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Buyer's guide: choosing the right velvet for your sofa

What to consider when taking the 'velvet' plunge…

A velvet sofa is no ordinary piece of furniture. Other sofas can be beautiful, eye catching and refined, but only a velvet sofa has that particular design swagger; a sense of luxury and indulgence that makes it seem the most important piece in a room. Maybe it’s because velvet has royal origins, thousands of years of history or simply the sheer sensory plushness the unique pile delivers. But for all the velvet trends that come and go a velvet sofa is a lifetime investment that will outlast them all. Here’s what to consider when taking the velvet sofa plunge.

 

 Tango Rainforest Rabble/Linwood

Go bold and go home

Velvet may be a historic fabric but the modern incarnations can be radical in design and performance. This Tango Rainforest Rabble in Neon is not only a slightly modern twist on the idea of a classic floral it is made from cotton, making it incredibly hard wearing. Using patterned, printed velvet such as this also creates a forgiving backdrop if you do have a serial spillage offender. Cotton velvet is also a natural material if you are aiming to have a home with less synthetic materials.

 

Omega Print English Oak/Linwood 

Accentuate the positive

Not many items of furniture can actually be enhanced by feeling well worn. But that’s the magic of a velvet sofa, to which different design rules seem to apply. Part of the appeal of a classic velvet sofa is that it will age well; taken good care of it can last for many years. The lived in look is a style statement in itself, but if you prefer something a little more formal, it’s good to remember sofa cushions can be refilled or replaced. If the slouchy look is your taste feather over foam will be the best choice, but foam holds its shape better and will not need re-plumping to make it look smart again. Foam can come in various densities (this influences how much you can sink into them and overall support) and feather may need replacing sooner. It may be worth considering cushions created from a mix of foam and feather, delivering the best of both worlds. If you are in it for the long haul, consider changing fashions. This period inspired Omega Print English Oak used on this sofa frame is a timeless choice that will always have design cachet.

 

Omega/Linwood 

The simple life

A plain velvet sofa is a classic choice. A plain velvet fabric makes the softness of the nap so very apparent due to the way it catches the light as it changes over the form of the couch. To keep this effect whilst adding variety, and preventing a large block of one colour dominating a room, try mixing in other plain velvets. With the inclusion of these rich toned complimentary cushions on this Omega sofa covered in Mantis, the palette takes on an almost jewel box quality. Produced in Italy from polyester, this durable fabric has the depth of a more expensive fabric, adding to the sumptuous feel.

 

Nova Scotia design in Fall/Linwood

Blushing Beauty

When choosing a fabric, take advantage of velvets natural strengths. This Archive Nova Scotia design in Fall is a wonderful example of the way velvet can flatter lighter shades. Due to the way velvet is produced it can create a very dense colour and on tones that could seem insipid, it delivers a saturated energy. Despite the traditional shape of this small velvet sofa this unusual print gives it a contemporary edge enhanced by the pops of colours. Combined with the contrasting blue painted wall the overall look is pretty but unexpected, the ideal result when using velvet sofa in a simple scheme.

 

 Cosmos Neptune in Shadow/Linwood

Perfect partners

Pairing a plain grey velvet sofa with a statement chair can deliver an instant design win. It’s a great way to keep the larger piece of furniture, which may a large investment and need to fit into various schemes over its lifetime; in a subtle plain velvet but without compromising the overall look. This Cosmos Neptune in Shadow is a cotton, viscose and polyester mix, suitable for both contract and domestic use. It also works beautifully on all kind of shapes, and the shimmer in the flat parts of the weave adds some extra texture without taking over. Using this on throw cushions on a velvet sofa could also add quiet interest without the commitment of a full piece.

 

 Tango Island Paradise in Noir/Linwood

 

Handled with Care

A two-seater velvet sofa is a great opportunity to go wild. The scale of these pieces lends itself to a dramatic approach, as they aren’t so big that they will overwhelm a room but they are large enough to make a strong visual impact. If you like the idea of a black velvet sofa but want to soften the shape slightly (black velvet can seem very solid and heavy if not handled well) try a patterned velvet such as this Tango Island Paradise in Noir. Charcoal velvet also has a similar design effect but is a little easier to incorporate into a wider palette. These darker shades can show lint easily, as well as pet hair and dust. They may need vacuuming as part of the weekly clean to keep your sofa looking at it’s best. But for the luxurious punch they deliver, it’s worth it.

 

 Cosmos, Zeta/Linwood

Back to the future

A great way to bring new life to an old piece of furniture is to reupholster in a surprising new velvet. Consider a modernist gold velvet sofa, giving sleek lines a luxe edge, or a velvet chesterfield sofa with contrasting buttons. The best style use of a reinvented vintage velvet sofa is to enhance the beauty of both the velvet and the era of the furniture, achieved by creating a juxtaposition of their inherent qualities. Consider which fabrics will most flatter the shape or history of the piece. The Zeta fabric from our Cosmos collection on this iconic chair by designer Eileen Grey evokes the decadence of the 1920s, complete with the fashionable tones of the day. A crushed velvet corner sofa could lend some a bohemian chic to a previously staid design. Even with practical item such as a reinvented as a velvet sofa bed in some an acid toned geometric pattern, you suddenly have a design feature at play.

 

Omega Prints II, Fez/Linwood

Classic with a twist

Is there a more iconic piece of furniture than a red Velvet Sofa? A design staple, from 1950s boudoirs to stately homes, the red sofa is both a decadent and brave choice. A luxury velvet sofa is often most eye catching when used with a bold plain velvet thanks to the intensity of colour that velvet creates. But for something less dominant without losing the statement edge, consider our Omega Prints II in Fez. This sumptuous synthetic velvet is hardwearing, but also offers has its own unique values. Synthetic velvet can have an extra strong sheen, an inhernet sparkle created by the qualities in the yarn. When planning your overall look compare the two velvet finishes to see which suits your project best. And don’t be afraid to use plain velvet in a high traffic area. Spills can usually be removed with a a soft cloth, and many of our velvets are stain resistant. So you’ll be sitting pretty.


For more ideas on selecting the right velvet for your project read our guide.