Oh velvet, how do I love thee? In just about any (upholstered) form actually.
Velvet, we’ve all grown up with it, we know it well through-out it’s many incarnations in our homes (and clothing) over the years. Not only has it been back in interiors for a while (was it ever truly gone?), it’s the perfect accent and purrs pure luxury when added to just about any room in a home.
The history of velvet is long and noble. Traditionally made of silk and originally created in India. The Egyptians used to export to the Italians who did all sorts of wonderful things with it, and sold it onwards into Europe, Africa and Asia. Its distinctive pile is created in a complex process of weaving then separating two pieces of cloth. Nowadays, velvet is also made of silk and cotton mixes and a variety of manmade materials can be used to create this ancient, sought-after fabric. And boy am I glad it’s stuck around for this long.
I grew up in a typical 1980’s English house. Floral wallpaper with matching boarders (thanks Laura Ashley), a smattering of cork wall tiles (a crime against interior-loving-humanity) and rather a lot of velvet. Looking back now, my Mum had a quite a thing for my favourite weave which is ultimately where my love of it came from. Our sofa was covered in the softest Persian velvet, replete with gold velvet cushions and the same material was carried over into sumptuous full-length curtains through-out the house. Too much? Never.
For me velvet should be as colourful as your design sensibilities will allow. It’s a way of adding an extra dimension of texture, complexity and magnificent colour in any interior. Probably with the exception of my bathrooms and laundry (although, never say never), there are an array of velvet furnishings in my home. It goes beautifully with linens and thicker weave fabrics. And it balances other complex patterned textiles perfectly.
Looking into my Interior Crystal Ball for inspiration (also known as Pinterest), I can see a lot of velvet in my future. Notably the reupholstering of several current pieces of furniture and the introduction of a few new furnishings, including new joinery seating.
If you’re looking for inspiration that will almost certainly give you the ‘Velvet Feels’ look to the application of velvet in commercial design. I have a hankering for a vivacious yellow velvet banquet seat in my dining-area-to-be à la the Ilse Crawford designed Duddells in Hong Kong. My heart is also set on introducing varying shades of greens so beautifully rendered in Joseph Dirand’s Monsieur Bleu in Paris. All super-swoonful don’t you agree?
The ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of incorporating velvet into your home are simple – do use it liberally and don’t be afraid to enjoy it in every colour.
So, the moral of my velvet obsession is that the basic DNA of your interiors should always include some form of velvet. Timeless luxury, versatile hues, perpetual lust-worthiness in one wonder-weave.