As designers for the interior, it’s a joy to create our own looks. Adding a beautiful lighting fixture or swanky rug as a personal touch is easy. Often, however, we are challenged to create a beautiful room within the confines of the client’s space.  When it comes to upholstery seating, you not only have to consider the look and layout of the space, but the most important feature – comfort! This is where custom sizing and treatments come into play. Here at Nathan Anthony, we are experts at special orders a.k.a. custom orders. Custom orders can be tricky and costly. We’re going to keep this simple, so the novice and the expert can both benefit from this post. Here are 4 easy tips for ordering custom upholstery.

Tip #1 Know Your Configurations

We have many options for creating the look you want in the way you want. Having choices is what makes Nathan Anthony the most popular brand for custom upholstery. It’s important to know your design specifications. This may sound elementary, but it can be difficult to know how pieces will fit together. That’s why we have schematics for all of our sectionals. These are good tools to help you consider all the measurements, configurations and puzzle pieces. If you are ordering 2-one arm sofas, make sure your order says “make into one long sofa,” or “stand alone pieces.” This way we know how to upholster the pieces, to add connectors or to finish off a side. Make sure also to include all the pertinent details – leg finish, nail head finish, welt choices, etc. The more clearly your expectations are communicated,  the more success we will have making the order. The best way to describe changes is to draw a photo. We’re not talking shop drawings. A mere tracing of the photo or even line drawings will do…


Line sketch of right arm sofa, corner, left arm sofa


Folio Sectional with right side bumper,  armless chair and 2 ottomans

Folio schematics, circle the pieces you want and make sure to tell us + or – the inches you desire


Folio right arm sofa, left arm sofa, armless chair, 2 ottomans to form a family pit – fun!

Tip #2  Know Your Cushions

When you change the size on a sofa or sectional, or any furniture with cushions, you must consider what the cushion configuration will be to maintain an aesthetically pleasing result. To calculate cushion size, take the overall size, subtract the arm width/s and you’ll get the dimensions between the arms. Divide this figure by the number of cushions to get the cushion size. Knowing your cushion size is crucial to how the silhouette will look. Too narrow will look bad. Too wide will look bulky depending on the piece and could affect how foam/fills behave. Here are some examples of cushion configuration choices on our Rocco collection.


Rocco sofa 2 over 2 cushions


Custom Rocco Sofa 3 over 3 cushions

Rocco LSB-Mid-Bumper Sofa with Custom 3/3 RAF-Sofa

Tip #3 Know Your Fabric Direction

All fabrics are not created equal. It is important to consider pattern direction on a pattern, or petting direction on a high pile fabric like velvet. Patterns are not so difficult to choose for fabric direction. Velvets, on the other hand, are more tricky. When light hits velvet, it gives off a light side and a dark side (insert Star Wars theme here.) With velvet you must also realize that if you specify an “L” shaped sectional, for example, a velvet fabric will have two different colors depending on where you look at the sectional and how the light hits the fabric. It is important to consider such things when specifying sectional pieces to the factory.


Tip #4 Consider Scale

Scale is perhaps the most important consideration as it relates to comfort and look. If you change width it may affect height and depth. If you change depth, for sure it will affect pitch and comfort. If you change leg type or base type, this may affect overall height and change the comfort level. Remember to take into account scale.


Imagin chair scale drawing


Perle schematic scaled concept

To reiterate, we have many tools to help with custom orders on our website. Make sure to click on “download schematics” on any product page in which you want to change. If you need further assistance, please contact us, we are happy to help :).

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Please note, all of these images are the property of Nathan Anthony and are subject to Federal Copyright protection.