Decorating With Velvet Fabric

Get your home dressed for success with this luxe material.

It was only a matter of time before vivacious velvet came off the catwalk and sashayed back into the home. This sumptuous fabric has a rich history originating in China and coming to Europe via the Silk Route. Italy was the first European country to create its own velvet industry and it was used in many luxury goods including furniture, clothing, upholstery, curtains and even wallpaper.

Decorating With Velvet Fabric Photo Gallery

Today we can get a hint of the intricately-patterned velvets from the Renaissance era by viewing the surviving portraits of the great and the good, from the Medicis to Good Queen Bess, in galleries around the world. It was not unusual for the wealthy to have fabrics woven from silk and threads of precious metal such as gold and silver, or to order customised textiles bearing their coats of arms for added bling.


This season the mood for velvet is low-key and comfortable, with a nod to a retro palette with soft greys, mustard yellow and splashes of teal. Instead of the crushed velvet of the glam rock era, this easy to live with look works well with neutral schemes or colourful ones, depending on your taste. So think clean and clear rather than Gothic and dramatic for a refreshing approach to this wonderfully tactile material. If you’re considering a new sofa or easy chair, be savvy with your swatches and find out exactly what is on offer from different manufacturers.

It is possible to buy stainresistant velvet and there are many different variations on polyester-cotton offerings, so you are sure to find one which will work for your home. It’s important to bear in mind that, like all fabrics, it will fade in strong sunlight and that some types will mark more easily. If you’re having existing furniture recovered then take the advice of a reputable upholsterer when selecting a fabric and make sure that you know how to take care of any stains. Sponge cleaning is possible for paw prints and any other spills but you may want to keep your seating to yourself!

I love variety in a cushion collection, and like to have some velvet in the mix. A velvet cushion is the perfect foil to a soft cotton, or highly textured hand-woven cushion, and is a great way to bring bold colours into a room. Small touches such as velvet piping and backing can add an opulent feel. It’s vital not to overdo it with velvet, so I like to accent cushions, small upholstered chairs, or ottomans, and mix in linen and cotton in muted colours to keep it feeling light, clean and contemporary.

Velvet pouffes, £185 each, velvet cushions, priced from £35 each, Brooklyn three-seater sofa in classic grey velvet priced from £1,750, oversized brass angle floor light, £179, potted faux succulent medley, £43, Isaac stool in copper, £65, antiqued gold pendant mirrors priced from £148, insect prints priced from £29 at Graham & Green.

Site to see Explore a Yorkshire gem with a trip to Sheffield Botanical Gardens this autumn. Built in the 1830s and lovingly restored and re-opened just 10 years ago, these gardens are once again Sheffield’s pride and joy.

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