Home & Design

A Soft Touch at Home

By Nancy McKeon

DEER ANTLERS usually aren’t “in velvet” till late spring, but we humans like the soft-nap fabric right about now, as we head into winter. As LittleBird Janet showed yesterday, velvet is everywhere in clothing, this year more than most. But it’s also being featured in home furnishings and decorative accessories.

How can such a delicate fabric be sat on, rolled around on, even have chunky jewelry tossed into it? The easy answer is that velvet is not so delicate, depending on the fiber it’s made from. That’s because velvet is not a fiber but a way of weaving silk, cotton, and various synthetics so that the resulting yardage has a plush nap for a finish. Silk velvet tops the list for delicacy and cost. But there’s also sturdy cotton velvet, and cotton and rayon and synthetic blends, often seen in upholstery fabric, speaking of not delicate.

Like everything else, all velvet is not the same. Don’t be put off by the use of synthetics, but do look for quality. Some fabrics called “velvet” are little more than flocking whereas others are plush and pleasing to the hand and eye. Here’s what we found in our march around the market.


Never mind the decorating dictum to choose ​your room’s rug first: Here’s a bed you can build your bedroom around. London’s House of Hackney loves moody palettes​ and maximalist style, and this patterned poly-velvet upholstered bed ​fits those criteria, from its​ sculpted headboard to its upholstered ​frame. ​Tempted to go mega-maximalist? There’s a matching organic cotton sateen duvet cover ($228 or $248 in queen- or king-size) and pillow shams, standard ($88 per pair) and Euro-square ($58 each). The bed is available in queen and king sizes, ​$2,498 and $2,698. For a lighter mood to your room, the velvet bed frame also comes in an Opia print, a pale ground with large pink blossoms. All at Anthropologie.

It’s hard to imagine a friendlier vibe for a dining area than these cotton-and-polyester Velvet Hagen Dining Chairs. Mix up your palette or stick to one of the six available colors. The cotton-blend velvet seating plays well in the living room or bedroom too. For a limited time, they’re $468 each at Anthropologie. The Hagen chair can also be had in leather (butterscotch, black or gray, $698 each).

​From MeriMeri, the party site, this set of six glitter-edged placecards adorned with velvet bows. The glitter is plant-based and the set is $18.
From Bearaby, this is not just a weighted blanket but a chunky knitted poly-velvet weighted blanket. It’s stretch-out-on-the-sofa 6 feet long and 40, 45 or 48 inches wide. You can choose among five soothing colors (shown here in rose quartz) and three weights, 15, 20 or 25 pounds. It’s $249 to $279, depending on size, at Nordstrom.
For genuine luxury, very little can beat real silk velvet. The House of Scalamandré offers just that, by the yard ($776 per yard, or $4,073 per yard if hand-woven) or made up into classic pillows. Shown here is an assortment of Scalamandré’s animal prints in squares, lumbars, bolsters, and spheres, including the silk-velvet Tigre print ($469 as a lumbar pillow; $439 if the back side is plain). A less-expensive fabric for these wovens is viscose-and-acrylic velvet. Should the Antelope velvet capture your heart, Scalamandré also makes a dog bed (small for dogs under 25 pounds, medium for up to 50 pounds) in the Sahara colorway for $579 for small, $809 in Midnight Blue Antelope).
The Hip Seat Carrier by Tushbaby lets Mom or designated other hoist Baby (up to 45 pounds) and let Baby sit on the velvet platform while safely attached to Mom’s hip. Pockets in the hip pouch hold essentials. It comes in velvet gray/silver and velvet brown/sable; $115 at Nordstrom.
Danish jeweler Sophie Bille Brahe has created a small silk-satin-lined minaudière-esque velvet box for your small jewelry, and it includes an interior pocket to corral tiny studs and such. In this Hawaii Ocean blue colorway or Hawaii Pink, the tasseled jewelry box has a magnetic closure and is $100 at Moda Operandi. Bille Brahe has solid-color velvet boxes on the site as well.
Most of us now know about those waxed amaryllis bulbs that require no water and will burst into bloom without our having to do a thing. VivaTerra now offers a lush option: amaryllis bulbs cloaked in velvet in Bordeaux, Moss Green or White. Each is $29 and a great Thanksgiving hostess gift that will supply holiday cheer in about four weeks. VivaTerra also offers the amaryllis bulbs swaddled in adorable little knitted Nordic “sweaters,” gray, green or red; also $29 each.
Banana Republic has filled your closet and is branching out around the house. BR Home says its niche is texture, craft, and international artisanship. This hand-stitched cotton-velvet quilt, provided in dark blue slate (shown), truffle, and oyster (off-white), has a cotton sateen reverse, and evokes traditional kantha running-stitch hand-quilting. It’s made by hand in India and is $395 in king and queen sizes. Pillow shams are $95 for a pair.
An exuberant addition to a living room or bedroom, the poly-Velvet Muntz Ottoman ​is selling fast in this orange colorway (the jade green colorway is back-ordered with delivery expected in January). But Muntz also comes in several solid colors in velvet (light blue, pink, and light green), plus a bouclé version. All of the versions are $398 at Anthropologie.
A velvet frame can make any picture look special. The Juneau frame, from Pigeon and Poodle, comes in three sizes (4×6, 5×7, 8×10) and is currently specially priced at $56, $64.40, and $86.80 at Neiman Marcus. The 5×7 comes in charcoal gray; the other sizes are available in charcoal and deep green.
Even your sofa can have a touch of cotton velvet with Pottery Barn’s well-constructed Shimmer Snowflake Pillow. It’s 21 inches across and $89.50. Let it snow!
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