For customers and clients seeking an ultra-personal level of design service, custom upholstery can offer a unique opportunity to tailor a piece of furniture to suit their exact style and needs. “Designers can add value to their client interactions when they can offer something that is not something everyone else can buy online and you won’t see it next door,” says Tina Nicole, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Nathan Anthony. “You won’t see it in someone else’s house. People at a certain income level want something different. They want something special. They want something to call their own that they designed.”

Nathan Anthony has offered custom upholstery since the company was founded in 2005, offering custom services that range from basic — think adding a couple inches to the height of a piece — to what Nicole calls “super custom,” that is, making changes that will drastically change the overall look and feel of a product.

“Every piece is made to order,” Nicole says of the Los Angeles company’s manufacturing process. “Fifteen different people touch the piece at any given time, so it’s a very handmade product. When you have something that’s so special like that, you get a really personalized experience. We feel custom is like a form of self-expression as well.”

Universal Furniture got into the upholstery business five years ago, according to Neil MacKenzie, Vice President of Marketing. In 2019, the company acquired Southern Furniture, in Conover, NC, and in June 2020 rolled out the special-order upholstery division, based in Conover. The program includes 200 frame styles, 400 fabrics, 50 leathers, six leg finishes and three nailhead finishes.

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