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We’re Crushing on Velvet Furniture

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Velvet crush

Once only available to the rich and royal, velvet has long been considered luxurious… yet also expensive and high maintenance. Oh how times have changed! Today’s velvet is affordable, durable and easy to clean, making it one of the best choices in furniture upholstery. And keeping your velvet crush alive is as easy as the occasional warm sponge and vacuum.

Othello table and Maxine velvet chairs | In case of spills or sticky little fingers, blot away any liquid with a paper towel, then gently wipe over with a warm, damp sponge.

Care instructions

✅ Before use, we recommend applying a fabric-protection treatment on the upholstery, as you would with any beloved fabric furniture.

✅ Avoid positioning your velvet furniture in direct sunlight as it may fade the fabric.

✅ Vacuum your sofa once a week or fortnight with an upholstery brush to remove any dust and environmental debris from the fabric and under the seat cushions. Dust and grime can mark the fabric and be harder to clean if left for long periods.

✅ In case of spills, such as wine, blot away the excess liquid with a paper towel, then gently wipe over with a warm, damp sponge.

✅ Do not use detergents, bleach or cleaning chemicals as they could mark the fabric and will void the warranty on your sofa.

✅ To keep your velvet looking its best for years to come, we recommend an annual in-home dry cleaning — leave the covers on.

✅ Rotate the cushions regularly and ‘beat them up’ to help them retain their shape — the kids or grandkids will love this job!

Why we love velvet

1 It looks luxurious. Once very expensive to produce, velvet is forever woven with its reputation for luxury. Silky smooth and soft to touch, it ups the luxe in every room.

2 It’s incredibly durable. All of our velvet is made from polyester as it’s super strong, more resistant to staining and snagging, and very suitable for family living. Just give it a quick vac with an upholstery brush once a week to bust the dust.

3 It works with every style. Whether a velvet chair with an industrial table or velvet sofa in a French provincial living room, there’s no wrong way to pair velvet. It goes with everything.

4 It’s easy to clean and maintain. No one need cry over spilled wine again! With polyester velvet, you can blot away the excess liquid with a paper towel, then gently wipe over with a warm, damp sponge. Simples.

5 It comes in glamorous colours. Available in a range of vibrant jewel tones, furnishings are all the more ravishing in velvet. Keep pieces out of direct sunlight to avoid any fading so they look glamtastic for years to come.

What to know more? Join us on the exotic history of velvet…

The silk road

Ever since Cleopatra reclined on her velvet chaise to be fed grapes by Mark Antony, velvet has had the power to infuse an immediate air of opulence to a room, unlike any other fabric. Originating in ancient cultures where it was hand-woven from the silk extracted by mulberry-munching moths, velvet has long carried the reputation of being difficult to produce, high-maintenance, fragile and expensive.

From silkworm cocoons to camel back across continents to the gowns of kings and queens in Renaissance Europe, velvet has long been associated with opulence | Images from Pixabay

It wasn’t until the Italian Renaissance that the importation of velvet to Europe began. Travelling via the Silk Road — a network of trade routes from Asia and Africa — velvet was brought in to be used for premium furniture upholstery, clothing and curtains. (Here’s a fun fact: The word “velvet” comes from the Italian word velluto, which means “shaggy”.)

But just as you’d expect of a thread painstakingly extracted from silkworm cocoons and transported thousands of miles across continents in the 13th century, it was very expensive and only accessible to the privileged few. It was only the likes of those such as Henry VIII (who was pretty much the Donald Trump of the 1500s) who could afford to line their lavatories in velvet… and that he did.

Velvet

Create your own velvet throne on the Lisette — here she is in ‘Luxe Storm’ (also available in indigo and emerald) with the Prato velvet stool | Rotate the cushions regularly and ‘beat them up’ to help them retain their shape — the kids will love that job!

Velvet underground

In the 1400–1500s, Venice and Florence were the major velvet centres in Europe and their fabrics were highly prized. The craftspeople were often forbidden from leaving the cities where they worked in order to guard their silky secrets against the stiff competition of neighbouring precincts.

These velvets — made from pure silk, dyed in royal colours and embroidered with fine silver thread — sent a message: they were only for the ridiculously wealthy. Monarchs and aristocrats engaged velvet tradies to weave family emblems and other snazzy swag. Could this be a possible explanation for the Mona Lisa smirk… she’s feeling a tad swank in her top-to-toe velvet gown imported via the Silk Road of the backdrop behind her?

So widely adored for its luxurious look, new materials were sought out to make it more available to the masses. Velvet, after all, isn’t the fibre — it’s the weave. More affordable and available threads were sourced, such as cotton, linen and wool, and mechanical production methods were invented, thanks to the Industrial Revolution. This was good news indeed for all those with a velvet crush as it became readily available and affordable.

The Maree Ottoman (in front of the Ashbourne bed) | Keep your velvet out of direct sunlight to prevent fading over time.

Ever-Lasting luxe

Nevertheless, the association with luxury and glamour stuck and was transported right into the modern day. Suddenly sofas, cushions, curtains and even tracksuits became available for all — inseparably stitched to the luscious air of opulence.

Further innovations in textiles over recent decades have witnessed a new player in velvet production: polyester. Very durable, easy to clean and silky soft, polyester velvet doesn’t pill or wrinkle like its silk counterpart yet still has the sumptuous sheen. At Early Settler, all of our velvet products are polyester velvet. This is because it’s one of the most ideal choices for furniture upholstery and is very easy to maintain.

The Boston sofa in teal velvet | Vacuum your velvet furniture every one or two weeks with an upholstery brush to remove dust and environmental debris.

Ready to up the luxe?

We think everyone deserves a little luxe in their home. We’ve got soooo many velvet goodies in-store and online to up the luxe in your living spaces, bedrooms and dining room. And don’t miss our guide to picking the right sofa for your space.

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