Luxe Touch :: Upholstered Walls

design :: steven gambrel via architectural digest

design :: steven gambrel via architectural digest

Usually when someone says “padded room” you automatically think “insane asylum,” but that’s not always the case.  Like, for example, when you are talking about upholstered walls.  I was first introduced to upholstered walls when I visited the Paris apartment of a woman named Zou-Zou, whom I considered my French grandmother.  She was incredibly chic as was her apartment -- the walls of her foyer were upholstered in grey patent leather!  I tried to take pictures once, but they just didn't do the walls justice.

Upholstered walls have been around since medieval times when tapestries were hung to help retain heat and keep the chill out of rooms.  Upholstered walls as we know them today first made their appearance in the 17th century in palaces like Versailles when woven fabrics became available.  

paisley+upholstered+wall+brettVdesign

While adding both a sophisticated and luxe touch to a room there are practical reasons to upholster your walls too.  For example, when the fabric is backed with padding/batting it creates thermal insulation so your room stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  There is also the acoustical benefits -- upholstered walls are great for keeping out the noises coming from your neighbors apartment. Upholstered walls are also a great way to cover up construction imperfections.

design :: katie ridder + peter pennoyer

design :: katie ridder + peter pennoyer

As far as decorative options go, there are many.  You can tuft the fabric on the walls, create panels, add trim or a self-welt {when a cord is made from fabric, it can be the same as the walls or contrast them.}  Another gorgeous option is nailheads.  I love nailheads <sigh>.

sea+green+tufted+upholstered+banquette+brettVdesign

But, and there is always a but, upholstered walls are pretty spendy. To bring down the cost a little bit you can upholster the top half of a wall {above a chair rail or other architectural trim,} or you can upholster panels, also surrounded by architectural trim.  Another option is to choose a single wall {like behind a bed, for example} and paint or paper the other three walls in a color that complements the upholstered one.

Check out this ultra-luxe master bedroom and sitting area -- I can't even begin to fathom how much fabric it took to make this look happen!  The rectilinear shape of the upholstery plays well off the angular canopy bed.

via architectural digest

via architectural digest

I'm really feeling the mix of textures in the sitting room. {Check out my post on texture to learn what I'm talking about.}

via architectural digest

via architectural digest

I love how the curtains match the fabric on the walls -- Filicia does it without making it look grandma-y.

design :: thom filicia via elle decor

design :: thom filicia via elle decor

Besides orange, my other favorite color is aubergine so I'm in full swoon-mode looking at this dining room designed by Alex Papachristidis!  Ooh!  And there are nailheads too!

design :: alex papachristidis via elle decor

design :: alex papachristidis via elle decor

design :: alex papachristidis via elle decor

design :: alex papachristidis via elle decor

The tape punctuated by nailheads highlights the architecture of the room.  Also, can we talk about the suzani pattern on the love seat?  LOVE!

Carolina Herrera's home in spain via elle decor

Carolina Herrera's home in spain via elle decor

Here's a modern take on a traditional technique of having the pattern/color of the walls match the furniture.

family room in tory burch's home

family room in tory burch's home

If you look really closely {and don't become mesmerized by the pattern} you can see the self-welt along the edges and corners of the upholstered walls.

black+white+check+upholstered+walls+brettVdesign

I love the look of this all-white tufted banquette, but I'd be afraid that I might spill red wine or get melted chocolate on it or something.  White anything is in danger around me.

design :: colleen mcgill

design :: colleen mcgill

The combination of black, white and red is a favorite of mine and the fact that the walls are upholstered just kicks it up a notch.

design :: celerie kemble

design :: celerie kemble

...and more nailheads.

hallway+nailheads+upholstered+walls+brettVdesign

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