What is "Antimacassar" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 02-Oct-2023 ( ago)
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Antimacassar: The Unsung Hero of Furniture Protection and Aesthetics

A Deep Dive into the Antimacassar: An Essential Textile Element

History and Origin of Antimacassar

Originating in the 19th century, the term 'antimacassar' derives from 'Macassar Oil', a popular hair treatment at the time. This ornamental yet functional item was initially designed to protect upholstered furniture from hair oil stains, especially chair backs and arms, where the head or hands would usually rest. Though contemporary hairstyles may not utilize such oils, the antimacassar has retained its relevance, continuing to safeguard furniture while adding aesthetic value.

Types of Antimacassar

  • Lace Antimacassars: Known for their intricate designs, these are often used for decorative purposes in traditional or Victorian-style interiors.
  • Embroidered Antimacassars: Frequently adorned with elaborate patterns, these add a touch of luxury to any setting.
  • Knitted or Crocheted Antimacassars: These provide a homely, rustic charm and are relatively durable.
  • Printed Fabric Antimacassars: Made from printed fabric, these antimacassars offer a vast range of designs suitable for any interior style.
  • Leather Antimacassars: Ideal for protecting leather furniture, these antimacassars are durable and easy to clean.

Tips for Handling Antimacassar

  • Most antimacassars can be gently hand washed or machine washed on a delicate cycle.
  • It is advisable to dry them flat to maintain their shape and structure.
  • For leather antimacassars, using a mild leather cleaner is recommended. They should not be washed with water.

Major International Manufacturers and Users

  • IKEA: The Swedish multinational conglomerate is a major manufacturer and user of antimacassars, offering a variety of designs and materials to cater to global markets.
  • Textilia: A New Zealand-based company, Textilia offers antimacassars as part of its comprehensive home textile solutions.
  • LACE House: LACE House, a South Korean company, is known for its intricate lace antimacassars that blend tradition and modernity.
  • Wayfair: Wayfair, an American e-commerce company, sells a wide variety of antimacassars, from traditional lace to modern printed fabric designs.
  • La Redoute: This French multi-channel retailer offers a wide range of home dcor items, including stylish antimacassars.

Applications of Antimacassar

  • Home Dcor: Antimacassars serve dual purposes in home dcor, providing functional protection for furniture and adding an aesthetic element to the room's design.
  • Commercial Settings: In commercial settings like hotels or restaurants, antimacassars are used to protect and enhance the appearance of upholstery.
  • Transportation: They are often used in airplanes, trains, and buses to protect seats and provide a clean, pleasant environment for passengers.


Antimacassars encapsulate the perfect marriage of function and aesthetics within the textile industry. Originating from a practical need to protect furniture from hair oil stains, their evolution has been marked by growing design complexity and material diversity. Today, antimacassars are a testament to textile ingenuity, enhancing and safeguarding various spaces, from homes to commercial settings and transportation facilities. Regardless of shifts in interior design trends or changes in furniture manufacturing materials, the antimacassar remains a ubiquitous textile element. It is a silent custodian of our everyday spaces, preserving the lifespan of our furniture while simultaneously enriching our surroundings with its design.

A small piece of fabric placed on the top back and arms of an upholstered furniture to protect the upholstery. In the Victorian era, people used macassar oil in their hair. The antimacassars were invented to protect the furniture from that oil. Antimacassars can be made of cloth, crochetted, or tatted.

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