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40 Passementerie Designs that Delight in the Details

Time-honored, trendy-again trim proves more is more with tassels, fringe and pom-poms galore. Feast your eyes on our favorite ways to take furniture, window treatments and lighting from standard to stunning.

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Photo: Suzanna Scott Photography. From: Jonathan Rachman.

The Future of Fabulous

‘Passementerie’ sounds for all the world like a term of the trade that only historians and interior designers would drop in conversation, but five centuries after its debut — when French craftspeople developed the art of winding thread (‘passement’ refers to lace) to create intricate ornaments like tassels, fringes, pompoms, rosettes and more — you might say it’s becoming a household term all over again. Ornamentation that was once primarily associated with historical garments and interiors is flourishing on drapes, sofas, ottomans — all of which you can see in this fantastically ornate sitting room by San Francisco designer Jonathan Rachman — and we’d like to make a case for bringing it into your space. How can you put it to work? We’re so glad you asked.

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Photo: Suzanna Scott Photography. From: Jonathan Rachman.

A Nod to History

Rachman designed this space with inspiration from Houghton Hall, an extremely grand 18th-century estate commissioned by the first British Prime Minister. (To get an idea of just how sumptuous Houghton Hall was and is, consider this bed. You could develop a whole costume drama around it.) The tassels and scalloping on the gleaming pink sofa are considerably more modern than Houghton Hall’s green velvet, but they communicate the same sense that no expense has been spared — and no detail has been overlooked — in this room. (Bonus points for matching tassels on the table lamp.)

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Photo: Suzanna Scott Photography. From: Jonathan Rachman.

Ottoman Empire

Classical passementerie lends a regal air to the long, low banquette ottomans in this tone-on-tone sitting room. The white trim on the window’s dramatic lambrequin (a long ornamental treatment associated with 17th- and 18th-century France), in turn, deepens the space’s opulent, historic feel.

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Photo: Alise O'Brien Photography

Vanity Project

From a gleaming wall treatment to a custom-made gold faucet and a matching gold-trimmed mirror, this powder room is all about decadence. A trio of tassels are the perfect finishing touch for the vanity.

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