Nailhead trim. A timeless added detail and enduring element of furniture design that spans interior design. Dating back to the period of 1560-1643 with the arrival of what it referred to as French Country furniture era during the reign of Louis XIII in 17th Century France, nailhead trim on furnishings endures to appeal. Beyond a visual appreciation of the studded design of the nailhead and its embellishment to classically styled furniture, a nod to the past will certainly only broaden historical appreciation for a classic element that remains a constant in interior design today.
Historically, the use of decorative nailheads served as not just decorative form but in function in furniture making. Beyond a mere decorative trim, nailheads were used to hide areas where the upholstery was tacked into the wood frame of the furniture object. Who knew? Form and function. Nailheads would thus aid in holding the upholstery in place attractively. Decorative concealment in craftsmanship, indeed. Since the 15th and 16th centuries trims such as gimp (braided trim) would be used by the upholsterer in conjunction with decorative nailheads traditionally made of brass or copper. 17th century France used nailhead trim on the ornately carved wooden seating with period upholstery coverings such as brocade, velvet, tapestries and leather. A studded pattern of design that has never faded from the world of interior design…
The French Os de Mouton chair is the most well known design from the 17th century. The French word “Mouton” refers to sheep. Thus the shape of the chair legs suggests that they resemble the legs of a lamb. It is interesting to note that the arrival of this chair marked the beginning of upholstered backs and seats using nail head trim.
Beyond the French link to this hidden design of form and function in craftsmanship, designing with nailhead was favored with old Dutch, Spanish and English furnishings. During the 1800’s famed English furniture designer William Morris and the American designers Stickley Brothers during the 1900’s would also favor this medieval-style nailhead trimming with leather and Baroque tapestry. Designs from the past always inspire design through the decades. As with the nailhead trim, classics always endure. Although the use of nailhead trim is commonly linked use with leather-upholstered sofas, chairs and ottomans, the trim has since studded the world of interior design with modern yet timeless appeal. Both classic and modern takes on this timeless trim are certain to inspire…
Consider the patterned distinction of nailhead trim. Patterns in nailheads have gone far in decorating our interior spaces in the decades that have followed since the 15th century. With timeless appeal the decoration of nailhead trim will certainly remain an embellishment in interior design. Timeless style with modern inspirations within the interior, indeed. Accentuating lines of design with sophistication, the nailhead trim design will endure to add visual interest and distinction to the surfaces of our interiors that it embellishes. Onward in enduring classic design.