Adding metallic accents and nailhead trim to furniture, decor, and architectural details is a lovely way to incorporate an eye-catching, glamorous touch to any space. The contrast of the smooth, shiny metal against more matte materials makes for a bold yet elegant aesthetic. Nailheads and other metal embellishments have a timeless appeal, and can elevate everything from sofas and chairs to drapery, headboards, throw pillows, and more. If you love all things glam and want to incorporate more glitz into your home, using metallic and nailhead accents is a great option. We’ll cover everything you need to know about working with these materials so you can seamlessly incorporate them into your decor!

What is Nailhead Trim?

Nailhead trim refers to decorative upholstery studs that are applied by hand in a pattern to fabric or leather. The name comes from the fact that they resemble the heads of nails. Nailheads provide accent, texture, and a tailored appearance to furniture, typically sofas, chairs, ottomans, and headboards. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. Here are some key things to know:

  • Made of Metal – Traditional nailheads are made of brass or other metals. Aluminum and stainless steel are also options.
  • Round or Decorative Shapes – The most common nailhead shape is round, but you can also find them in decorative shapes like stars or hexagons.
  • Sizes – They range in diameter from about 1/8 inch to over 1 inch. Smaller nailheads work well for detailed patterns. Larger ones make more of a statement.
  • Finishes – Nailheads come in metallic finishes like brass, silver, bronze, copper, and more. Aged and antique finishes are also available.
  • Patterns – They can be applied in grid patterns, borders, shapes, and more for almost limitless design options.
  • Provides Contrast – The metallic nailheads contrast beautifully against fabric and leather upholstery.

Why Add Nailhead Trim?

There are several reasons why nailhead trim makes for an excellent decorative addition:

  • Provides visual interest and texture
  • Has an antique, vintage vibe yet also feels glamorous and upscale
  • Contrasts beautifully with upholstery
  • Reinforces the tailored, structured aesthetic of furniture
  • Comes in a range of colors and metal finishes
  • Allows for endless pattern options to suit any style
  • Offers an easy way to update or refresh existing pieces
  • Elevates and adds polish with its metallic shine
  • Feels ornate without being over-the-top

In short, nailhead trim can give upholstered furniture and decor a stylishly custom, high-end look and feel. Just a touch gives a piece a luxurious upgrade.

Ideas for Using Nailhead Trim

Nailhead trim can enhance all different types of furniture and home decor elements. Here are some inspiring ideas for ways to incorporate it into your home:

Upholstered Furniture

Sofas, chairs, ottomans, headboards, and more gain elegance and visual appeal with nailhead accents. Focus on areas like the arms, bottom edge, front border, or back flank. Or, create custom geometric or floral shapes. Stick to one metal tone and size for cohesion. For a more eclectic mix, combine sizes and metal colors.

Throw Pillows

An easy way to bring in nailheads is with accent throw pillows. Trim just the edges or create an all-over pattern. Coordinate or contrast with the main upholstery.

Window Treatments

Adorn drapery, curtains, and valances with nailhead bands and borders. Fringe the bottom edges or highlight architectural details like the leading edge for a polished touch.

Wall Décor

Incorporate nailheads into framed mirror surrounds, artwork mattes, or wall panels for glam built-in style. Or, use small nailheads to embellish borders on photographs or prints.


For kitchen, bathroom, entertainment or accent cabinets, nailheads beautifully highlight door frames, drawer fronts, and sides/edges. Concentrate them on molding or panels for impact.

Archways and Columns

Accent built-ins and architectural elements like archways, columns, niches, and alcoves with nailhead trim bands. Try vertical, horizontal, or diagonal orientations.

Floor Coverings

Though less common, nailheads can also embellish rugs, mats, carpets, and other floor coverings as a border or allover pattern for added panache.


Don’t forget outdoor living spaces! Nailheads are weather-resistant, so also consider deck/patio furniture, pillows, umbrellas, and gazebos.

The design options are truly limitless for adding fabulous nailhead detailing to home spaces both inside and out. Get creative with sizes, shapes, metal tones, and configurations to suit your personal style!

