Vail Design at Altitude column: Add va-va-voom with velvet
January 15, 2017
If you're fashion forward, then you already know that in 2017 velvet is as hot as it gets, both for home and fashion. Whether it's velvet booties, a swanky vest or velvet throws and cool pillows, velvet is where it's at this year. It's been a favorite staple for mountain homes, and now, it's finding its way into homes of many design styles.
Velvet can be woven from a variety of yarns. Back when velvet warmed nobility, it was made of silk. Today, the cost of silk velvet is sky high but is lovely and luxurious. Be warned, though, that velvet made of silk can stain easily, and ring marks will ruin a piece. So use silk velvet on pieces that will be far removed from water and sticky little (or big) hands.
Today, velvet is woven from linen, wool or cotton, and it still feels of luxury. This tufted, durable fabric has a unique soft, smooth feel and can last for years. Even better, the fabric is as reminiscent of nobility as it is of the retro-mod '60s and '70s.
Velvet at home
Velvet warms mountain homes with its sumptuous texture: When you live with winter's chill for six months of the year, velvet is a welcome reprieve, a perfect fabric to cuddle in or sink into; soft to touch. However, don't be fooled into thinking velvet is only a winter fabric. It's cool in the summer and cozy come winter. Velvet can be as formal or as casual as you like. And like leather, velvet's beauty is enhanced as it ages.
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The loft of velvets encourages it to come in bright, deeply saturated hues — also perfect for drab winter days or hopping, convivial, colorful winter nights. Jewel-toned velvets pop, whether on a contemporary love seat, on a funky armchair or somewhere in between.
Make velvet current
Velvet doesn't have to be an expected hue: think rose, dusted ivory, bold and luscious orange, teal or a neutral gray for a different look and vibe, one that is more modern than matronly, less Victorian and more for today's lifestyle. Make velvet current by mixing various textiles and finishes. Combine velvet with a polished wood or sleek metal for the perfect combination of cozy sophistication.
Velvet touches go a long way. Think a statement piece that stands out: perhaps a circular ottoman in deep teal or a purple egg chair that catches the eye. The room comes to life and is immediately inviting when velvet is used in sparing detail.
Not ready to dive in too deep? Use velvet on accent pieces. Brightly colored pillows or throws add pizazz without a huge commitment. Pair velvet with everyday fabrics, such as cotton or tweed, for a nubby, less opulent feel. Layer velvet with linen, cotton or silk for a look that is as luxurious or comfortable as suits your vision. Velvet combined with sheer fabric is unexpected but works swimmingly together.
Go ahead — revel in the soft feel of velvet. Mix it up and make it yours. It makes coming home so much cozier.
Yvonne Jacobs is the president of Slifer Designs. She loves using a variety of fabrics throughout design.
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