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Visit Our Design Center!

Customize Your Ride! Visit Our Design Center Today and speak to our specialists to discover the perfect interior for you. Drop by during our business hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST, or make an appointment for personalized one-on-one help. Click to Schedule now.

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How to Incorporate a TMI Interior into a Custom Vehicle Build

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TMI Products


Building a custom vehicle is a delicate balance of planning the individual areas to be brought together in a cohesive manner. The exterior gets thought of first and has the most attention paid to it, the engine and transmission are usually next, with an equal amount of attention paid to the wheels/brakes as well as the suspension to get the right stance and stopping power. The interior does hold equal importance to the other areas of a build but is often thought of last in the sequence. The interior can be the lynchpin of the entire build with its ability to take the other areas of the build and tie it all together. A little bit of carbon fiber to play off the hood, complementing the exterior paint with a dominant color on the seats, or a visual cue that eye from the exterior to inside the cabin, the interior can really make a difference when executed correctly. Sadly, the interior is sometimes the last part of a build and can be rushed due to time or budget restraints.

1st Decision

In order for a custom vehicle to be more than the sum of its parts, the interior has to be moved up higher in the planning process so it can be properly integrated as well as tie in the rest of the build. Or else you run the risk of having a boring, bland interior that does not highlight any of the other design elements of the vehicle. So to really have a build that ties in all of those elements that make the vehicle what it is, the interior has to be higher on the list. Maybe a build can be sorted into two or three sections like engine/drivetrain, interior/exterior/wheels, and finally chassis/suspension. At least with that type of division, when the powerplant and suspension get sorted out the interior and exterior can be planned to include elements from all over the build.

So Many Choices

One way to really make a build seem more holistic is to treat the interior as a complete package of finished components just like the engine and transmission, or the chassis and suspension. Being able to not only visualize what the interior will look like but picking it out yourself is key. The conventional method is to go to a trusted custom interior shop and design the interior with the help of the owner or lead installer. They can outfit any seat or door panel with custom covers to make the old version new again. An interior shop can offer a variety of styles, materials (including new seat foam), as well as stitching, but don’t offer new seat frames. Another massive downside is that since the interior has yet to be made, there is nothing to physically put next to each other to see how light changes, or if the color tones are complimentary.

Custom in Less Time

One of the additional downsides of using an interior shop is the time needed for a full custom install. Interior shops are usually staffed by a small group of craftsmen and their workload is usually scheduled out for months. But even if a project starts at its intended time, it can take anywhere from 4-6 months to complete. And the vehicle is then occupied for that period preventing any additional work from occurring which is why custom builds can take years to complete. A custom interior from a shop can be an unknown cost till the final design is done, and due to the time spent labor is also unknown.

One way to finalize an interior is to find a complete seat from a place like ProCar by SCAT, Corbeau, JBUGS, or the more universal seats being offered from CarID. Some offer complete replacement seats, but their choices are limited. Others offer new seat upholstery and new seat foam, but then the old seat frames have to be reused. Having control over what type of seats, what patterns, what color (or combination of colors) will look best, and being able to order door panels, a dashpad, headliner, and a center console that also shares the same color and design scheme of the seats is ideal. That way, the aforementioned elements of the exterior or engine can be brought into the interior and the two areas can play off each other.

Go with the Best

Automotive interior companies do offer a wide variety of upgrades in terms of interior choices, but the sad part is that none of the aforementioned companies offer a complete line of interior components the same way that TMI Products do. TMI Products can offer the automotive enthusiast a complete line of interior products that can be matched to the same materials and design of the seats. A complete interior can be designed using either their website or talking to a real Sales Representative to make the interior not only customized to your liking with options like different materials, patterns, inserts, and stitching, but it can be matched to the exterior as well to bring the overall design of the vehicle from the exterior to the interior.

Using an all-in-one provider like TMI Products can bring the design of the interior to the forefront and make it more included in the design, thereby eliminating the pitfall of leaving the interior design to the last stop on the build process. By moving up the interior design to maybe the second or third step of the build, the interior can be better integrated into the overall design. Another advantage of using products from TMI is that they arrive complete right out of the box ready to be installed by either a trusted shop or can actually be tackled by a semi-advanced DIYer which brings the total time invested in the whole vehicle down significantly. By using completed interior products a better timeline can be assessed at the beginning of the project with each individual area taking a predetermined amount of time, without the interior being an undeterminable amount of time due to the intense labor that it takes to build a one-off custom interior.

Time is Money

Allowing the interior to be thought of as higher on the build list will allow it to be integrated into the overall design and make the vehicle look more cohesive. It allows both the builder and the owner to have a step completed while the vehicle is languishing in either paint and body, wiring, or engine building as each of those steps is very labor-intensive as well. It can save money, in the long run, to use completed components as the time and costs will be known in the planning stage.

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