Tips for Working with Nailhead Trim

While beautiful, nailhead trim does require a bit more specialty skill to install compared to some other types of trims. Here are some top tips and tricks:

  • Invest in a proper electric or manual nailhead installation tool kit. This affixes the nailheads securely into the upholstery. Don’t try to attach them with a regular hammer.
  • Work on a solid surface like a sturdy table where the upholstered piece can lay flat during installation. Padding underneath helps avoid damaging the backside.
  • Take your time laying out the design first with painter’s tape to visualize spacing and placement. Measure carefully for symmetry.
  • Start install in an inconspicuous spot in case you need to adjust and perfect your technique. Nailheads are not easily removed once affixed.
  • Use a rubber mallet along with the nailhead tool for impact rather than force. Hit the tool directly on top with controlled motions.
  • Follow any specific instructions for your nailhead trim and tools. Apply firm pressure but don’t overdo it.
  • For large projects, work in sections, taking breaks to rest your hands and body. Proper posture is also important.

While it does require planning and patience, most people can install nailhead trim successfully themselves. Take it slow until you get the hang of it. The gorgeous results are so worth it!

Metallic Finishes to Consider

In addition to nailhead trim, incorporating other metallic and metal elements is an excellent complement in any glam-leaning interior design scheme. Here are some beautiful and on-trend metallic finish options to consider:


From bright and shiny to muted and brushed, gold metallic provides a luxe, glitzy vibe. Yellow gold is classic while rose gold offers a modern, stylish blush-tone spin.


Silver finishes range from clean and ultra-reflective polished chrome to darker antique pewter. Silver brings an airy lightness, versatility, and contemporary edge.


With warm coppery undertones, bronze makes a statement. It pairs perfectly with cream, beige, brown, terracotta, and wood tones for an earthy feel. Oil-rubbed and brushed bronze are striking.


Brass finishes offer the traditional, nostalgic appeal of original nailheads alongside modern matte and patina variations. Brass effortlessly straddles both vintage and contemporary settings.


From shiny penny brightness to subdued, gray-green oxidized patinas, copper makes a bold metallic impact. It pops against cool grays, blues, and pastels.


Nickel finish provides an ultra-clean, neutral silver-gray metallic sheen. Satin nickel is a top choice for versatile, contemporary spaces and paired with bold colors.

Mixed Metals

Don’t be afraid to combine complementary metals like brass and chrome or silver, pewter, and bronze for eclectic modern edge. Let your creativity shine!

Ideas for Incorporating Metallic Accents

Beyond just nailheads, metallics can make a major style statement incorporated thoughtfully throughout any room:

  • Furniture – Metallic coffee tables, side tables, stools, cabinets, and shelving add shine.
  • Lighting – Sconces, overhead fixtures, lamps, and lamp bases shine in metallics.
  • Accessories – Vases, trays, baskets, chargers, bowls, and catchalls glisten.
  • Textiles – Metallic threading in pillows, throws, drapes, and upholstery glimmers.
  • Artwork – Paintings, photography, mirrors, and prints framed in metallics becomes the focal point.
  • Hardware – Cabinet knobs and pulls, switchplates, hinges, and door handles gleam.
  • Architectural – Metallic finishes on beams, fireplace surrounds, backsplashes, and railings provide impact.
  • Outdoors – Exterior sconces, railings, hardware, planters, furniture and umbrellas shine.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to mix, match, and incorporate metallics in both small accents and statement pieces. The more you mesh and blend, the more custom and collected the space feels.

Design Styles to Showcase Metallics

While metallic accents work in just about any design style, they feel inherently well-suited to these aesthetics:

Glam Decor

Metallics are a quintessential element of glamorous, luxurious decor. Gold, silver, and mirrored furniture and accessories provide showstopping opulence.

Modern and Contemporary

Sleek metallics in silver, nickel, and chrome mesh beautifully with neutral, monochromatic palettes for a streamlined look.

Traditional and Transitional

Warm metallics like antique brass and bronze enhance classic motifs for a tailored yet timeless vibe.

Farmhouse and Rustic

Blackened steel, oxidized copper, and patinaed brass add industrial edge to wood furniture and homey textiles.

Eclectic and Vintage

Aged patinas, multi-toned metals, and unconventional mixes are right at home in bohemian, artistic spaces.

