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Live Softly: The Growing Trend of Velvet Furniture

When my little sister showed up to our last family gathering with a velvet jacket, I was a little spun. Here she was, one of the most fashionable people I know, wearing what I have always believed to be the ultimate in fashion faux pas. But she assured me that I was simply behind the times. After a little research I have discovered that, indeed, the rumors are true. Velvet is on runways, in magazines, and on store shelves. And not only that, it’s become increasingly prevalent in home decor. Which brings me to probably the most iconic use for it: the velvet sofa. Good news for those of us who have always kind of liked velvet and just been afraid to admit it.

Hanny Green Velvet Sofa TOV-S42 by TOV Furniture
Hanny Green Velvet Sofa TOV-S42 by TOV Furniture

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Velvet dates back to Baghdad in the 13th century, although the actual weaving technique may be even older than that. It is a densely woven fabric with a very thick, luxurious pile, produced by weaving threads with two different thicknesses at the same time. Because of the difficulty of production and its soft, satisfying feel, it has long been associated with wealth and royalty. Due to its makeup, it accepts dye really well and is therefore great for deep, vibrant colors. It you’re looking to make a bold statement with a single piece, a colorful velvet sofa is an obvious choice. Check out TOV Furniture‘s selection.

Black Tufted Sofa with Studs In 2525-3-860 by Jennifer Taylor Home
Black Tufted Sofa with Studs In 2525-3-860 by Jennifer Taylor Home

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If you aren’t looking to go so big, there are plenty of more subdued color choices. Jennifer Taylor Home has a great variety of tasteful velvet sofas, many of which can be made to work in a bunch of different style rooms, contemporary or traditional. The simple lines could work for modern decor, while the elegance and sumptuousness fits more vintage settings. With the formalist art and monochromatic colors in the photo above, a more traditional style tufted couch fits right in.

A sectional sofa in velvet combines practicality with elegance. (By Randy Heller Pure and Simple Interior Design)
A sectional sofa in velvet combines practicality with elegance. (By Randy Heller Pure and Simple Interior Design)

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Of course, if you’re going with velvet, subtlety may not be one of your chief aims. I am not anywhere near enough well-versed in the fashion world to say why velvet has such a notorious reputation–I suppose it’s like anything luxurious or glitzy; too much of it is considered show-offy and in bad taste. I connect it with the matching Christmas dresses my mother used to make my sister and I wear. But it is very soft and very luxurious, and it catches light so well. And honestly, there’s only so much subtlety you can stomach before you start to get bored.

Sofas aren't the only forms velvet furniture! (By Cynthia Mason Interiors)
Sofas aren’t the only forms velvet furniture! (By Cynthia Mason Interiors)

Keep in mind that sofas aren’t the only furniture with which you can embrace the growing velvet trend! I love the matching pieces in this photo, as well as the way they soften the typical austerity of the home office. Do keep in mind, however, that velvet has a reputation for being very difficult to clean. It shouldn’t be cleaned with water, because that can warp the fibers. It is also quick to pick up pet fur, crumbs, dirt, and whatever else gets tracked through homes on a regular basis. So perhaps keep it for your more formal, kid-and-animal-free rooms.

All this may come across as me trying to nerve myself up to recommending velvet as a viable material, and honestly it sort of is, but that’s only because in the past I have been a fool who caves to peer pressure! Velvet is honestly a luxurious, excellent choice for upholstery, and let’s be honest, at this point in history we could all use a little feel-good purchases. Buy some velvet. You deserve it.

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