Passementerie - the new interiors trend of 2021

Onion trim, tape and fringing from Warner House

Warner House has seen an increase in demand for trimmings - Credit: Warner House

Passementerie isn’t a word you’ll hear often, unless upholstery is your thing, but a growing awareness of the joy of trims is spilling out from the professional interior designer to the home enthusiast 

First, of course, just what is passementerie? In short, it’s the traditional term for decorative trimming, the little extras such as tassels, braid, and fringing used on furniture and clothing. The recent trend for cottage chic has brought it to the fore, perhaps, but these finishing touches have always been there, just in such a way as to finish off, to blend, rather than speak for themselves - which is definitely their purpose today.

Marisa Gutmacher, executive design director at Samuel & Sons, the iconic passementerie firm founded in the early 20th century in New York, says that passementerie is something anybody who cares about interior design should know about. 

Marisa Gutmacher is executive design director at Samuel & Sons, in New York

Marisa Gutmacher is executive design director at Samuel & Sons, in New York - Credit: Matt Francis Photos

‘Passementerie has long been associated with upholsterers and interior designers,’ she says, ‘and for more complex creations such as adding highlight piping to upholstery, professionals are certainly advised, but there are numerous applications and uses for trim that homeowners can easily utilise to add personality and design interest to an interior. Update lampshades with a fringe or a border, create cushion designs with a myriad of trims or a simple textural brush fringe around the edge. Ready-made sofas and armchairs can be given an instant, on-trend update with the addition of a deep bullion or skirt fringe, such as our own ever-popular 8” Rouen and Edelie Tassel Skirt Fringes or Bali Jute Jumbo Bullion Fringe, while a curtain or a fabric blind can be renewed by adding an interesting patterned, textured or fringed border.’ 

Blue curtains with a blue long fringe

A deep trim can add luxe, not to mention length, to curtains and is an easy way to refresh a look - Credit: Samuel & Sons

Marisa encourages even the most creatively-challenged of us to add some flair to our décor, and to do it ourselves. 

‘A wide embroidered border such as the new Treillage embroidered border works fantastically on a leading edge or a hem. If you’re not confident with a sewing machine, pin in place and use a quality fabric glue to attach for a very quick and easy, but highly impactful, addition that can breathe new life into an existing item or customise a new piece.'  

leopard print tape

Passementerie is absolutely not old fashioned - Credit: Samuel & Sons

Fringes, tassels, trims, pom-poms...where does one start? Lee Clarke, the powerhouse behind the recent return of Warner fabrics to the interior design scene, says that he’s seeing more and more interest from the consumer, inspired by the trend towards a lush, more luxurious design style in homes. 

‘We are seeing more and more interest in trimmings right now; there’s a lot of embellishment and trim going on to furniture and soft furnishings – all you need to do is make up one cushion with some fabulous fringing and one without to see why,’ he says. ‘It’s these lush, luxe finishing touches that lift an item – be it a lampshade or a cushion or a set of curtains – from special to wow. It’s important to spend some time looking for inspiration on Pinterest or on specialist sites. Use bullion trim on the leading edge of a curtain or base of a sofa, or onion trim on a lampshade for an instant lift.’ 

cushions with fringing

Trim your cushions; choose brush fringe, tape or onion fringe, or all of the above for on trend style - Credit: Refinery Photography Manchester

You don’t need to have access to interior designers to find just the trimmings you need, you can find everything online, from retailers such as warner-house.com, ribbonmoon.co.uk, or indeed etsy.com, and good old Google will show you all you need to know about how to apply it. 

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