It was on every fashion runway. Women’s Wear Daily praised Armani dresses in this material. Harper’s Bazaar called it one of the biggest trends of 2022. At the British film awards, celebrities celebrated in Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Gucci versions. It has even made its way into casual wear, in jeans, T-shirts, and stripped-down T-shirts.
Once the luxurious material of the nobility, velvet is now a fashion favorite at both the private label and mass market levels.
And as it often happens, what is in vogue ends up doing the same in home decor.
“As an interior designer, I love infusing fashion trends into my designs,” says Cincinnati-based Amy Youngblood. of yourself and others around you. Fashion is the driving force that interior design follows and in which it finds its inspiration”.
But should we say that velvet is “trend”?
Here’s Jessica Dodell-Feder, Executive Editor of HGTV Magazine: “I was talking to our style and home directors about this, and honestly, we all felt like the velvet never went away. It’s one of those classic fabrics that adds texture and depth to a space without introducing pattern. And that’s cool,” she says.
For John McClain, an interior designer in Orlando, Florida, and author of the new “The Designer Within: A Professional Guide to a Well-Styled Home” (Gibbs Smith), terry fabric is on speed dial in his little black book of upholstery.
“Velvet is a mainstay of my designs,” he says.
He made a velvet home theater wall for a client and says it has excellent noise reduction properties. He called the fabric “our favorite seat cover.”
Velvet, he says, can offer deep color and a rich feel that “shines at a dinner party.” At the same time, it can be a lot tougher than people realize – particularly if you buy a commercial-grade synthetic velvet.
“Nobody knows the difference, because the ‘hand’, or feel, is so soft. It looks just as sophisticated – and just as good – as its natural cotton counterpart,” he says,
Dodell-Feder agrees. “For most families, performance velor will likely do the trick. It’s not as luxurious as real velvet, but it’s easier to care for and has a similar softness. As I have a dog, when I bought a sofa for my living room, I opted for performance velvet, ”she says.
And Milton, Massachusetts-based designer Jillian Hayward Schaible also cautions shoppers to select the right kind of soft velvet for their furniture.
“It can add lovely depth in texture and shine to any piece, from furniture to accents. If you’re looking for a pet-friendly and family-friendly fabric, we recommend opting for a high-performance velvet,” she says.
Velvet is made from natural fibers such as silk, cotton, linen, wool; Less expensive versions may have a synthetic blend. Performance velvet is made from polyester.
The editors of Domino magazine recently coined the name “Plazacore” for a style that harks back to the Manhattan hotel that housed the children’s book character Eloise. It is evoked by accessories such as crystals, polished metals and soft velvet throws.
As for color, McClain says she typically prefers light neutrals — “yeah, even in a family with kids” — but that sometimes “we also love the touch of a colorful velvet. It’s a statement maker.”
New York City designer Gideon Mendelson says he puts velvet on sofas, chairs, headboards and, when the budget allows, walls. He likes muted grays and camels, as well as “deeper shades of teal, chocolate brown and burgundy”.
HGTV deputy director Lora Yoon Huh sees a trend towards warm tones. “Lately, I’ve been seeing velvet in sunset colors like ocher and orange.”
But the magazine did a recent shoot of a bed with a pale pink velvet pillow. Says Huh: “There is something about the way velvet catches light that gives any color a beautiful dimension.”
And designer Nicole Fisher placed a champagne-toned velvet bed in a home in New York City’s West Village for a sophisticated yet comfortable venue. So, in the family room, she placed a pair of ottomans in a soft velvet, yet with vibrant patterns, to highlight the space’s sapphire blue walls.
“There are so many ways to incorporate that cozy velvet vibe,” she says.
See what some retailers are offering
For large pieces, check out Anthropologie’s Juneau buffet, a standout piece with a chic, easy-to-talk vibe. It could be an entertaining space with its plentiful storage, Carrara marble top and brass accents. Available in blush, deep turquoise or moss green piped velvet.
The retailer’s other offerings include the Lena Elowen chair. Antique French and Italian botanical tapestries were the inspiration for the velvet upholstery.
You’ll find more comfortable and stylish seating at Arhaus, Article, and Lulu and Georgia. And at Thuma, there’s a beautiful cushioned washable velvet headboard cover, in charcoal, mist and linen colours.
Aerin has elegant moss or velvet trays in shades of dark blue and brass-trimmed frames that would make chic accessories. Parachute’s washed cotton velor bedding comes in a beautiful shade of green or bronze.
And for an unusual take on the material, consider Artaic’s striking mosaic designed to mimic the look of crushed velvet. It comes in two colors: emerald and cabernet.
Cook is a freelance writer covering design and decorating topics for the Associated Press.