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Patterned velvet upholstery fabric: how and when to use it

John Smigielski provides one or two pointers to help you embrace this prestigious textile

Patterned velvet upholstery fabric: how and when to use it

Velvet is one of the most stunning upholstery fabrics. It’s soft, luxurious, and surprisingly hardwearing and when it catches the light it looks rather magical, adding depth to any scheme. There are literally hundreds of plain velvets available in popular colours but the more adventurous might want to consider exploring the many beautiful, patterned velvet upholstery fabrics, ranging from florals and geometrics to intricate designs based on archival documents; the choice is almost endless. Fancy dipping your toe into the wonderful world of pattern but unsure how to use this style of fabric in your home? Then read on, as we explore the many benefits of this timeless fabric.


Patterned velvet upholstery fabric: where to start…

 Linwood | Fabric | Velvet Wonderland | Close Encounters



We understand that choosing the perfect patterned velvet fabric can be a little overwhelming. Highlighting colours of a favourite rug or painting in your chosen patterned velvet is always a good starting point for a considered scheme. If you have a blank canvas, the world is your oyster. Turn everything on its head and allow your chosen velvet to set the tone for your room. Impactful patterns such as Grey Skies, which celebrates the mystery and beauty of the Orient, would look wonderful in a spacious sitting room. For a smaller, more intimate space such as a bedroom, Kerplunk in Steel Grey, could be a good choice. Tonal colours lend this subtle geometric a pleasing, restful edge. Take time to search through the printed velvets on our site or speak to your local upholsterer, who will be able to advise.


What are the benefits of using velvet as an upholstery fabric?


Linwood | Fabric | Tango | Jungle Rumble



Quite simply it always looks stunning: plush opulent, and stylish, so velvet upholstery fabric is the ideal choice for any sofa or armchair. Velvet fabric also aligns with the lines of each piece of furniture, creating a pleasing tailored finish that never fails to lend a sense of beauty. Just look at how this tropical printed velvet fabric, which features stunning flora and fauna in a palette of vibrant shades, hugs the gentle curves of this sofa. It’s worth noting that all our patterned velvets also drape beautifully for curtains, so don’t neglect your windows. A splash of jolly, patterned velvet made into curtains or blinds is hard to beat.


For velvet curtain ideas, see our blog



Is velvet is known for its soft texture? 


Linwood | Fabric | Miyagi | Pink Green



Our velvet fabrics are spun in Italy, which for centuries has led the way in producing this luxurious fabric. The skilled craftspeople use a special loom to weave the yarn together. The fabric is then split down the middle, creating two identical pieces, each with the upraised pile that provides its soft texture. This is one of the main reasons why people love velvet, it’s so satisfying to run you hand across and feel the soft texture. Just imagine relaxing on this sofa covered in Miyagi velvet upholstery fabric with a drink in hand at the end of a long day. 


Does velvet last longer? 

 Linwood | Fabric | Wild Life Velvet | Lumen | Metallic



There are so many fallacies surrounding velvet… some people mistakenly think this prestigious fabric is only suitable for occasional chairs or that families should steer clear, but nothing could be further from the truth. The flat pile makes it a highly durable fabric, suitable for all homes as light dirt should easily fall away. Many of our velvets have a high rub test, which shows how much wear and tear a fabric will take before there is a noticeable change in appearance. The higher the score, the more durable the fabric is. Lumen from our new Wild Life collection has a score of 50,000, which means it’s suited to contract use as well as domestic, so you can rest assured it will look good for years to come. It’s also very difficult to snag (pull the fabric), as there are no loose threads, so should survive a cat’s claws!



Velvet gives your room a classy feel...

 Linwood | Fabric | Issa | Earth



We’ve already touched on the soft and luxurious feel of velvet fabric, but this much-loved fabric is rather chameleon like, successfully blending with different décor styles. It feels equally at home in a sleek, modern home on a low-level curved sofa as it does in a more traditional environment. There’s something about its star quality that often makes it the main attraction in any scheme. Choose a complementary wall colour and highlight pops of colour from within the design in accessories and you have a guaranteed formula for success, as shown to perfection on this printed velvet sofa covered in Issa, which is based on a Persian kalamkari. Velvet is also useful for adding more depth to a scheme, it looks particularly attractive mixed with simple linens or even leather. Mixing textures in such as fashion stops rooms being one note; something we never want to be accused of.



How to care for velvet upholstery fabric

Linwood | Fabric | Omega Prints II | Fez | Paprika



You’ll be glad to hear that it’s surprisingly easy to maintain. Unlike cotton or linen, velvet doesn’t need regular cleaning – we suggest simply incorporating it into your normal schedule. So, after cleaning the carpet, use the hand-held nozzle to lift dirt. To refresh the pile, simply brush lightly against the pile, ideally this should be done on a weekly basis. If a stain is more embedded, it’s best to speak to an expert.


See our cleaning sofa blog for more ideas



Stain resistant velvet fabrics


Linwood | Fabric | Kami | Topaz



Most of our printed velvets – which are polyester but look and feel like more expensive cotton velvet – are stain-resistant, so if you react quickly everyday spills such as wine or tea should blot away in an instant. This means velvet is suitable for all upholstery: family sofas, banquette seating, armchairs, headboards, or footstools can all be covered in charming, patterned velvet fabric. We stock so many designs – Kami (pictured above), Velvet Wonderland, Omega Prints I and II have all been treated with our stain resistant finish and cover a wealth of styles from toiles to florals, allowing you to introduce character and life to any room.


How to style velvet upholstery fabrics


Linwood | Fabric | Wild Life | Wild | Midnight


This is all about layering, a term that is banded around in interior design circles but simply means the art of combining different fabrics, patterns and colours and textures in a way that doesn’t jar; it should simply feel like a room has formed organically over years. The ideal starting point is to choose one dominant fabric, such as this bold printed velvet – Wild – with its menagerie of parrots, lions, and alluring flowers – and then the layering begins. Plain velvets pick up the colours of the curtains, the bright yellow console table brings the gold to the fore and the choice of a lighter wall colour and plain boards allows the curtains to be the main feature of this room. It takes a little bravery but play around with ideas. If you want to mix different patterns in one room, it’s best to combine prints in different styles and scales.


We hope you agree that patterned velvet upholstery fabric offers a wealth of possibilities for your furniture. So many of us are a little nervous when it comes to pattern, but it can transform any room; offering an opulent note that feels inviting and joyful. And remember a little goes along way…



Are there many types of velvet fabrics? As early as 2000BC the Egyptians created handwoven velvet, but it was during the Renaissance (1400-1600AD) that velvet became the chosen fabric of nobility and royalty. Thankfully, with mass production, velvet is now available to all. Velvet can be woven from silk, cotton, or polyester and there are many finishes available from crushed velvet to plain velvet. Whichever type of velvet you choose, you can do so safe in the knowledge that this prestigious textile not only feels indulgent but offers practicality too.


What different types of upholstery fabrics are available? The main types of fabric used for upholstery are linen, cotton, polyester, leather, and wool. Upholstery fabrics can be woven from one type of yarn or a blend. Each has its own unique feel and properties. Linen, for instance, is hardwearing and naturally absorbs moisture without holding bacteria and lends a room a relaxed feel. Whereas wool can be woven with interesting textural finishes and is particularly kind to the environment as is made from a sustainable resource and is naturally fire-retardant.