How to Decorate with Tassels

history of tassels



I’ve never really met a tassel I didn’t love, you? Tassels have been used for centuries as a status symbol, a luxurious accessory to show off wealth and grand style. Today I’m sharing a short history of tassels and how to decorate with tassels.



Archeologists have found tassels in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs in Egypt and Mesopotamia. There, thousands of years ago, tassels were thought to ward off evil spirits.  In Europe, tassels showed status for the nobility, high church officials and the military.



antique tassel print



The art of tassels and decorative passementerie, which translates as “to turn by hand”, was begun in the ateliers of the Passementerie Guilds in 16th century France.  It took seven full years of being an apprentice to a become a “Passementerie” craftsman.  The training was long and hard, and often quite tedious, before an apprentice was allowed to weave and tie elaborate and costly trim and tassels for the wealthy nobility of the era.


Louis XV of France was a great fan of Tassels {Passementerie}, using them everywhere for decoration and style. Tassels signified status during his reign, and they were not just for adding flair and style to clothing, tassels were also used as decorations at palaces and chateaus.  In the Petit Appartement de la Reine the private rooms of the French queens Maria Theresa of Spain, Marie Leszczyska, and later Marie-Antoinette, tassels were used everywhere.  The photo below shows an elaborate cornice hung from the ceiling in the bathroom.



tassels in French Versailles



Artisans elevated working with braids and trim, silk threads and beads to an art form.  The tassel was an apprentice’s final exam, of sorts, and his master’s calling card to obtain commissions to create work for royalty, the clergy and the military. One single tassel made with silk wool or linen, with metallic buillon threads could take a hundred hours to make, and could cost the equivalent of thousands of today’s dollars to commission.




Tassels from this period adorned pillows, draperies, carriages and thrones, interiors were literally sprinkled with tassels of all sizes and shapes. Clothing often had a variety {and a dazzling amount!} of tassels, and special tassels marked rank in both religious clothing and military uniforms.







After the French Revolution, the tassel trade was largely lost, with few exceptional passementerie ateliers still in existence today.  But in Belloy-en-France, there is still an “old-school style” fabulous passementerie manufacturer.



Les Passementeries de Ille de France is one of the last workshops still operating in France. It was started by Georges Doudoux in 1926, and it’s flourished ever since. If you are ever in France, their showroom is in Paris, and worth a visit.






Les Passementeries de l’île de France.

The showroom is on

11 rue Trousseau
75011 PARIS








 You can use tassels in so many ways!








Here at home, I hang them from our armoires, of course.  But there are so many other ways to use a tassel in your decor!



  • Drape tassels as part of a stylized grouping of antiques on a commode in the living room.
  • Tie them to a silver tea pot or an antique silver biscuit jar.
  • Hang one on a tall lamp from the “turn on and off” knob.
  • Use a double curtain tie back as a place marker in an antique book on a stand.
  • Display antique French keys on a tassel on my French desk in the office.
  • Tie them to beautiful scissors.






silk French tassels black pink






I love tassels, and by the way each collection of our vintage tassels made exclusively for us at FrenchGardenHouse flies off the shelves, so do you.




I’m excited to share our latest collection of tassels, each embellished in a little studio with antique buttons, metallic laces, vintage and antique ribbons and jewelry pieces, too.  While they are probably not worthy of kings and queens, they are wonderful decorative accents!


Many of them have antique French skeleton keys attached, with a worn gilt finish. They are perfect to display with grand style on a stack of antique books, on an antique French letter on your desk, or on your coffee table.   {you can make up a story about where the key was used, and what secret doors it unlocked!}
















how to decorate with tassels









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20 thoughts on “How to Decorate with Tassels”

  1. Alice Genzlinger

    Tassels have been in our home for years and used just as you suggest. I enjoy the educational value of your post. Oh, because I am blind in my left eye it’s hard to read the wording on your post when done in a light color such as this one.

    1. Alice, I’m so sorry about the color, is there a way to enlarge the writing on your computer? Or to up the contrast? I will look into this.

  2. Bonjour, Lidy,

    Well this was one of your best articles {as many others are too} I so enjoyed it to read all about the French and their Tassels. I have done for many years some of the things you recommend with tassels here at home. I have some tassels that are about 40 years or so old, small and silk, I just love them. I also tie a ribbon and a Tassel around my antique perfume bottles, so pretty! I hang small ones on my antique doll’s hats or old purses, also on a chair that has a opening, it just sets it off perfectly. On door knobs, honestly you can never have enough tassels! Thank you for the wonderful stories on them, Happy Spring.


  3. Sher Seithel

    Other than the raspberry color in the beautiful tie backs, what other colors are there?

    1. Sher, you can click on the links at the bottom of the posts where it says SHOP to see what tassels are still available.

  4. Hi Lidy!

    What great ideas for using tassels! You’ve inspired me to get out my box of tassels & actually use them in different ways. I’ve always loved them. So tres chic!

    Blessings to you & your loved ones – Edie Marie

    1. Thank you so much, Edie Marie! Tassels are always a good idea. Wishing you a beautiful Sunday, friend. xo

  5. Denise Carlson

    Lidy, Fabulous post on tassels! I love them, I have never thought to embellish them with a flourish of ribbon or the sparkle of rhinestones,it really puts them over the top! I’m inspired!
    Thanks, Denise

  6. Nancy Brantley

    Loved reading the information on making Tassels. I’ve been using Tassels for years on anything I think makes something prettier.

  7. Gloria Pulliam

    I used tassels on my Christmas tree many years ago. I loved them so mush I added them to my door knobs the rest of the year. They add so much to a plain white door.

    1. Gloria, aren’t tassels so fun!? Thanks for your idea, a tassel on a door knob does elevate any door!

  8. Noreen

    Now this was a really great post! I have a few small tassels on keys in the chest of drawers but you gave me an idea to use the curtain tieback as a tassel for my big armoire. A few years ago I gave my sister in law a gorgeous ornate silk tassel, never found anything like it again. But that forgotten curtain tieback will be overhauled and dolled up!

  9. Lidy Baars

    I love that idea, Noreen!! Bring it out, doll it up, and have it where you can love and enjoy it.

  10. Pamela

    Valuable history lesson. Sadly, I had boxed up most of my tassels feeling like it’s old lady and old lady decor when you actually are an old lady, not cool. My husband is not a fan but I love them. Now perhaps I realize it may be because I spent my formative living near Paris. Our daughter’s MIL made amazing, large, lush tassels and she has them on nearly doorknob of her home. Mine will be unboxed today, love the suggestion to use them as bookmarks with ribbon added.

    1. Mary, we offer our tassels on a seasonal basis in the Gift Collections in our online store. We ship all over the US.

  11. Gary Gloska

    Wanted too share this tassel idea with other tassel lovers …just loop the cord around the toilet paper roll holder for an added touch.

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