The Idealist

She Wore Blue Velvet…

Since it was first invented in China and adopted by the Italian aristocracy in the 12th century, velvet has always had ardent fans. This luxurious fabric is much loved for it’s cushy texture and capacity for holding rich jewel-tone colours like emerald green, sapphire blue and amethyst. In modern times, velvet is sporadically popular for clothing, but it is currently right on trend for use in soft furnishing and furniture pieces for elegant interiors. A little goes a long way – nothing says opulence like velvet. So be careful and use this fabric sparingly for maximum impact in interior living spaces and bedrooms. Too much can lead to claustrophobic or fussy feeling rooms.

Texturing The Living room

We love this subdued grey velvet sectional sofa from Andrew Martin. Jewel-toned it is not; but as a base for layering colour and texture it is non pareil. Imagine it glowing softly in a lounge or living area, its soft pile exuding warmth despite the low key colour.

You might pile it high with these gem-toned solid colour cushions or one of these National Gallery-inspired velvet pillows, also from Andrew Martin, and call it a day. This velvet nest will go well with traditional or contemporary themed design schemes. Add the topaz velvet draperies to be right on point with the mustard mixed with grey colour palette that everyone is so crazy about these days. £115 Not incidentally, velvet draperies have terrific sound and light diminishing properties.

To return to the jewel tones that velvet does so well, consider the Chester series designed by Mathew Hilton for Habitat.

Italian emerald styling

Made in Italy, it features pale oak feet and removable cushion covers, here in emerald green. This gives you the option of switching up fabric for summer months if you are one of those people that feels that velvet is season-specific to winter. You can also “cool” down velvet’s warmth as needed with a smart selection of accessories such as throws and cushions is breezier patterns, colours and textiles.

Another option is to confine the use of velvet to a single plush armchair with a matching (or even better, contrasting colour) footstool. Think pink alongside amethyst, or sapphire parked against a deep emerald green.

Armchairs

Maisons du Monde carries a number of very different armchair style iterations using velvet of varied intensities. The Sao Paulo is a vintage and somewhat Scandinavian feeling armchair with mango wood legs and a choice of muted gemstone colours. £429

Add Boldness

We also love it in dusty pink for an industrial chic loft living room or bedroom. Especially with a boldly patterned footstool such as this one is burgundy velvet jacquard. £64.69

All Black

Finally, this black baroque take (£751.50) is very Game of Thrones.

Bedazzling Contrast

It would look great surrounded by jewel tone and bedazzled cushions £41.

Add an upholstered velvet teal footstool from Loaf on which to rest the royal feet. £449

Theatrical Touch

And – just to circle back from this non-jewel-toned GOT tangent – perhaps you could display your jewels atop this eccentric Antonio Cross grey velvet studded side table. £404 Dramatic and theatrical for those brooding moments in life.

Accessorising The Room

Accessories are a great way to incorporate big personality materials such as velvet into your design scheme. Even in small doses velvet items have an uncanny ability to refract light and add dimension to the visual field. Try it on a lampshade and you’ll see what we mean. This gorgeously rich cylinder lampshade incorporates thistles and dragonflies and has painterly qualities. £65

Same goes for this selection of cushions. Mix colours freely or pick up tones from other furniture pieces or textiles already in place.

Fashioning Corners

This boldly coloured Liberty print cushion is made from textured paint splashed velvet, created by Falmouth University fashion and textiles student Hannah Bayliss. The print suggests water and the sea, but the abstraction means you can use it anywhere to great effect. £135

We also love different velvet treatments for cushions. Check this distressed velvet pillow, available in gem tones ranging from claret to a dark spruce-y green from John Lewis. £45

And of course Designers Guild is all over this iconic textile with this expertly crafted two-toned velvet cushion with satin trim, available in green/yellow or shades of magenta. £60

Velvet is a statement material, right up there with marble and hardwood for having iconic properties. Soft , colourful and plush, it’s much easier to use as a luxurious punctuation point for any interior design plan.

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  • Ellie lives in a village outside Oxford and works in fashion in London. She loves the vintage look, traditional English afternoon tea, prosecco and hiking in the Lake District.

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