Though you might associate it with '80s decor, channel tufting has become one of the strongest remodeling trends of the year. (It's also one of those looks that you recognize — again, likely from the '80s —but didn't quite know the name of the technique.) While I'm also seeing this used a lot in furnishings right now, the most noticeable application is on the wall.
We'll say it up front: Channel tufting is a lot of look, but in the best way possible. It turns a wall into a major statement, while also adding plenty of unexpected texture. Take the channel tufted wall/banquette Mandy from A Beautiful Mess created in her sunroom, above. Don't you just want to cozy up to it?
Mandi chose to do a channel tufted wall to pay homage to her new home's 1980s roots (there's that decade again). Though it looks designer-made, she was able to DIY it by upholstering individual plywood panels, which were then connected with metal straps and hung on the wall. It's a great idea to borrow if you're faced when a less-than-perfect wall.
This method was inspired by the impressive channel tufted headboard by Brady Tolbert seen on the Style by Emily Henderson blog. This might have been the DIY that started the craze — it's referenced in all of the channel tuft projects. Brady not only upholstered the room-spanning headboard, but also went ahead and covered his boxspring in the same lush velvet.
Bianca Hall of French For Pineapple followed Brady's tutorial to create her channel tufted headboard. She used an upholstery fabric with a large-scale abstract pattern, so she didn't have to match any pesky repeats.
Florence Deau featured this channel tufted bed from the Hôtel Bachaumont back in early 2016. While horizontal channel tufting emphasizes the width of a room, vertical channel tufting draws the eye up.
The Hotel Covell in Los Angeles went with a bold emerald green for their channel tufted banquette. The smooth wood finishes help counter the rich texture and color.
Channel tufting can also bridge eras, like this banquette that's in a 1920s Spanish-style bungalow, featured in Architectural Digest. The banquette also shows that you don't necessarily have to extend the tufting to the wall for a statement look.
We especially love how channel tufting can add warmth in a space with "hard" surfaces like glass panels (or glass bricks), like in the bedroom of EVERYBODY co-founder Iris Alonzo featured on Sight Unseen. Though the fabric has great texture, its white color helps keep the light and bright feel of the room. The oversized channels also really add to the playfulness of the bedroom.