Once seen as the preserve of luxury, regal accommodation and faded country homes, velvet is a trend that is steeped in history but has lasted the test of time. Sumptuous, soft and with a richness of colour unlike any other fabric, velvet today can work in both a traditional as well as contemporary settings. But it takes the experience of a London interior designer to know how to incorporate it into an interior scheme perfectly.
Since it was first brought to this country in 809 A.D. by Kashmiri merchants from Baghdad, velvet has to be one of the most versatile textures to introduce into a decorating scheme. It’s soft to touch, exudes comfort and style but is also durable, which makes it a great choice for stand-out furniture pieces.
Conventionally, velvet was made from silk and later cotton, and was the choice of the rich and the royal due to its sumptuous feel and look, as well as its high cost of production. Today it can be made from other materials and even synthetic fabrics, which offer more hard-wearing and affordable options.
Not only has the fabric evolved in terms of its structure, it now also comes in a wide variety of colours. As such, it has transcended its traditional uses, and is now being incorporated into other more contemporary interiors from hotel bars to loft apartments – its sense of drama creating an impact wherever it goes.
Velvet feels and looks more luxurious than other fabrics, but because it’s widely used across pieces, you can go all out or keep it simple.
One of the most popular choices when it comes to including velvet in a decorating scheme is to use in upholstery. Whether it’s armchairs, sofas or footstools, a piece of furniture covered in a beautiful rich shade of velvet, speaks of luxury and taking a pleasure in one’s surroundings.
But it’s not only luxury furnishings where the trend for this fabric is seeing resurgence. Velvet-style carpet is also on the rise in terms of popularity, while cushions and curtains have never really lost their allure.
This is partly due to the fact that over the years, the colour range has expanded when it comes to velvet. The dramatic and dark tones still work wonderfully if you want to create a sense of drama, while the red and blue palette offers a variety of rich hues, exuding a unique jewel-like quality. Meanwhile, softer more recent colour palettes of creams and pale greens are fast becoming a popular choice when recreating a Nordic or more contemporary room design.
The popularity of velvet continues, not only because of the luxury and richness that it offers in its texture and colour, but also because of the wealth of choice in terms of finishes – it lifts darker styled rooms with its raised plush texture. This can then be built upon by introducing further light reflecting textures, which these spaces need to define them.
From crushed and matte velvet all the way through to deep pile, with interwoven pattern, this sumptuous fabric lends itself to both minimalist and maximalist designs. Whether one leans more to statement furnishings, curtains or carpets; or smaller accent items including cushions or a luxe throw, these pieces will add instant lustre to your sofa or bed. Either way, the trend is here to stay and whatever statement you want to make, velvet does the talking for you. As Napoleon Bonaparte in so many words: “A bench is wooden, cover it in velvet and it becomes a throne.”