Trend Watch: Fringe Trim (Yay or Nay?)

The other day I was trying to finish up my pillow scheme for my “formal” living room and a CRAZY idea popped into my head. Should I use some brush fringe on one pair of pillows?  I nearly stopped dead in my tracks at the fact that I was even entertaining that thought. Five years ago- heck, one year ago, I would have told you brush fringe and ANY fringe really, was a design no-no and made a face.

But here we are.  Bullion and brush fringe is making a comeback. It’s kind of like shoulder pads being revamped- super  80’s and 90’s, looks good on 1% of people/rooms but most will hate that it’s back (I, for one, have a deep disdain for shoulder pads). But it’s so interesting to me how trends recycle in this way.  Things you thought you hated slowly become something you think is cool again.

I mean, I’m not mad at this room. It’s fun. It’s not something I personally would do in my current living room, but I like it in someone else’s!

And lets look at Tory Burch’s homes/offices– girlfriend LOOOOOOVES her some bullion fringe sofas. And can pull it off.

I guess these kinds of sofas really work well in zillion dollar New York brownstones with grand scale so they don’t feel overwhelming. I remember being SO obsessed with this image of her boys playing on it.  Very Wes Anderson.

In her Paris store there is a tone on tone one which is WAY easier to get behind than contrast fringe.

Aerin Lauder also has a skirted table with some fringe in one of her homes…

Jeffrey Bilhuber, genius decorator extraordinaire, did this room.

Paired with some modern accents it’s kind of funky and fun and less stuffy.

I mean, I actually really like it on this chaise.

Liv Tyler on her pink fringe trimmed sofa.

This banquette is super chic and modern.

I mean, Jonathan Adler is offering sofas and chairs with bullion fringe now! And so is One Kings Lane. So are we on board??? Maybe just on a pillow? Or do you absolutely HATE this trend?

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  1. I like it on Liv & Tory’s but maybe because it is shorter? I think I would like to have it if done like those two. So my vote is – Yay!

  2. Just a pillow for me…those are some cool chics who are pulling it off, probably the same ones who could do shoulder pads…

  3. I don’t love it and to me it looks like one more thing to collect dust! Basically for me I think that all of those rooms would look better minus the fringe.

    1. I was just thinking the same thing. They’re all beautiful rooms that would be even more beautiful minus the fringe.

  4. I love the added fringe trim, it’s an easy way to add texture and depth, however, I’m concerned my malti-poo would love to chew it.

  5. All I can see is the fringe getting tangled and dusty over time, like those braided, tassled pullbacks that were popular on curtains in the 90s.

    1. Yes! all I could think is that those who can pull off tassel trim anything obviously either have full time house cleaners or no pets or children (or both) because it would just get all gross in short order even with moderate cleaning.

  6. Love a good fringe! It’s like putting on fake eyelashes – it just gives it a little “umph”!
    But a little goes a long way!

  7. I keep thinking of my vacuum sucking some errant string from the fringe and seeing the fringe slowly disappear cartoon style. Also the accompanying burning smell. I think I am too practical to be a person with fringe.

  8. We had this on our divan in the 1960’s!! Think it’s good in small doses. Like it on the bottle of the round tablecloth! Not a big fan of this on the sofa, makes it look too messy for my taste!!

  9. On a pillow, or maaayyyyybe on a table skirt, but I don’t live a grand enough lifestyle to have it on a sofa or drapery, etc – it’s very pretty to look at though, all those rooms are stunning. To echo your sentiment, I’m not mad at at.

  10. No way!! It looks good at some pictures, but in reality – hell no!! Dust, dog hair, kids toys and an entire armada of I don’t want to know will hide underneath. Certain things look only good on pictures!!

  11. I like it but it’s pretty formal. Most of us don’t live that lifestyle. Although, hey, I’d be happy to take it on!

  12. I will never have a home fancy enough from fringe on a sofa but I do think it’s beautiful. I think my cats would have a blast tearing the crap out of it too.

  13. I don’t know why, but I love it! I would love to have it but you hit the nail on the head re: a big brownstone. I don’t think I could or should pull it off on my suburban Home with 8ft ceilings.

  14. I would like a fringe it in a rough, rustic, organic, material like hemp or linen
    so it keeps a fun strutured structure so it looks like a row of tassels. Not a soft fringe you’d consider braiding when you’re feeling bored (guilty) like cotton, nothing soft, silky or shiny. What do you think?

  15. Love it!! And didn’t even realize it was out — had fringe on my living room sofa pillows (circa 2004) until we redid the room a few years ago. And to piggyback on your little boy’s room post from last week — I have red pom pom trim on the red and white buffalo check valances in my now 16 year old son’s room (also circa 2004) and think they still look great!

