before. But you can see that the beautifully embossed leather panels on the seat and back are attached to the ornately carved oak chair frames by attractive nailheads.

Let’s have a look at some of the other nailhead trim furniture in our gallery, whether traditional or more contemporary or transitional in design!

Nailhead trim on leather sofaThis new Chesterfield leather daybed is hand-made to order in the USA by an American company we work with. As you can see, the top grain leather upholstery is accented by a beautiful nailhead trim that gives it a traditional feel. Each brass nail is hand-driven on this nicely crafted piece. Like all the other custom-made in the USA leather sofas from that company, the daybed is available in many leather colors.

Red Leather dining chair nailhead trimThe decorative nails on these newly crafted Cloister style leather dining chairs are also applied by hand. The nailhead trim serves to accent the sleek lines of the wine red leather panels. These Cloister style chairs remind me of medieval castles and churches!

It’s a specialist craft to apply the nails because they have to be perfectly spaced and you have to get it right first time to avoid damaging the upholstery. The small, family-owned company that makes these chairs employs craftsmen who know how to drive the nails by hand, of course.

Leather stool with nailhead trimBut if you are are trying to do a DIY project and you don’t have the carpentry or upholstery skills, then I know that you can buy faux nailhead trim by the yard. I would not recommend doing that to antique or high-quality furniture! Also, the faux nailhead doesn’t look as good as the real thing because you can see the strips joining the mock nails. But it might be a fun way to freshen up a cheaper piece of furniture.

This new leather stool certainly does NOT rely on faux nailhead by the yard! It is hand-crafted by Woodbridge Furniture Company and I wanted to show it to you because the nailhead trim is so integral to the design. The bold nails outline the sculptural oval back, almost acting as jewelry for the furniture.

Nailhead trim on Ambella Home SideboardIf you need any more convincing that nailhead trim works across many styles of furniture, this fabulous Ambella Home sideboard from the Manhattan collection should do the trick. The angular demi-lune shaped sideboard boasts white leather-look upholstery on the doors, studded with nickel nailheads. Polished nickel ring door handles match the nailheads. The result is classic, high-end, and sophisticated, but with a little edge! The Ambella Home Manhattan collection also includes beds, dining chairs, and other furniture with this design, so ask us about it if you love the look as much as we do!

Aimee owns with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.