How to decorate with velvet

By Charlotte McCaughan-Hawes
Decoration with Velvet

Velvet is a good fabric to use as it comes in beautiful colours,’ says India Mahdavi. ‘I use velvet a lot because it’s soft and curvy and I like straight flashes of colour in a room.’ The Iranian-born architect and designer, who is known for her dramatic interiors and even uses velvet in her kitchen, recommends ‘Opera’ cotton velvet from Pierre Frey.

As internationally acclaimed designer Alidad says in his Dos and Don’ts of Decorating, ‘Britain is the best country in the world, except for one thing… the weather.’ He recommends using velvet to create warm, protective rooms. ‘Cover the main, large surfaces in your rooms in plain fabrics, then use cushions, rugs and ceramics to add pattern. This way, it is easy to control the proportions.’ Dig into our collection of design ideas for using velvet at home…

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

Walls in ‘Nabis’ by Adam Bray for Papers and Paints set off a mix of Ensemblier furniture in Tara Craig’s tiny London flat. A ‘Hanmer’ sofa in a Jasper fabric by Michael S Smith and a George Spencer velvet is paired with ‘Montgomery’ chairs in Howe’s ‘Knurl’ linen, a ‘Trafalgar’ armchair in Howe leather and a ‘Lissadell’ ottoman in ‘Nathalie’ cotton by Claremont.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

Rachel Chudley has used velvet to brilliant effect in her own bedroom. She designed this headboard using inspiration from the toleware lights by the bed, and upholstered it in a rich, fiery orange velvet which brings a vibrancy and warmth to the room.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

The sofas in Guy Tobin’s south London house were made for the space; a sensible investment in a small living room. They have been covered in cotton velvets – the yellow one is in Lelièvre’s ‘Cosmos’.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

The sitting area in Rita Konig’s London flat is a masterclass in layering, with textiles in different patterns and textures covering the sofas and cushions; Etro’s red cotton velvet ‘Palinuro’ from Pierre Frey is used on the sofa seen here. The open fireplace surrounded by a chimneypiece found at Petworth Antique Centre, and walls covered with a mix of framed prints, photographs, drawings and paintings, add to the relaxed look.

How to decorate with velvet 7
Decoration with Velvet

The scheme for the drawing room in this restored farmhouse was designed around a set of seventeenth-century Soho tapestries, which hang on each side of the chimneypiece. Various shades of green, notably the British racing green velvet armchairs and the white and lime green chairs, bring the room together.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

A large banquette sofa designed by Nick Plant and upholstered in Adam Bray’s purple ‘Greville’ mohair velvet stands out against distressed mirror glass in this living room of a London flat designed by Adam Bray.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

An elegant green velvet sofa (‘Claude’ from Pinch) works well in the living room of this Notting Hill townhouse. Its colour is picked up by details on the rug and artwork.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

A dusky blue velvet L-shaped sofa provides snug and glamorous seating in the living room of architect Johnny Holland’s mansion flat in Richmond, and brings rich colour to an otherwise pale scheme.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

Violet velvet upholstery from Emery & Cie on the armchair and ottoman complements a Sinclair Till flatweave rug in Caroline Holdaway’s Cotswolds cottage, while a steel and glass wood-burning stove from Scan warms the living room. Here, velvet brings warmth and softness to a rustic scheme, and contrasts with exposed brick walls and bare wooden floors.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

Sophie Ashby has tied the colour scheme of this young boy’s bedroom in a large Chelsea flat together by adorning the bed with matching velvet cushions.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

This grey living room features Talisman sofas, which are boldly covered in yellow ‘Monceau’ velvet from Designers Guild.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

Velvet swivel chairs from Talisman Bespoke feature in this hallway scheme created by House & Garden‘s Ruth Sleightholme. The walls, painted in a rich olive green (‘Citrine’ from Little Greene), are the perfect backdrop for Seventies-inspired furniture and accessories.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

Linwood’s ‘Moleskin Velvet’ fabric in mustard was used for the banquette seating in this dining nook in the former flat of Princess Beatrice’s husband, Edo Mapelli Mozzi.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

Want extra cosiness and comfort in your bedroom? Try a velvet headboard, which you could also pair with velvet cushions. The bedroom in the Florescus’ modern Chelsea home follows a fresh decoration scheme – mainly white with touches of rich turquoise and sunny yellow.

Decoration with Velvet
Decoration with Velvet

In this bedroom, designed by architect Johnny Holland of Hackett Holland, the colour scheme is dark and sumptuous and the chair, bedcover and carpet all have the texture of plush velvet.