When shopping for a sofa, I saw a beautiful love seat that was upholstered in blue velvet. Would it be a mistake to choose a winter fabric for a piece that will be in my living room all year round?
Sofas are a major furniture piece and a focal point in your living room. They can also be costly, so I understand why you are questioning your decision. However, velvet is a classic choice that adds regal panache to any room. Velvet’s short, densely woven fibers are luxurious to the touch and lovely to behold no matter what the season. Light plays with the nap, producing shadows and dimension to the cloth, and the piece that it covers. We are seeing a heightened passion for jewel tones right now, with the rich hues of emerald green, plumy ruby reds and sapphire blues showing off in showrooms everywhere.
Velvet covered chairs and sofas are favourite choices for traditional and period styles, but they also add panache to a contemporary setting. The furniture lines can be very simple, while the colour and character of the velvet adds dimension and interest to the sleek and minimal lines of the room.
It is easy to make the transition from cold to warm weather. Layer your blue sofa with white cotton cushions, and drape a summery pastel throw over the back. For all-year-round balance, look for an area carpet that has white running through it. Even a change in a table lamp will transform the mood.
For those who would like to experiment with velvet on a smaller scale, here’s a fun winter project that will make you look like a couturier from a famous fashion house. The plush velvet cushions shown here have been decorated with a rubber stamp to give a subtle pattern to the fabric. It’s heat from an iron that makes the impression in the nap of the velvet and it won’t work on nylon, polyester and washable velvets. Choose silk, rayon, rayon acetate or viscose. You’ll find rubber stamps on line and at craft stores. I used a peacock feather stamp. Cut your fabric to the size you choose, 18-inch squares are a good size for a sofa. Add 5/8 inch on all sides for seam allowance. Practice stamping on velvet scraps first. Turn iron on to the wool setting, but no steam. Place the stamp, rubber side up, on the ironing board. Lightly spray the back of the fabric with water. Lay the fabric right side (velvet) down on the stamp. Press the iron on the back of the fabric and DO NOT move it. Hold for about 20 seconds and then lift iron off carefully. The image will be imprinted onto the velvet.
Mark the position of the images you wish to create onto the velvet fabric with pins, and remove each pin before you iron. Repeat until you are happy with your design. Sew the cushion together and add tassels to the corners.
I know that you will enjoy your blue velvet sofa for years, and when you decide to redecorate, it will be happy to take on a new look.
Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit Debbie’s new website, www.debbietravis.com.