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If one thing's for sure, it's that velvet is having a moment. Be it accent furniture pieces or the 1970s revival that's been bubbling away for some time, this super soft textile is certainly on-trend right now. It's no surprise then that velvet curtains are making a comeback. Blending style with practicality while also adding a touch of luxury to your windows, there's a lot to love about this retro design idea.
Those who remember the 70s or 90s will be the first to tell you that the velvet curtain idea is nothing new, but designers are using them in new ways for a more contemporary look. 'When people think of velvet curtains they often recall the crushed velvets that were popular at that time, but now velvet is making a more sophisticated comeback,' says Amy Wilson, interior designer for 247 Curtains. 'As people are getting braver with patterns we're also seeing more statement designs, from blousy florals to tropical prints.'
The plush material makes an excellent window dressing thanks to the reflective properties of its short piling and its soft texture, but it's not just these aesthetic qualities that we're drawn towards; the heavy material also makes a fantastic insulator. If those brief points aren't enough to sway you, we've asked designers to share their reasons why they think velvet is the new material you need in your windows.
Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to sharing articles that help readers embrace emerging trends that are practical as well as stylish. For this piece, she spoke with leading designers and window dressing experts about the practical and aesthetic benefits of velvet curtains.
Why should you use velvet in your windows?
1. They offer extra warmth
This might not have been your first thought, but as winter fast approaches, the insulating properties of velvet are definitely worthy of a mention, especially since our window treatments can help you save money on your energy bills. 'Due to the heavier nature of the material, the extra weight of velvet curtains equals extra heat retention making them the perfect choice right now for cozying up your home,' explains Amy from 24/7 curtains.
If you have a particularly draughty home or single-glazed windows, velvet curtains will help to keep your home warmer than other linen materials. 'As velvet is a naturally thicker fabric, the material does a great job trapping in the heat, and an even better job when paired with thermal linings to provide that extra layer of warmth,' notes Yvonne Keal, senior product manager at Hillarys.
2. They add a sense of luxury through texture
The velvet trend has shown no signs of fading into the design graveyard anytime soon. This timeless textile is loved for its uniquely soft and plush texture adding a touch of sophisticated elegance to a space. There's a reason the opulent textile operated as a status symbol for hundreds of years.
'It’s really exciting to see the resurgence of velvet being used in window dressings,' says Polly Griffiths, Projects Director and Interior Designer at Studio Mills. 'That rich texture of a deep-pile velvet creates such sense of luxury and window dressings are an effective method of adding that component into a space through a means which can often be an afterthought.'
The textured appearance, and the way the dense piling causes different color variations depending on the lighting, adds a soft texture to a space, resulting in an instantly warmer and cozier vibe. It's a good idea to choose curtains or blinds in a shades that are conducive to this feeling. 'When jewel tones (reminiscent of amber, claret and amethyst) are used on velvet, they are even more dramatic and rich,' adds Amy.
These luxurious drapes are rich in texture and naturally alluring, with a soft matte finish for a look that's modest and refined. Introduce this deep blue pair to your living room for an enviable elegant space.
3. Their weight helps them to hang better
If you've ever worn velvet clothing, you'll know that it's a heavy material. While this isn't necessarily helpful if you're wearing a dinner suit all evening, the weight of velvet curtains can help them to hang better in your window.
'Velvet drapes beautifully due to its heavy weight so we like to use it for full-height curtains, with a small puddle of fabric sweeping along the floor to create a sense of grandeur,' says Polly.
As she mentions, if you've found yourself wondering whether curtains should touch the floor, if you opt for velvet the answer is a definite yes. This is because the material lends itself to a more elegant style, plus it allows you to appreciate the full benefits of the material's weight.
'Whether you opt for an eyelet top or the more formal pinch pleat, the folds and drape of your velvet curtains will always look great due to the heavier nature of the material,' Amy summarises.
4. They pair well with a blind
Doubling up your window with curtains and blinds is proving more popular these days, especially as a living room window treatment. Not only does it offer an opportunity to play with contrasting colors and materials, but it also means better insulation during the colder months.
'Layering a roman blind with some velvet curtains takes fullness to the next level,' says Yvonne. 'By intertwining sophistication with elegance, the pairing of the two window treatments also provides that extra bit of privacy, so no nosey neighbors can peek into your relaxation space.'
Try using velvet curtains alongside a regular cotton roman blind (or vice versa) to contrast the opacity and allow better control of the lighting levels in your home. As Polly notes: 'We love to layer velvets in our projects with a crisp sheer fabric for some contrast and extra depth.' Or, to properly seal the deal, choose velvet blinds and curtains in your space for that extra cozy feeling. You can always switch them out come the warmer months.
Where should you incorporate velvet curtains?
While there are no hard and fast rules at to where you should use velvet drapes or blinds, there are certain spaces that they tend to lend themselves better to.
'We tend to avoid using velvet in bathroom or kitchen window treatments as that deep pile can cling onto moisture in those sorts of environments,' explains Polly. 'Bedrooms, living spaces and hallways are our go-to areas for celebrating velvet and its elegant qualities.'
The heavy material and its connotations of warmth and coziness also make it less practical in bright, airy spaces. 'I would advise against a velvet in a conservatory or summer room setting as I think the fabric will clash with the outdoors/in aesthetic,' says Amy. 'Velvet is better reserved for a cozy living room, a dramatic dining room or a luxurious bedroom.'
We personally love the look of velvet curtains in smaller spaces that lack lots of light since they lean into the moody vibe rather than try to counteract it, something Amy also agrees with. 'Velvet window dressings lend themselves perfectly to darker color schemes. A room painted in dark blue or even black will perfectly frame full-length velvet curtains and is most definitely a scheme for the bold,' she adds.
Add charm using a metallic finish on your velvet curtains with these brass holdbacks. They help add a sophisticated look wherever they're installed, be it the bedroom or living room. Pair with a brass curtain rod and hooks for a more cohesive look. We think the floral design is the ultimate detail.
Don't forget the details
When it comes to executing the look of velvet curtains, the devil really is in the detail. Don't forget to give thought to the hardware and accessories you use, since this is a common curtain mistake. 'Tiebacks, tassels and trims are key to elevating velvet curtains and adding personality,' notes Polly. Make sure you choose finishes that complement your surrounding interior design style, as well as the velvet material.
There's also the question of header options which, despite being commonly overlooked, contribute hugely to the overall aesthetic of your curtains. Yvonne suggests a pencil pleat header when styling velvet curtains. They generate a more decorative and stylish finish with the gathered heading and flowing folds of fabric,' she says. 'They add that wow factor to a window, especially if you choose a bold color.'
The Livingetc Newsletter
For style leaders and design lovers.
Lilith Hudson is the Staff Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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