Everything you need to know about choosing and caring for your next piece of velvet furniture
By Nimi Patel
We use velvet in our Houses because it's both strong and durable, as well as soft and tactile. Its deep pile makes it perfect to sink into and enhances the depth of colour, giving velvet pieces a rich, vibrant quality.
Velvet is great for creating a statement and anchoring a space. It can be used on a key piece to bring a scheme to life with a bold pop of colour, while adding a cosy feel that's great for evening ambience - especially when complemented with warm lighting (or even better, an open fire).
Our made-to-order range offers a varied selection of velvet colours in warm, cool and neutral tones, inspired by the colour palettes of our Houses around the world.
We use a variety of velvet fabrics at the Houses depending on a space and its purpose; whether it's a high-traffic seating zone or a pass-through area. Some fabrics are more suited to decorative accessories, while others are ideal for everyday lounging.
The Martindale rub count is a great test to determine which fabric is best for a particular area. It allows you to see how many times a material can withstand wear and tear before showing a change in appearance - the higher the score, the more durable the fabric.
As velvet has a short pile with dense fibres that raise over the surface, it has the ability to capture light, which causes the colour to change at various angles. We recommend ordering a few different swatches and testing them out in different kinds of light before you buy.
You should also consider that pressure marks are common and usually recover after brushing, however some may never fully disappear. This is one of the charming characteristics of velvet and should be considered an enhancement.
To prolong the life of velvet, use a soft, dry brush and sweep in the direction of the fabric pile to remove any surface dirt, then vacuum to eradicate dust. When a spill occurs, gently blot the area with a clean, dry cloth and avoid rubbing. We recommend having upholstery professionally cleaned to ensure that it's treated correctly and the colour remains intact. Keep away from heat and direct sunlight to avoid bleaching.
Soho Home upholstered products made in the UK and US conform to all standards for domestic fire retardancy. Our made-to-order fabrics in the UK are crafted using a minimum of 75% natural fibres with a Schedule 3 interliner. This means we can avoid coating our upholstery fabrics with an FR treatment, which helps to maintain their natural softness.
Soho Home Interior Style Manager Candy Murray often uses velvet as a key fabric when working with members through our design service, as well as contributing to the aesthetic of House spaces. Here, Murray shares her ideas on how to choose and style velvet in your home.
Create a mood board
'To help you choose the colour of your upholstery, it's always best to look at the whole palette of the room on a small scale. Order some of your favourite fabric swatches, paint swatches, a sample of your chosen flooring, and create a board. It helps you to see your colour scheme and materials together, and ensure that everything works.'
Collect inspiration sources
'Pull together all of the interior design images that you love and see if a pattern emerges. If there's something you're drawn to you, plan an overarching concept and work your furniture choices into that. I like to go for a neutral shell and then add colour through the furnishings, or go for a bold look and match the sofa to the wall colour.'
'Don't feel like you have to stick to one type of fabric in a scheme. We like to mix materials in our Houses, so you'll often see linen next to velvet - it creates depth. If you ensure the colours work together you can be quite playful with textures.'