Decorating with velvet fabric (I)

Velvet is a versatile option when decorating because it works equally well in any style: classic, contemporary, retro, romantic, boho… Just use it sparingly, because if you keep it under control velvet will give a luxurious touch to your home, but if you exceed it will produce a “boudoir effect”. Here are the keys to decorating with velvet fabric:

The exact dose of velvet is always a success. In this living room decorated by Melián Randolph velvet has been used in cushions and some upholstery. Sofas by Blasco & Blasco.

Tough guy. The complex velvet weaving process makes it more durable and resistant than many other fabrics. If you take good care of it, velvet can last for generations. Always keep in mind this fabric is produced from very different fibers, as we told in an earlier post, so you can find velvet in different qualities and prices.

Generally, the shorter and denser the pile is, the more resilient the fabric will be. Deeper pile velvet looks more luxurious but is more difficult to care for.

Classic, boho, contemporary … Velvet is an extremely versatile fabric. Via: Pampa Australia

Like all upholstery fabrics, velvet is tested to determine how much abrasion it supports before showing wear or color loss. In the case of velvet fabric is recommended a value from 40.000 Martindale cycles. Depending on the use, you can choose a thinner velvet (for example, for cushions or curtains) or more resistant (in the case of upholstery for sofas or armchairs).

When you buy furniture or complements in velvet, or you want to reupholster with this fabric, check the composition and the martindale indicated by the manufacturer. Find out what type is the most advisable for the use you want to give it, its pros and cons. Remember that there are many types of velvet fabric.

Velvet is a very resistant fabric but at the same time is supple, perfect for upholstering sinuous furniture.

Patina. Before deciding on velvet it is necessary to know it well. As it is easily marked, it is not recommended for those who suffer from short-term imperfections. If you expect the velvet to remain unchanged like the first day, you’d better choose another fabric. When you sit or lean something on velvet furniture, the pile will often ruffle. Depending on the type of velvet, some more than others. These bruises can mostly be steamed out. But at the end these bruises will create a patina that should be understood as part of the natural life of velvet.

 

The Essential Guide to Velvet

Just a couple of years ago, to say “velvet” in decoration was synonymus of outdated decor. But the sum of the cocooning trends and the love for retro style have made velvet a new object of desire.

Velvet has a bit of bad reputation (“it´s expensive”, “delicate”, “complicated”…), which is totally unfair. In this first post dedicated to velvet, we are going to know it better.

A blue velvet sofa, like this one by Blasco & Blasco with Keystone velvet, becomes the center of attention of any living room.

What is: It may be easier to define velvet by what it is not. Velvet is not a fiber, neither natural nor synthetic. The term refers to the result of a complex weaving process to obtain a soft fabric, with short and thick pile, with a uniform distribution of the loops. To create it is used a special loom that weaves two pieces at the time. Although the technique has been made cheaper with industrial looms, the process is still very complex.

Types. Velvet can be made with natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, linen, silk or mohair, with synthetic fibers, such as polyester, rayon or viscose, or mixing natural and synthetic fibers.

  • 100% silk velvet has a super luxurious touch. Today it is very rare and costs more than 400 euros per yard.
  • Cotton velvet looks less glossy, but is soft, affordable and sturdy. In addition, it dyes very well, so it is available in a variety of wonderful colors.
  • Linen velvet, with a characteristic striped texture, is the most masculine and has good resistance to the marks of use. Nowadays it is practically impossible to find linen velvet.
  • Synthetic and mixed velvets imitate perfectly the sheen of silk velvet and are competitively priced.

Color samples of Blasco & Blasco velvet Retiro II, mix of viscose and cotton.

Look. The velvet looks luxurious and shiny because the pile on its surface reflects the light at multiple angles. It is usually dyed in very vivid and dark colors that enhance its characteristic shine.

History. Without a clear origin, it seems that the ancient Egyptians made fabrics similar to velvet. From the East came to Italy around the thirteenth century. Florence and Venice were major producers. In the sixteenth century Flanders became the great exporter of European velvet. In Spain we find excellent velvet weavers from the seventeenth century, some of which continue working until today. Before the industrial revolution, velvet was an unattainable fabric, symbol of power, luxury and wealth. Today, in Europe is produced an exquisite velvet, designed mainly for Haute Couture.

Velvet is also used for bedding. This quilt from de Zara Home combines linen and velvet.

Decoration. In general, all types of velvet are good to upholster, make curtains, cushions or plaids, regardless of the fibres used for weaving the fabric. There is also velvet with anti-allergic, anti-bacteria, anti-fungus or anti-stain treatments, which do not affect its brightness or soft touch.

Hygge Tips for a Happy Home (II)

Have you tried our five first hygge tips for a happy home? Here you have five more keys:

  1. Surround yourself with things that make you happy. The hygge culture is about creating an environment that make us happy at home. And one way to do it is to surround yourself with things that remind you of good times. It can be a photo gallery of your trips. Or maybe an inherited closet with wood smell that carries you to your grandmother’s house every time you open it.
  2. Don´t spend money without thinking. The Danes aren´t wasteful. They usually save to buy good furniture or design pieces, rather than buying something that does not really fascinate them just because it is cheap or has a discount.
  3. House in order. An organized house not only improves the physical space, it also improves our inner space, our mind. How are you going to be happy if you lose 10 minutes each morning looking for the keys before you leave? The first step to achieving a tidy and happy home is to “edit” our belongings. Only objects that make us happy or are useful should be left. The second step is to invest in good storage solutions. So you can have everything organized and get a quiet space by removing from sight those things that create visual mess.

A large shelf helps keep everything in order, a key to hygge. Via: The Style Files

  1. Create at least one hyggekrog (a special corner where you feel happy) in your home. For some people it will be a comfortable armchair next to the fireplace where to read quietly. But for other people, the hyggekrog will be a walk-in closet where organize clothes and accessories, a wall with family photos or a perfectly organized desk to work from home in front of a window.
  2. Find time for your tribe… Good company is the essence of hygge and a happy home. Leave the cell phone aside and turn off the TV, to enjoy a nice evening with popcorn and movie with your children. Or gather your friends to share a delicious dinner and a good chat.

 A happy home is shared with good friends. Via: The Jungalow

Is hygge the reason why the Danes are the happiest in the world? Surely they are surprised when they see that many foreigners try to copy their houses with candles, wool plaids and Nordic-style decorations, without understanding that hygge is much more. It´s a (good) lifestyle, a way to create a happy home and share it with others.

If you liked this post, surely you are interested in Decalogue of Wabi Sabi Decoration