Everything you need to know about velvet sofas

Velvet sofas have been a style favourite in homes for many decades and it's not hard to see why.

Bringing a luxurious look to any space, velvet combines practicality and durability, whilst still being super soft to the touch.

Crafted from a range of different materials to achieve different finishes, from plain velvet commonly associated with vintage styling to crushed velvet which saw a huge resurgence a few years ago.

The history of velvet 

The origins of velvet have been traced as far back as 750 A.D. to Baghdad and was only accessible to wealthy people such as the royal and noble classes, due to its production using silk.

The introduction of new loom technology lead to velvet being distributed throughout Europe, with Florence, Italy becoming the centre of velvet production during the Renaissance.

Fast forward to the 1900s and velvet became a staple in fashion and interiors, with Edwardian furniture such as chaise lounges upholstered in velvet fabric. Rumour has it, Henry VIII even had his toilet walls wallpapered with velvet!

Throughout the century, velvet maintained popularity, in particular throughout the 1960s and 1970s inspiring many fashion trends and is still an iconic fabric today.

This beautiful fabric has gained popularity over recent years as its affordability and versatility have made velvet far more accessible. It’s easy to see why it’s become such a household favourite up and down the country as velvet sofas can instantly transform any living space creating a luxurious focal point.

There's a velvet out there for everyone, so why not upgrade your space with some velvet accents?

The different types of velvet 

All velvet boasts a high-end feel, and its appearance makes it one of the most popular textiles to elevate any piece of upholstered furniture.

As well as traditional plain velvet, there are also a few notable styles of velvet, as the fabric can be woven from an array of different materials using a range of methods. Let’s take a look at the different variations…

Plain velvet

Plain velvet typically doesn’t have much stretch as it is made from cotton. Unlike some other velvets made from silk or synthetic fibres, plain velvet doesn’t quite have the same shiny appearance.

Embossed velvet

A popular upholstery used in home décor, embossed velvet is a printed fabric that gets its pattern from a heat stamp used to apply pressure which then pushes down the piles. This can be tailored to create a variety of different looks from an intricate floral design to a modern monogram one. 

Crushed velvet

Crushed velvet is a glamorous take on traditional velvet, boasting a unique texture and shiny appearance. The 'crushed' texture of crushed velvet is achieved by twisting the fabric whilst still wet or pressing the pile in different directions.

Crushed velvet has seen a resurgence in recent years as a popular fabric choice for everything from sofas to beds.

Ciselé velvet

Ciselé describes a type of patterned velvet that is created by using a mixture of cut and uncut loops to create a distinctive pattern.

Pile-on-pile velvet

Velvet upholstery fabric commonly contains this type of velvet. Also known as ‘double velvet’, pile-on-pile velvet is woven with piles of varying heights to create a pattern.

What’s the difference between soft velvet and plush velvet? 

The main difference between soft and plush velvet is their composition. Whilst soft velvet is a pile fabric, plush velvet is a warp pile fabric woven with a longer pile. However, they’re both loved for their signature luxe feel.

Soft velvet is known for its sumptuously soft texture that epitomises luxury with its smooth nap and shiny appearance.

Plush velvet has a 100% polyester backing and is distinct by its heavier weight. An ideal choice for upholstery as its longer pile is what gives this fabric its distinguishing super silky feel. 

What is the best colour for a velvet sofa?  

This luxurious fabric is available in a wide range of colour options to suit all interior styles and home décor schemes. From green velvet sofas, to red velvet sofas, and grey velvet sofas, we offer a catalogue of colours for you to pick from. 

Let’s start with grey velvet sofas as grey is an incredibly popular choice that works with so many different shades.

Our Esme range may be right up your street if this is what you’re looking for, with a small velvet sofa, 2 and 3 seater options as well as multiple footstool styles all available in this range, you can mix and match between the varying sofa sets.

How about a beautiful grey crushed velvet corner sofa that’ll effortlessly fit into a whole host of interiors? Comfortably entertain all your guests on the Chicago crushed velvet corner sofa. Stretch out and enjoy having the room to yourself on cosy nights in. 

If you’re looking for a playful addition or an accent sofa why not go for a vibrant colour such as a teal or blue velvet sofa?

Our funky Ferndale range may just be your perfect match. Not only is it available in a beautiful jewel-toned blue, it’s also bang on trend with its leafy print giving a nod to the Botanical trend

Another beautiful and bold colour is forest green and our velvet Tetrad Savanna Chesterfield sofa has got you covered. This timelessly styled sofa certainly makes a statement with its grand design, button detailing and opulent scroll arms. 

How to style a velvet sofa

Whilst you may love the way velvet looks, you may be hesitant in knowing how to best style it.

Comfortable and chic, velvet sofas and chairs bring a sense of opulence to any room in their own right which is why you may be wondering how to complement this statement piece of furniture. 

