Black Velvet…more than a song but the new decorating trend
As the weather turns and we update our homes, we tend to look to fabrics that fit our mood and forget about timeless materials that stood the test of time, like the new ultra trend in velvets. This mystery material is sumptuous (yet durable), oozes style and luxury, and instantly adds texture to a room…but it goes generally underused due to the fear of it looking tacky (think of our friend Elvis). Astonishingly soft fibers and a sleek, shiny coat, velvet can transform even the simplest sofa into a ravishing statement piece. But velvet can also be intimidating—isn’t velvet a bit too extravagant for modern interiors? Isn’t it hard to care for? Don’t stress we will shed some light here.
Velvet is easily misjudged…
It’s hard being so beautiful when you’re complex and nobody understands you. So let’s set the record straight. What exactly is velvet? Unlike a flat-woven fabric (such as linen), velvet uses a lot of yarn and takes multiple steps to produce. Two layers of fabric (velvet can be woven from any type of yarn) go on a double action loom, receive simultaneous weaving, and interlace with connecting yarns. When it comes off the loom, the layers are then cut apart to produce that soft, upright pile that everyone loves so much.
Where does velvet originate you might wonder? Being the dark and mysterious fabric velvet is, it shouldn’t surprise you that no one really knows, but most historians agree that people began constructing velvet somewhere in the Far East—likely China—around the thirteenth century. Velvet then traveled west along the Silk Road in Asia until it reached Italy and achieved its peak popularity during the Italian Renaissance.
“Beautiful products take time and labor.”
As we know in the furniture business, beautiful products take time and labor. Before the industrial power loom was invented, the complicated and arduous velvet-making process was very costly, so the lux material was reserved for royalty. Nobles were drawn to its capability to accept rich and lustrous dyes. Luckily, today velvet is very accessible, but the fabric upholds its regal history. You will see it frequently in our Furniture Mart shoots.
Velvet offers variety…
Because velvet can be made with synthetic or natural fibers, the material is often produced at different qualities. The most expensive kind of velvet is made from silk—although velvet made entirely from silk is very rare, and it costs hundreds of rands per meter! Due to the high cost of silk, other natural fibers are more often used to make velvet, including cotton, linen, mohair and wool. Velvet can be also woven from polyester, viscose, nylon and acetate. The durability of the material depends on the kind of fibers used as well as on the density of the pile. The shorter and the denser the pile is, the more durable the fabric will be. When shopping for furniture or having your furniture reupholstered, it’s always worth checking the exact composition of the velvet fabric you choose. Pick velvet that is made from a mix of resilient synthetic and natural fabrics, like our velvet products at Furniture Mart. When decorating with velvets, always be mindful of your vision for the specific room you are decorating. For example in a bedroom, keep your colours neutral and implement a velvet throw with an accent colour. In a lounge area maybe choose darker velvets on lighter fabric sofas to create some contrast. Remember it is mostly about keeping things interesting with combining textures, colours and shapes.
But remember, don’t fret the velvet embrace it with an extra kick of confidence.