Velvet has always held a special spot in the hearts of design-lovers, but this luxe but hardy fabric with a deliciously tactile touch has been adding to its fan-based recently. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon just yet—or still can’t believe something so sumptuous can withstand wear—we’ve rounded up eight reasons why now is the time to reconsider this versatile fabric!
1. Because It Radiates Luxe
Originating in China 4,500 years ago, velvet was originally manufactured from silk—resulting in an opulent fabric with crazy-inviting softness and an even crazier price-tag, hence its association with noble robes and royal thrones. While today’s velvets are more often made of cotton or rayon (to keep cost in check), its short, dense pile hasn’t changed, meaning its illustrious sheen and satiny softness endure. Bottom line: if you want to add an elegant (and potentially regal!) note to your home, velvet’s your ace.
2. Because It Looks Great On Curves (Sofa Curves, That Is)
While it’s true serpentine sofas and wavy chaises are statement pieces in their own right, cloaking one in velvet will take it from head-turner to total stop-drop-and-wow stunner. Part of the reason is that curves naturally catch light, and velvet loves light (it illuminates its sheen). To get the full effect, consider Vladimir Kagan’s velvet-clad boomerang sofas, or more recently, the creations of Milan-based Dimore Studio. While either designers’ work would pass muster in cotton or leather, velvet turns them into a total swoon fest.
3. Because It’s Really A Cinch To Clean
Velvet has a reputation for being high-maintenance when it comes to dirt and spills, but with regular upkeep, it’s remarkably durable. The key? Regular vacuuming (just a quick brush-over with a hose attachment should do the trick), as well as attacking stains on arrival. Blot stains at first sight and most will come right out (thanks to most velvets being treated with stain repellants nowadays), and as for lost sheen? Use a steamer to fluff up those matted fibers.
4. Because Karen Elson Used It In Every Room Of Her House—And You Can Too!
Model-turned-crooner Karen Elson worked with design superstars Pierce & Ward to deck out her Nashville Home in a painterly palette of blush, moss, emerald and sea foam—with velvet worked into every nook. The living room contains a quartet of retro, captain’s-style chairs upholstered in emerald velvet, while the sitting room showcases a dusty pink velvet sofa. And the dressing room? A velvet Queen Anne sitting chair. The take-away? There’s nowhere velvet can’t hang.
5. Because You NEED To Try It Paired With Brass
While velvet and wood have an undeniably good rapport, pairing your velvet with an equally luxe material like brass will instantly bring it into the current design lexicon. The ultimate glamour couple, velvet and brass feel like a Hollywood Regency throwback. If you’re looking for velvet and brass pieces that will pair perfectly, keep an eye out for those of Milo Baughman—he owned the look.
6. Because Cats Are Likely To Think It’s Anything BUT The Cat’s Pajamas
If you own a cat, then you know they love fabrics that they can sink their claws into—DEEP. Which means woven fabrics like linen and tweed (which feature an enticing cross-hatch for them to dig into) are out. Velvet, on the other hand, is smooth and offers little resistance if snagged, so felines usually aren’t tempted to take a test swipe. While there’s no guarantee your kitty won’t ever try it, there are plenty of success stories out there!
7. Because It Holds Onto Color Like A Pro
Thanks to its short pile, velvet drinks up color. For those craving a major pink sofa moment, you can’t do better than one in velvet, which will render your chosen hue in mega-watt color. As you’ll find, virtually every color in the rainbow is given props by velvet—jewel tones look resplendent, primary hues look vivacious, and pastels feel fabulously femme. If you’re not a color fiend, however, don’t fret! Velvet pillows (in all of their color-drunken glory) are perfect for adding a pop of color to a neutral sofa or chair.
8. Because There’s A Velvet For Every Personality (And Pocketbook)
Velvet options run the gamut. Here’s a quick 101 breakdown:
Silk Velvet: The OG of velvets, this is the most expensive and most delicate of the bunch. Due to cost, silk velvet is most often mixed with rayon these days (bonus: rayon boosts durability!), but its plush, glow-y sheen remains, making silk-rayon velvet an excellent choice for those looking to splurge.
Mohair Velvet: Just as glam, but more durable than silk versions. As might be expected, mohair velvet takes dye extremely well, making it a perfect option for pillows and statement furniture.
Cotton & Linen Velvets: These two fabrics round out the pack nicely, since both offer the perfect combo of luster, durability, and cost-effectiveness.
Lead photo by Simon Upton/The Interior Archive