Few fabrics are so revered that they’ve found their own place in the English language. Yet describe someone’s skin as ‘velvety’ and immediately a luxurious, sensuous softness springs to mind, so evocative are its qualities. As a result, there is a depth and richness that only velvet can bring to a scheme, keeping it safe from the vagaries of fashion and ensuring its role as a staple of elegant interior design. So we’ve created an essential guide to help you bring velvet home.
Velvet can be manufactured in various ways. The first velvets were made from natural fibre, such as linen, mohair, cotton and silk. With the advent of synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon and viscose, most modern velvets tend to be a blend of both. These combinations can offer superior softness, sheen and durability: all of our velvets are polyester or a cotton mix, which produce a hardwearing and high performance material ideal for a family home.
Expect the unexpected
As an upholstery fabric, velvet delivers a huge design punch. Yet for all its personality it can still be incredibly adaptable. A soft rose velvet on a sculpted bedhead can feel romantically 18th century, yet a contemporary pattern on a mid century modern chair can feel fresh and witty. Our Omega Prints range (above), both stain resistant and fire retardant, offers 50 colour ways over 16 designs, with something for every mood board. An eclectic range with florals and geometrics in hues such as cornflower, electric blue, olive and turquoise through to vibrant pinks and corals, it can be as daring or demure as you are. Our premium Tango Velvet collection spans timeless shades with a deep and sensuous pile, incredibly soft to the touch. Consider using them together for a subtle variation in texture and tone.
Playing with light
The beauty of velvet is partly in the variable quality of the way in which the nap catches the light. From a fresh glow in morning light to the way that low, rich evening light enhances the soft, plushness. Jewel tones magnify this quality and Linwood’s Omega collection (above) of richly coloured velvets, produced by one of Italy’s leading mills, is an ideal choice for upholstery. Made from polyester, Omega is particularly hardwearing and durable but is designed to look and feel like more expensive cotton velvet. The mercurial nature of velvet comes into its own here – when used for curtains this fabric creates a waterfall feel to the drape. Used on a footstool or chair it follows the form of the furniture, enhancing its curves and structure. Velvet’s durability is measured by a rub count with anything over 15,000 regarded as suitable for busy areas such as a hotel or bar area. Our Omega velvet is rated at 100,000 rubs. A key part of velvets appeal is its ability to age with a lovely patina and flattened or lightly worn patches can also be part of its enduring vintage appeal.
Small and perfectly formed
Velvet is exceptional in its presence and effect in a larger scheme. A scattering of velvet cushions on a linen sofa can add some play and depth, contrasting to the muted surface of other fabrics or unrelenting hard furniture surfaces. For a casual introduction of velvet fabrics, try a throw or cushions, the ideal opportunity to bring the sensuality home in a smaller way, offering easy updates to any scheme. For a truly tactile experience use chintz patterned velvet updated with some acid bright tones and backed with silk or thick woven linen. Guaranteed you’ll find your guests absentmindedly stroking them.
Explore all our velvets