Design Is Collaboration - Daniels Design House

Design Is Collaboration - Daniel's Design House

Valuable Tips on Custom Upholstery from Expert Daniel Mizrahi


When clients hire a designer for a project, one of many of their expectations is for the designer to be an expert.  Knowing the difference between a low-budget sofa, medium range, and a custom sofa is essential.  Even more, being able to explain the difference is profoundly important to a designers business.  

Knowledge is money.  Knowledge instills the client's trust in the designer and her/his ability to deliver products that are quality and of value.

Additionally, it's important to be able to know what to request, specify and inspect for in a custom made piece.  The level of workmanship will be a direct reflection on the designer/firm.  Being confident in the workroom and knowing what to expect and request is key as well.   

Everyone may not be looking for a high-end custom sofa but it's imperative that the designer knows the level of value and can deftly explain it to the customer.

Let me introduce Daniel.  He has been in business for 35 years creating custom upholstery for some of the most distinguished clients and celebrities in Los Angeles.  He delivers quality and explains 5 Tips that are necessary to look for when specifying a sofa.  Knowing what is going on inside the sofa is key to the pricing and the longevity of the piece.

5 Expert Tips on Custom Upholstery

1. Wood Frames - Always request Kiln Dried Alder with dowelled corners glued and blocked. This is quality and a frame that will last

2. Top Level is 8 Way hand tied coil spring.  Not everyone wants to pay for this level of custom work and "no sag" springs are a good solution that retains shape and quality but is not as labor intensive.  It saves on the cost but you still get the quality.

3. The back.  Some use web strapping but the better choice is zig zag springs to keep the body of the sofa fresh and lasting longer

4. Yardage - The rule of thumb is 2.5 yds per linear foot. A 7 foot sofa is gong to be somewhere between 18-20 yards.  Its best to purchase a few yards extra so the workroom does run short.  If there is a large pattern repeat....Then figure 3.5 yards.  Be clear on how workroom orders how the sofa is to look - all details, and how the fabric is to be applied.Regular?(vertical)  or Railroaded (horizontal).  

5. Cushions - This is where clients are very particular.  Down was popular in the last decade but cleaner style lines have become the trend and down is too slouchy.  It also is a dust collector and doesn't hold up to weight as well.  Some solutions have been to use a high-quality foam center with a down wrap.  But the issue of allergies and dust may still be a problem.

Now, there are fabulous options available - such as Angel Hair fiber to use as the wrap.

Why wrap?  The foam center provides the body and spring back so the cushion has support.  The wrap provides loft and softness without compromising the quality of the cushion.  The sofa lasts longer with good quality cushions.  Foam can be expensive but taking this all into account means the sofa lasts longer.

Visit Daniels in Thousand Oaks, CA or online at :


A Few Last Tips From Elizabeth...

Always, always vett out a trades person/workroom before you risk having an expensive sofa made.  Check references, get recommendations from a colleague, check pricing, and even after that...have them do a couple of small jobs.  Maybe for yourself so you can see their process.   

I have a discerning eye as I have a lot of experience in custom construction.  I can immediately see quality.  I visit the showroom, speak to the owner and the good ones...they are proud of their work.  If they have been in business for a long time, you know they are worth the prices they are quoting and they are well versed in what they are doing.

Don't ever assume they are doing things right.  ALWAYS check on the work in the work room.

Fabrics and custom made items are expensive.  Who pays when the item is not done correctly?  If you did not specify each and every detail and have your eyes on the process.....there will be an unavoidable problem.

That is not to scare you.  Just to make sure you "mind your own business" and MAKE money..not lose it.


Elizabeth has been a pro designer for over 20 years and launched Better by Design Academy in 2016 to provide a resource and community to designers emerging into the field, solo designers needing guidance and for those considering a design business of their own.  This is "Not What You Learned In Design School" Offering Interior design programs online that take you step by step through the business of interior design.

Click link below and gain free access to valuable insights and tips from experts to help you launch, operate and grow your design business. The Friday 5 is a bullet point link list to glance at and select.  We are all busy but this info is too important to ignore...

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