The standout fabric at the Milan international furniture fair this year was without a doubt velvet.
Many people think of velvet as being a product of the 1970's, but the truth is that it’s a material that has been around for thousands of years. It's always been prized as an opulent and luxurious fabric, even to the extent that it was once reserved only for Royalty!
The velvet palette - Traditional richness and modern pastels
The standout colours in velvet include the traditional deep, rich tones that we’ve long associated with the material. Think blues in petrol or navy, Reds in burgundy or plum, and greens in emerald, olive or leafy green.
Added to this traditional palette are a selection of pastels – in particular pastel pinks, rose golds and a hit of baby blue.
How to use it - Statement styling pieces
Because it makes such a statement, and can’t help but be noticed – velvet can be an intimidating fabric for many people to use in their homes. If you’re not game enough to upholster an entire lounge suite in velvet, there are still ways you can add some velvet luxury.
Cushions // Velvet cushions are an easy way to add the luxurious look and feel of velvet to your lounge suite. Try for three cushions, with two at one end of the sofa, and one at the other end. Not all of the cushions need to be velvet, try one or two cushions in velvet, with the remainder being in leather, linen or wool fabric. With cushions – make a statement with strong, on-trend colours – after all, it’s low risk, as you can change the cushions as soon as you want a different look!
Drapery // Add a touch of velvet to your home via your windows! Velvet is a stunning material for curtains. Not only does it give a sense of opulence to a space, but velvet also has excellent thermal, acoustic and light-blocking properties as well! For drapery – aim for some of the softer colour tones.
Occasional Chairs & Ottomans // Add a velvet upholstered armchair or ottoman to your lounge room setting. An extra cushion or two made up from any surplus velvet can be used on your lounge suite to tie the velvet in.
Living with velvet - Modern velvets can suit your lifestyle!
It’s true that even just a few years ago, velvet was not the easiest of fabrics to live with. These original, full cotton velvets would flatten over time, could show bruising, and were always susceptible to shading.
Nowadays, there are some beautiful velvet fabrics available which blend cotton with synthetic fibres.
These blended velvets overcome virtually all of the common shortcomings of traditional velvet, and make it an ideal fabric for daily use in any family situation. It’s even possible to have a 100% synthetic velvet (such as James Dunlop’s 'Chateau' collection) – which is rated as extra heavy duty, and even suitable for commercial use.