Defining Common Upholstery Terms

Whether you’re shopping for a new upholstered furniture piece, or simply interested in brushing up your furniture vocabulary, we’re here to help define some of the most common terms you’re bound to come across.


It’s all about the tufting…

Tufting is achieved by threading through leathers or fabrics to create defined areas in between, known as “tufts.” Depending on the pattern and finishing, you may also come across these specific tufting techniques:

Button Tufting

One of the most common techniques, achieved by securing the seams where the threaded pattern meets with a button. This timeless detail adds depth and definition to any piece.

Biscuit (Square-patterned) Button Tufting Detail from our Donnie Armchair

Diamond Tufting

The second common tufting style is diamond tufting. This style is a chic and sophiscated version that follows a diamond-shaped pattern. We especially love it on sofas, headboards and more as it creates an added layer of depth.

Diamond Button-tufted detail from our Broadway Armchair

Buttonless Tufting

Even though this style is button-less, it is no less impactful than it’s buttoned up counterparts. It is a traditional style with a simple, streamlined finish that creates a quilt-like, cushioned pattern.

Buttonless tufted detail from our Cadam Bed

Channel Tufting

This last style of tufting is considered to be a subtle and pared-down technique. Channel tufting evokes an Old Hollywood luxury, but with a very modern je ne sais quoi. This style features a series of straight seams along the cushion, either vertically or horizontally, and sometimes both!

Channel tufted detail from our Halden Dining Chair

Cushion Clarification 

Tight Back

A tight back cushion style incorporates all cushioning into the design of the seat back. This means there are no loose or semi-attached back cushions. This style creates a tailored and streamlined design for upholstered pieces.

Tight-back detail from our Keaton Sofa 

Cushion Back

This particular style is ideal for creating a plush, sumptuous look and feel. As opposed to the Tight Back style, Cushion-back pieces feature multiple removable cushions. Sofas or armchairs featuring a cushion back are comfortable and long-lived thanks to the ability to rotate cushions.

Cushion back detail from the Hanover Armchair

Accents Articulated 


Traditional frames get an upgrade with nailhead trim. Reminiscent of industrial nailheads, these rounded metal buttons line the edges of a piece for decorative flair. Subtle hints of metal along the edge of an armchair, barstool or ottoman adorn pieces with the perfect amount of shine.

Nailhead detail from our Rosedale Armchair 


Look no further than a piece with piping to create a high quality, finished look in any space. Piping is created by covering a cord in fabric, which is then used to line the seams of an upholstered piece. This detail, while not always obvious, serves to outline the frame of each section or cushion. The result is a very defined upholstered piece.

Piping detail from our North Carolina dining chair

Exposed wood

This style allows wood to take centre stage, by exposing the wood frame on an upholstered piece, where otherwise could be concealed. This design can feel handcrafted and natural, bringing new dimension to the piece.

Exposed Wood detail from our Frisco Armchair