Classic yet contemporary trim adds rich detail to décor


From braids and cords to tassels and fringe, trim has long been used to add flair to home décor.

Historically elevated to an art form, these extras are reentering modern homes in a big way after years of minimalist design, lending custom detailing to everything from curtains to furniture.

“Trim is being used in fun new ways, and it is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to make each piece in a home unique,” said Timothy Corrigan of the eponymous California- and France-based design firm.

“Whether it be a lampshade, a pillow, an upholstered wall, you name it – adding trim elevates a room to another level.”

In the details

Trimmings, or passementerie, have an extensive history in both interior and fashion design, dating all the way back to ancient Egypt and Greece.

Throughout the centuries, designers of all stripes have recognized the importance that the small details play in the final product, taking a garment or pillow from simple to statement – something Mr. Corrigan is a major proponent of.

“I believe so much in the ability of trim being able to transform a beautiful piece into something extraordinary that my nickname has become ‘Trim-othy,’” Mr. Corrigan said.

Fresh color palettes give trims a modern twist. Image courtesy of Samuel & Sons

The designer is also a “friend of the brand” to New York-based Samuel & Sons, a family-owned company that currently offers over 10,000 trimmings and has been in business for more than 25 years.

Mr. Corrigan recently worked with the passementerie purveyor to create a new collection, Bagatelle, for spring 2024.

“Samuel & Sons has always been synonymous with the highest level of craftsmanship,” he said.

“Developing this collection with them was so much fun because we wanted to really push the borders in terms of materials, detail and luxury. I am so incredibly proud of the collection that we accomplished together.”

Bagatelle celebrates the art of passementerie that both parties hold so dear, made up of timeless pieces in silk, wool and velvet.

The braids, gimps, borders, cords, marabouts, tassel fringe, key tassels and standout single- or double-tassel tie backs were all inspired by another favorite of Mr. Corrigan’s – French history.

Time for trim

Mr. Corrigan is no stranger to the subject, having restored multiple châteaux in the French countryside.

Passementerie brings a wow factor to any piece of decor. Image courtesy of Samuel & Sons

For the new collection with Samuel & Sons, he found extra inspiration on a tour of the Hôtel de la Marine museum in Paris, especially in the fabrics and colors of the restored private apartments inside.

“Louis XV has always been my favorite period in French architecture and design, and that visit to the new museum inspired me to go back and delve more into the textiles and passementerie of that particularly elegant period,” Mr. Corrigan said.

The trims call upon that 18th-century love of intricate details and fine craftsmanship, all with a modern twist in one of the new-meets-old, chic-yet-comfortable moments the designer is so known for.

The collection’s classic braids and tassels get a contemporary edge from warm color combinations: the ivory, lavender and leaf-green of Wisteria; the golden yellows of Jonquil; and the deep reds of Scarlet Rose, among others.

The items themselves, such as the marabout that is a crisper version of a traditional brush fringe, are also fresh takes on trim that allow today’s designers to celebrate the details.

“It is so great to see how strongly trim has come back into style,” Mr. Corrigan said. “Young designers see it as an opportunity to take a standard product and make it bespoke for their client.

“As midcentury designer Charles Eames so aptly said, ‘The details are not the details. They make the design.’”