Have fun and embrace mixing metals and trying unique applications suitable to your personal taste and decor vision!

Tips for Successfully Incorporating Metallics

To seamlessly blend metallics into your home:

  • Use metallics in moderation as accents to wood, fabric, glass, and ceramics so they don’t overwhelm.
  • Repeating metals in light fixtures, hardware, and accessories ties everything together.
  • Mix metal finishes intentionally within the same color family, like brushed brass and oil-rubbed bronze.
  • Anchor them with textures like wood, suede, linen, velvet, or jute to soften and balance shine.
  • In open floor plans, carry metallic choices from one space to the next for better flow.
  • Warm metals like brass and copper align well with traditional styles, while cooler silver and chrome skew modern.
  • Distribute metallics throughout a room on multiple surfaces at varying scales for cohesion.
  • Polish and maintain metals over time to prevent tarnish and oxidation (unless that patina is the intent!)

Add a Metallic Edge with Nailhead Trim

Ultimately, nailheads and other metallic embellishments provide the perfect finishing touch, adding a hint of glitz, vintage character, or contemporary edge to any space or decor. Especially combined with luxurious textures like velvet, linen, and leather, metallics feel indulgent and elegant. When thoughtfully layered into a design through lighting, furniture, accent pieces, and accessories, they can elevate the space to feel absolutely glamorous without going over the top.

The creative possibilities are endless! We hope these ideas, tips and tricks inspire you to incorporate metallic and nailhead accents to add a showstopping yet timeless style statement to your home. Have fun designing and decorating as you experiment with these glamorous materials to take your interior to the next level. A touch of sparkle goes a long way!

Frequently Asked Questions About Metallic and Nailhead Trim

What are some benefits of using nailhead trim?

Some benefits of using nailhead trim include adding visual interest and texture, providing contrast against upholstery, creating tailored details, and offering the ability to update furniture easily. Nailheads provide a glamorous, ornate look without being over-the-top.

What pieces of furniture can you add nailhead trim to?

Nailhead trim can be added to sofas, chairs, ottomans, headboards, footboards, benches, stools, and more. It’s commonly seen on upholstered seating and bedroom furniture but can also be applied creatively to all types of furnishings.

Do you need special tools to install nailhead trim?

Yes, you’ll need a specialty nailhead installation kit which generally includes a hammer/driver tool and nails. Using the proper tools helps ensure the nailheads are securely affixed into the upholstery and installed cleanly. Don’t try to just hammer them in place.

Should all nailheads match on a furniture piece or can you mix metals?

You can go either way! Matching all the nailheads creates uniformity and a more sophisticated look. Mixing metals, sizes, and shapes lends a more eclectic, collected vibe. Combining complementary metals like brass and bronze works well.

Where are some places besides furniture to add nailheads?

Get creative with nailheads on pillows, drapery and curtains, framed wall art and mirrors, interior architecture like columns, fireplace surrounds and door/window trim, cabinets, rugs, and more. They can lend a decorative metallic touch to all sorts of home elements.

How do you incorporate metallics without going overboard?

Use metallic accents in moderation against woods, fabrics, and other materials for balance. Anchor them with matte textures. Repeat metallics in lighting, hardware and accessories for cohesion. Mix metal finishes in the same color family.

What are some ways to use metallics in a modern style room?

For modern spaces, options like sleek silver, chrome, nickel, and stainless steel pair well with neutral palettes. Use metallics minimally in clean-lined furniture and decorative accessories. Streamlined fixtures and hardware also suit the aesthetic.

How do you mix metal finishes while keeping a cohesive look?

Keep mixed metals within the same tone family, like pairing brass with bronze rather than brass with silver. Repeating even two complementary metals through lighting, décor, and hardware ties the look together. Aim for an intentional, collected feel rather than completely mismatching metals.

How do you prevent tarnish on metallic home items?

Use care products formulated specifically for metallics to protect, shine, and prevent oxidation. Hand-wash delicate décor pieces. Frequently dust metallics andbuffs with a microfiber cloth. For brass and copper, apply a protective sealant. Immediately clean up spills and fingerprints.