A huge factor in styling your velvet sofa depends on the colour you’ve gone for. As we’ve gathered velvet sofas come in a mixture of beautiful bolds and chic neutrals, so ensure you choose soft furnishings that are a complimentary colour match.

With a neutral coloured sofa, such as a grey or white you can’t go wrong with any colour you wish as it can be styled in an endless number of ways. Grey and white work gorgeously with so many coloured accessories, including nautical navy and opulent oranges.  

If you want to make your velvet sofa the focal point in your living room then bright and beautiful tones will be more your style and certainly do the talking, such as a green velvet sofa. This would work with complimenting colours such as pastel pinks and mauves as the boldness of forest green in particular offsets the romantic tones of pink wonderfully. 

Layering textures is another great way to add interest to any sofa or chair. Think chunky knitted throws or embossed scatter cushions – both of these would certainly give your velvet furniture a unique look that can be easily switched around when you’re ready for a refresh.

Are velvet sofas durable? 


A common misconception about velvet is that it’s high maintenance, though a velvet sofa in a quality fabric can be a durable addition to your home if looked after well.

What’s more, velvet sofas are difficult to snag, as the material has no loose threads or raised weaves – that’s one less thing for you to worry about.

If you have a busy home with children and pets, we recommend opting for a synthetic velvet sofa made from 100% polyester as these are easier to clean and more enduring.

In fact they’re the best of both worlds as sofas crafted from a high-quality polyester still maintain the soft nature of velvet with the added benefit of being more stain-resistant and suited to daily use.

Are velvet sofas comfortable? 


Velvet sofas are irresistibly comfortable due to their super soft nature that you can simply sink into. They’re also surprisingly supportive, especially when you opt for a high back sofa or chair with lovely supportive armrests. The perfect choice for family and friends to enjoy. One things for certain once you’ve sat down you won’t want to get back up!

How do you clean a velvet sofa?

To clean a velvet sofa, gently vacuum the fabric with an upholstery attachment in the direction of the pile to remove any dust.

You can also use a soft-bristled velvet brush before vacuuming, to remove any dirt build up. Before using the brush, remove all cushions and throws from the sofa and use long, even strokes, brushing from one side of the sofa to the other – always be gentle and don’t scrub the sofa as this could force any dust or grime further into the fabric.

While we would always recommend keeping food and drinks away from velvet sofas, accidents can happen but there’s no need to panic. If any spillages do occur, use a dry absorbent cloth to gently blot the affected area and remove the bulk of the stain. Follow with a sponge and cold water to remove a more stubborn stain. If in doubt, always consult a specialist upholstery cleaner to avoid damaging the velvet.

How do you clean a crushed velvet sofa?

Keep your crushed velvet sofa gleaming with some regular TLC. Once a week, gently vacuum the fabric with an upholstery attachment to remove any build-up of dirt or dust.

While we would always recommend keeping food and drinks away from crushed velvet sofas, we understand accidents can happen. If any spillages do occur, use a dry absorbent cloth to gently blot the affected area and remove the bulk of the stain. If in doubt, always consult a specialist upholstery cleaner to avoid damaging the crushed velvet fabric.

How do you protect a velvet sofa?

Velvet is a beautiful fabric and there are a few simple tips and tricks to care for and protect velvet sofas.

When deciding where to place a velvet sofa in the home, look for an area not in direct sunlight as velvet can be prone to colour fade. If it’s not possible to find an area shaded from the sun, drape a throw over the sofa to offer extra protection.

Be sure to also regularly turn and plump any velvet cushions to help prevent the fabric from wrinkling.

Velvet chairs and footstools 

Velvet is a particularly popular upholstery for an accent chair as it works perfectly if you’d like to add a pop of colour to make a statement in your living room or snug.

Our Ferndale accent chair and Gracie accent chair are great contenders for your contemporary lounge. 

If a velvet chair is too much of a statement for you, try starting small by introducing a footstool to give your space that luxurious feel. 

Larger, banquette style footstools can also double up as a coffee table by adding a tray to pop your drinks and trinkets on. 

Is velvet a good choice for a sofa, chair or footstool?

To summarise, let’s recap on the pros and considerations of choosing velvet.

Pros of a velvet

Velvet is a popular choice as it has lot going for them, including:

  • Velvet upholstery offers a luxe and inviting feel to any piece of furniture 
  • The silky soft texture of velvet is unmatched 
  • The way it picks up the natural light gives all coloured velvet far more richness and depth than a plain material 

Things to consider with velvet

Whilst velvet certainly has its pros, there are a few things to consider when deciding on velvet, such as:

  • Naturally velvet is more prone to attracting pet hair, this is something to think about if you have furry friends
  • As well as pet hair, velvet is susceptible to drawing in dust so a regular clean is needed to prevent a build-up
  • If exposed to too much direct sunlight, velvet can fade the fabric over time so where you position your sofa needs to be thought through 

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Published: XX May 2022