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Behind the design: the story of the Idler

Behind the design: the story of the Idler

If I had to choose a favourite piece from our upholstery range, it would be the Idler. For me, the Idler is the epitome of beautifully useful – I love its simplicity. Available as an armchair, love seat, two, three and four-seat sofa, there is lots of scope to dress it up or down depending on what type of fabric and cushions you choose, as well as what you put around it. It works just as well as a sofa in a kitchen as it does in a drawing room, in contemporary and traditional settings. 

Its design is based on an Edwardian antique sofa that I have in my own kitchen and that I have loved so much. It’s a really hardworking design that’s seen so much action over the years with us, our children and dogs all piling on. When it came to designing our own collection of upholstery, we instantly knew we wanted to recreate it and have it as the cornerstone of our collection.

However, the Idler is not a carbon copy of our kitchen sofa, it’s an improved version. At 92 centimetres deep, it has slightly more generous arms, which make it more comfortable to sink into. It has a solid timber FSC-certified frame, a super comfy coil sprung seat unit and its cushions are a 50:50 mix of eco-friendly fibres and feathers, which eliminates the need for frequent plumping. Its low-slung shape is completed by playful ball-shaped feet with a groove detail. 

Nix Nicola Harding provenance sofa Idler upholstery

Like all of our upholstery, it’s made in the UK at a wonderful workshop in the Midlands run by two gentlemen who have been doing this for decades and know their craft inside out. It was a real pleasure working with them on the Idler as they have a passion for traditional craftsmanship and traditional shapes such as this.

nix nicola harding makers upholstery bespoke handcrafted

The great thing about this piece is that it will work anywhere. It’s such a simple, discrete shape that it doesn’t do all the talking in a room, it’s all about how you dress it, and the options are endless. Idler comes in 45 options, and that’s not including the cushion combinations. For a relaxed feel, choose one of our Italian linens for the frame and seat cushion, then pile on cushions in calming tonal shades. For something bolder, upholster the frame and seat cushion in one of our NiX striped fabrics, then add cushions in a selection of our checked fabrics in contrasting or coordinating colours. The truly adventurous can even use different upholstery fabrics on the seat cushion and frame to create a real focal point in the room.

nicola harding studio showroom

Do you have a favourite piece from the collection? Let us know, we love to hear from you.

Take care.


Nicola Harding & Co

About Nicola Harding & Co.

Nicola Harding & Co is a London-based interior design studio that creates places, not spaces. Rich in atmosphere, our interiors are refined and reassuringly familiar, reflecting and serving the people that use them.

About Nicola Harding & Co