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Tassels: Tie one (or two) on

Tassels: Tie one (or two) on

If pictures and pillows are the frosting on the cake when it comes to home furnishings, then tassels are the sprinkles on top.

Fashionable, fun, and flirty, tassels bring notes of both elegance and whimsy to a room, says Marlene Reiss, our product manager for home textiles, rugs, and personal accessories.

Tassels date to ancient times. Originating from the Latin word “tassau,” tassels were originally weaving knots used to prevent unraveling. From that practical use, tassels were worn by ancient priests and military officers as talismans to ward off evil spirits. Around the 16th century, the French and its Guild of the Passementiers established passementerie as the art of making elaborate trimmings and edgings, including tassels, for clothing and furnishings. It took seven years of apprenticeship to be trained in this craft.

At MacKenzie-Childs, we’ve made tassels since the late 1980s, and we’ve accumulated quite a collection of various styles. In fact, one of our original tassels has been revived in our new spring offerings. It’s named, appropriately enough, “The Original Tassel” Tassel. The head (that’s what the top of the tassel is called) is ceramic. The skirt (that’s the bottom of the tassel) is a base of longer pink and yellow rayon threads, trimmed with a half-dozen shorter and smaller blue and purple tassels.

The uses for tassels in home decor are only limited to your imagination. Here are some suggestions for how to decorate with tassels:

  • Add them to curtains with your other tiebacks.
  • Hang them from the tops of your drapery rods.
  • Hang them on a doorknob, bed post or chair back.
  • Use them as napkin rings to make each place setting unique.
  • Turn one into a luxurious lamp or window shade pull.
  • Hang several from the curves of a chandelier.
  • Add one to a wrapped package.
  • Replace the fuzzy dice hanging from your rear-view mirror with a tassel.
  • Hang one around a bottle of wine for a hostess gift.
  • Turn one into a pendant necklace or use one as a keychain.
  • Attach several tassels to a garland that you drape across a doorway or above a headboard.
  • Hang one above a framed picture to give the art even more impact.
  • Hang one from a mirror so you can see it every time you look at yourself.

Another idea for decorating with tassels can be found at our shop in Aurora, N.Y., where several tassels are grouped on a wall in an arrangement that looks like a piece of framed art. Inside the frame is a harlequin-style pattern of alternating foil floral diamonds. The tassels hang from drawer pulls between the floral diamonds on the existing wall. It’s simple, stylish, and certainly makes a statement.

Caring for tassels is simple. Marlene recommends that you keep them out of direct sunlight to prevent fading. Clean the ceramic tops with a soft, dry cloth, and shake the skirts to keep them dust free. They’ll be swooshing with style for years to come.

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