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Velvet—that interior design classic—is back in fashion again. Interiors expert Kate Watson-Smyth shows us how to modernise this ancient fabric in our homes.
Velvet is having a moment. It has been seen up and down the runways as part of various international fashion weeks and, where the catwalk leads, the cushions will be sure to follow.
Velvet is thought to have first been invented by the Chinese in the 13th century, but there is evidence that the Egyptians produced material using a similar technique to the one used to make it today.
This luxurious material went out of fashion in the latter half of the twentieth century when it came to be associated with overstuffed accent chairs and heavy curtains.
It resurfaced briefly in the 1970s in suit form with exaggerated flared trousers—only to disappear again as clothing manufacturers discovered Lycra and interior designers moved towards more modern fabrics that wouldn’t crush or stain.
But velvet is back. Modern technology has made it more durable and practical than it used to be and now it’s easy to bring it into every room in the house.
The comfort of velvet
The most obvious place is sofas and chairs, where this fabric has been undergoing something of a renaissance.
Modern technology has made it tougher and more crush-proof, and it can be more hardwearing than linen which will soften and become thinner over time—especially if there are a lot of denim jeans sitting on it.
One trend is to cover a traditional sofa, such as a chesterfield, in a modern colour such as orange or bright pink thus combining old with new in an unexpected way.
Velvet also mixes perfectly with other natural fibres, so take a tip from the Scandinavians and use it seasonally.
In winter, team strong-coloured velvet with knitted textures, cashmere and bold patterns, and in summer swap to linens and soft tones. Remember to make these accessories all different shapes and sizes—uniformity is not the key here.
A velvet bed throw is perfect for the colder months and will bring a luxury feel to the bedroom. Or choose a velvet headboard for a real hotel feel.
Continue the theme of soft textures and rich fabrics and bring in luxurious carpets to your home which will feel like velvet underfoot.
Opt for a soft-as-velvet feel underfoot and pair with darker walls. Photo: Barefoot Taj by Alternative Flooring
From floor to ceiling
But you don’t have to stick to velvet furniture and fabrics. You can now bring it into the very walls of your home with the new range of special effects paints called Dulux Ambiance—its Velvet collection mimics the real thing.
Dulux Ambiance Velvet collection of special effects paints.
So instead of sitting on velvet you can virtually drape your wall in it, bringing a sense of tactile luxury to your room.
Whichever way you add velvet to your home, it’s a sign of warmth and comfort; of times past. When times are uncertain, we tend to want to retreat into our homes and make them into more comfortable spaces. And velvet is one of the best ways to do just this.
#MyFutureWall is a Dulux Ambiance wall.
Kate Watson-Smyth has been a journalist for over 25 years, writing about interiors for the Financial Times, Daily Mail and The Independent. She runs the UK’s No 1 interiors blog, Mad about the House, and her first book, Shades of Grey, is out now.