  16. I bought some fringe on Etsy and glue gunned it on my sofa!!! I absolutely love it!!! The fringe was the exact color of my sofa so it didn’t jump out at you……just another texture!!!!

  17. Emily Henderson’s chaise is one of the few examples where I truly felt the fringe contributed, ie the room and the piece of furniture looked better because of it. Agree with others that while the spaces you choose pull it off, I’m not sure I wouldn’t like them just as much and sometimes more if the fringe were absent. Worry about the practicality and longevity of the trend, as well–think accessories like pillows would be easy way to have fun with it without investing in larger pieces like a couch!

  18. I think it’s good thing in small doses, like a chair or chaise. I think trends are moving away from white walls, neutral fabrics and overly simple designs. It takes courage and a deep sense of style to truly master layering rich colors and patterns. It’s much easier to just put neutral whites on the walls with a small pop of color on a pillow or throw. That’s what is in my own home because it’s really tricky to get layered color schemes right. But since it is so easy to do (simple clean lines and neutrals), it starts to feel boring after a while. I think there was an overload of white wall/neutrals/Scandinavian design in the interior design world. So now we are seeing a backlash in the form of fringe, rich colors, velvet fabrics. I am personally ready for it. I would love to see a post where you pair rich room colors, velvet fabrics, and other bold looks. That way people like myself that are ready to put away the beige can step into color and bold design with confidence.

  19. I agree with the fringe on pillows not on sofas crowd. It’s a fun way to sample a (possibly) returning trend without the $$$$ of full on FRINGE. Tory Burch will play with colors I’d never even consider (must have had different crayon boxes as children) and it will work for her.

    My jaw drop moment came in her Las Vegas store; raw quartz stones three feet tall drilled for lamps. I’ve never seen quartz any bigger than fist sized! Who does that? For a store in Las Vegas?

  20. Fun post. I love it in the grand spaces, and they are gorgeous, but it would look ridiculous in my own home. I prefer the couch trim when it’s tonal and love the pink one and the neutral one with modern touches. For my own space and for a trend, I’d do it in a pillow. And as many posters mentioned, my dog would have a field day with trim like that on a couch!!

  21. Yuck. It looks very Ritz Carlton of the ’90’s when they were trying hard to be formal fancy. Nay at my house.

  22. Love it!! It shows up in many of my inspiration pics … I have a very Old World/euro couture (made that up 😉) eye. I like it tighter and less Afghan dog /macrame looking …

    Definitely use with restraint either on pillows or furniture.

  23. I’m going to say nay unless… you live in the set of Downton Abbey and you have a staff to maintain your home on a daily basis. Otherwise this look will get dingy and bedraggled very fast.

  24. Geez! I never knew it was a design no-no. I have had a burlap tableskirt with jute fringe in my den for years that I got from Ballard Designs. I think of them as being reasonably fashionable, and they still sell it, so who knew?

  25. Love the way it looks especially on the velvet couches but mine would be tangled with cat hair (& my own hair)!

  26. I’d say nay. Although I do like Liv’s sofa. The shorter fringe and tone on tone looks more modern. It still reads “bordello” to me. And I can’t get visions of Carol Burnett as Scarlet O’hara Out of my mind. LOL

  27. This was a really interesting post! Totally thought it stuffy and grandma-ish (I know grandma-ish can supposedly be cool, I just don’t like anything described granny chic) and the Tory/Wes Anderson vibe I can appreciate but not my scene…but Liv’s sofa and some of the others with modern surroundings make it suddenly whimsical and almost boho or “zany”, basically the opposite of stuffy?! I DO love texture differences and will concede I’m down for some fringe on a kimono over jeans so re-seeing this concept on a sofa is kind of blowing my mind a little. :)

    (It’s almost like a classier version of those woven macrame wall hangings, getting some texture in a room without looking like Urban Outfitters.)

  28. potentially a simple way to disguise outdated sofa legs? Erin – any thoughts on how to update sofa legs would be appreciated – my Mitchell Gold sofa from 8 years ago is still in great shape but the legs are starting to look dated.

  29. ooooh nooooo, i say.
    but if you must, at least make it removable somehow (like a giant Velcro strip or sth) so at least when you get sick of it, (cuz eventually you will get sick of it) you can just rip it off and your couch will look normal again… ;-p

  30. Am I the only one that thinks all these couches look like weird caterpillars? Well except for the Liv Tyler one…the modern shape of the couch and rest of the decor saves it from looking like a sad caterpillar.

  31. I love it and have ALWAYS loved it! I’m just fancy like that and dream that I live in a zillion dollar brownstone…

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