Velvet. Be still my heart. This deliciously luxurious fabric has romanced me for decades. Today, velvet love is spreading like wildfire in the world of interior design. Big name designers are putting this fabric of emperors into everyday designs, with brilliant results.
First, let’s get a bit technical. What is velvet, away? Wikipedia says: “Velvet is woven on a special loom that weaves two thicknesses of the material at the same time. The two pieces are then cut apart to create the pile effect, and the two lengths of fabric are wound on separate take-up rolls.” It can be made from several kinds of fibers, the most costly of which is silk. Everyday velvets are more likely made from cotton, linen, mohair, wool, polyester, nylon, viscose and acetate.
Historians say the art of velvet weaving began in the Far East. Merchants introduced it in Venice and soon, people all over Europe were clamoring for this splendidly soft cloth that made a heck of a royal robe or wall hanging. There are so many reasons to introduce a bit of velvet into your decor:
Velvet makes colors richer
Saturated colors are huge right now, with hues ranging from daring emerald green, sapphire blue and magenta to subtle gray, navy and brown. Velvet is a sensational way to bring a color story to life because it gives every tone a depth and richness second to none.
Just a little touch adds luxury
All it takes is a touch of velvet to make a space feel luxurious. In my own home, I often finish my accent pillows with velvet trim. The pillows on my bed are outlined with black velvet, one with a welt and another with a flange. In the winter, I like to add a bit more weight to my pillow mix so I switch out the linen pillows with a few made of navy velvet.
It’s surprisingly durable
Velvet is one of those rare gems: a luxury fabric that is also durable. When we were decorating our downstairs family room, where Dan and Lyric often hang out, every piece of furniture had to be husband- and dog-proof. Hello velvet. I covered our sofa in a cognac-colored velvet and trimmed it with a dark brown leather. I chose dense velvet that looks like mohair, and it’s done a great job of holding its own, no matter what these two dish out.
You can’t help but touch it
I think the best interior spaces delight all your senses. So when we work with customers, we like to weave in a variety of textures. When it comes to bedding and furnishings, nothing is more touchable than velvet. You can’t help but run your hands over it, relishing in its silky smoothness.
This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at nellhills.com.