12+ Padded Walls And Other Exquisitely Tufted Designs

In all the old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies, decor was so voluptuous, so plump, so satiny... You never see the colors because the movies, thank heavens, have not been colorized, but Art Deco was more about line than about color anyway. The more geometric the lines, the more rich and expensive-looking was the decor. That's the way it is with tufting - what the French call capitonnage or capitonné.

A tuft is an incision made with a needle and thread in a fabric in order to produce an indentation in the fabric. Done repeatedly, tufting creates a geometric pattern, usually of squares, rectangles or triangles, that may vary depending on your perspective. Quilting is a popular form of tufting.


1. Pouf Capitonné

This pouf is luscious! And it's nice and large too (about 4' x 5') ... a pouf you can curl up on! The Pouf Capitonné soft leather is artfully tufted, like braided bread. At De Padova.



2. Piccadilly Classic

From Italian designer Valdichienti , the Piccadilly Classic is a sofa from a new collection entitled Divani Della Memoria (sofa from the past). A remake of the English Chesterfield sofa, a design handed down from the Victorian period, Valdichienti hand-tufts this rich leather in red, ivory, mustard and brown.


3. Tufty-Time Modular Sofa

B&B Italia, a "classic" in designer ultra-modern furniture, carries this re-interpretation of the past with Patricia Urquiola's Tufty-Time sofa. Don't you just want to kick off your shoes and pounce on this? So inviting, these modules can be arranged in any pattern that fits your room or you taste. The tufts here are actually deep pleats that enhance the cushion effect of the tufts.



4. Tufty-Bed

Almost matching the pleating of the Tufty Sofa, Patricia Urquiola extended the Tufty Time collection with capitonnè in the Tufty-Bed, updated for a modern look. The platform can accommodate several different types and sizes of mattress and has space for storage beneath. Loverly at B&B Italia.



5. Thurman Tufted Bed

Isn't this grand style? The tufted headboard dwarfs the tables and lamps beside the bed. Tufted in the old style, but very modern, the capitonné headboard is upholstered fabric, with a wooden frame. The base is laminated beechwood. Meridiani Collections from Spencer Interiors, Canada.



6. Chaise Louis XVI Capiton Ivoire

Capitonnage on plexiglas? Why not? Look at the fabulous effect! Not only does this chair pretend to be ivory, but it pretends to be tufted! At Deco-Smart. Gorgeous!



7. Caprice Tufted Chair

The Caprice chair was designed by French designer Philippe Stark for Cassina. It blends Art Deco with the Populux style of the 50"s and 60"s and the very modern. Available in white and black, in quilted nylon or leather.



8. Starck High Chair

The tufting doesn't stop for Philippe Starck. in his fun new vision of a baby high chair. Made for designer Maclaren, it is actually a travel high chair; its legs are removable for convenience when traveling, and the soft chair folds 3-dimensionally. Here again, Starck blends several design influences into the chair, but its statement is totally modern. Available in multiple colors from AllModern.com. There's a matching tufted diaper bag at All Modern as well.



9. Blindate Door Capitonné

You were waiting for the padded walls; well, here's a padded leather door from the Piacentini collection of Blindate Doors. Also available in faux leather, this tufted door comes in white, chestnut, and green as well as wine, pictured below.


10. Capitonné Rex Ceramiche

Now come the tufted padded walls...





Perhaps you've guessed that the tufted walls are actually ceramic tiles, but isn't it amazing how they resemble shiny leather and, in the lowest photo. textured fabric? The capitonné tiles are from the Rex Ceramiche Neoedonism (neo-hedonism) Collection for 2008.


11. Capitonné Petracer


Tufted tiles for the bath? Why not? Italian tile maker Petracer creates these diamond-tufted tiles that really lend an elegance to these bathrooms.




12. Capitonné Wall Stickers

And, for those of us who can only afford to look at the exquisite tufted furniture and wall coverings, there are always capitonné wall stickers. Besides the price, a great feature of these, is that if you should someday tire of the style, you can peel them off and toss them without too much guilt. Here are two trompe l'oeil furniture stickers, stolen from one of my recent columns - 15 Furniture Wall Stickers That Will Trick Your Eyes!


Wall stickers by Impostures Visuelles


When modern design borrows a trend from the past, the new trend is usually shorter-lived than the original one.... So, while the tufting trend is here, make sure you love it before you jump in and find out that it's over.

Originally published October 2008 and updated February 2016. Availability for these pieces is limited and links have been removed if the item is no longer available.