The Velvet Touch


OKA certainly can’t. We have a real soft spot for it here in fact: throws, cushions, upholstered chairs…everything looks wonderful in velvet. It’s a truly unique fabric in that it not only looks magnificent, adding a luxurious touch to anything, but it has that tactile appeal that few other materials can achieve.

Despite being so well-loved, few people know what velvet actually is. Count yourself in that bracket? Here we reveal the characteristics of the fabric and its history, as well as some simple ways to integrate velvet into your home, of course.

What is velvet?

The term ‘velvet’ refers to the weave of the fabric. Velvet is not a fibre itself, but the structure of one, as it can be made from many materials; like silk, cotton and wool. It is characterised by its woven pile; the raised loops and tufts of yarn it consists of. Traditionally it was always made from silk, but these days cotton and synthetics are more common.

What is the history of velvet?

Velvet is thought to have originally been produced as early 2000BC, in Egypt. Prior to the technological advances in machinery, making velvet was a complicated art form, involving a special loom to weave together two thicknesses of fabric at the same time. Due to this high production cost, opulent aesthetic and texture, velvet became synonymous with nobility and wealth.

Like many royals, Elizabeth I was a big fan of this luxurious material, in which she was frequently adorned. But it is not only the European elite who have fallen for velvet. When Harun al-Rashid, the then ruler of Baghdad, died in 809 AD, it was said that 500 pieces of velvet were found amongst the treasures he left behind.

While you might think that velvet’s reputation means that it’s high-maintenance, quite the opposite is true. While it does depend on what type of material it has been made from, velvet tends to be very durable and easy to clean—making it a beautiful yet functional choice for a family sofa.

How can you bing velvet home?

We think every home should have some statement velvet pieces. But before you invest, think about the kind of colour palette you’re looking to emulate or blend velvet pieces into. While the fabric is often associated with rich, dark tones, it actually lends itself equally well to sugary pastel hues.

If you’re looking to incorporate texture into your home then velvet really is the perfect choice; our Plain Velvet Cushion Covers comes in an array of jewel tones that are ideal for adding a pop of colour. Arrange a pair on your bedspread as accent cushions or display the rainbow on your sofa for a playful touch.

Velvet is also wonderful for refreshing a room as it complements most styles. A weathered rustic dining table can take on a whole new lease of life when paired new bright-hued chairs. Designed by Annabel Astor, the Stafford Dining Chairs are upholstered in velvet and come in a variety of colours. They have been designed with a sleek, narrow silhouette which allows you to fit more of them around the table; making them both practical and stylish.

A comfortable way to create a scheme that will make everyone green with envy is with the Trematon Velvet Armchair. This traditionally shaped armchair has been given a modern twist, with its lake green velvet upholstery. No one puts the Trematon in the corner, so make a statement by placing it at your dressing table or in the hallway as a welcoming feature.

If you, like OKA and Queen Elizabeth, love velvet, you can view our velvet collection here.