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A guide to short-pile and soft velvet sofas

  • Chenille sofas
  • Sofa buying guide
  • Velvet sofas
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Ed Hawes
guide to velvet sofa fabrics

This week we’re talking all things velvet. This sofa fabric's solidified itself as a staple in home interiors and has become a first choice, for good reason. In fact, velvet's our most popular fabric type at Swyft.  

Velvet’s short, dense pile gives it that signature soft feel, which is why it’s perfect for upholstered sofas and armchairs. Consider this your one-stop guide if you’re thinking of branching out and getting yourself a velvet sofa. Here’s everything you need to know about the different types of velvet to help you decide what’s right for your living room.

How many types of velvet are there?

If you’re outside of the interior design world, velvet as a category looks pretty one-dimensional, but there are actually more options than you think. What was once a fabric reserved for retro and mid-century living room looks is now even more versatile, opening up velvet sofa options for pretty much every interior style. 

Here’s a run-down of the main types of fabric you’ll find when shopping for a new velvet perch.

Velvet sofas

velvet sofas

The most popular option and a timeless classic comes in the form of standard velvet. This fabric has all the characteristics you’d expect. It’s short pile, flat and smooth in feel which works beautifully with contemporary and traditional sofa styles.

Why you’ll love it: 
  • Versatile and easy to style 
  • Widest range of colour choices
  • Some are stain-resistant 
  • Has a smooth, soft finish

Eco velvet sofas

eco velvet red sofas

Eco velvet is new to the furniture scene, and we’re really excited about it. This sofa fabric is made up of recycled fibres, so it does good things for the planet and even better things for your living room. The feel of this one is the same as standard velvet - flat, soft and unbeatable comfortable.

Why you’ll love it: 
  • A more eco-friendly option 
  • Doesn’t compromise on style 
  • Looks great in a variety of settings
  • Feels super soft to touch

Chenille sofas

chenille loveseat

Chenille is absolutely making a comeback, and it’s not just for curtains anymore. This updated version of velvet fabric has a subtle, barely-there texture that still maintains that classic smooth, velvety feel - everything you want from a sofa.

Why you’ll love it:
  • A great way to add more texture variation
  • Easily styled with other velvets 
  • Helps to accentuate the details

Royal velvet sofas

royal velvet sofas

Aptly named, royal velvet is a serious contender if you want to bring a little more of a luxury feel into living room spaces. This velvet takes texture up a notch with a slightly thicker pile and a visible woven design that’s an elevated version of crushed velvet sofa fabrics.

Why you’ll love it: 
  • Creates a unique ‘sheen’ that loves natural light 
  • Great for a striking, stand-out look 
  • Works well when used on statement sofas

Mottled velvet sofas

mottled velvet sofa patterned velvet sofa blue velvet sofa textured velvet sofa

Newer to the sofa game is mottled velvet. This velvet fabric is still dense in its pile but has the added benefit of a printed overlay, which creates a beautiful dappled effect. It’s a real conversation starter and looks brilliant in rooms with pockets of natural light.

Why you’ll love it
  • Has an organic, relaxed look
  • A chance to experiment with a less common fabric
  • Creates an interesting addition to interior textures

Is a velvet sofa right for me?

Because of the variety of velvets, we’re pretty confident in saying that velvet sofas are a great option for everyone, regardless of your personal interior style. 

However, when choosing any sofa fabric you should consider how you use your living room space, and who will use it. If you’ve got pets or if your sofa is situated in a busy family home, opt for stain-resistant velvet sofas which wipe-clean with ease. 

If you’re not sure which velvet sofa type to go for, it’s a good idea to order a fabric swatch box. This will give you a better idea of what each velvet texture looks like so you can make the best decision for your home.

How to choose a velvet sofa colour

orange velvet sofa

Colour’s without a doubt the most important part of home interiors. Making the commitment to a particular sofa colour can be tricky, but we're here to help. Due to its short pile and smooth appearance, velvet fabric really brings out the shape of sofas. Sofa cushions look more pronounced, and upholstery details appear more refined. When combining this with colour, you’re left with a really put-together feel when you choose a velvet sofa. 

Everyone’s got their own individual style, so we’ve put together some pointers based on our most popular interior design guides.

Scandi style sofa colours

scandi style sofa colours

This velvet sofa colour palette is all about neutrals and earthy tones. Keep warm in tone to counteract the brighter surroundings of a Scandi living room. Avoid bright whites and choose off-white instead. Doing this ensures the space leans more towards cosy than clinical - which is exactly what you want from a living room.

Retro style sofa colours

retro style sofa colours

This bold colour palette of velvet sofa fabrics is perfect for the resurgence of retro interiors. We’ve taken inspiration from 60s and 70s patterns that focus heavily on darker, contrasting colours. Expect deep browns, oranges and stand-out teal blues. 

Mid century modern style sofa colours

mid century modern sofa colours

There’s no doubt in the fact that velvet sofas are right at home in mid century modern rooms. Choose from this complementary colour palette that celebrates the diversity of textures in mid-century spaces - teak wood, chrome and leather.

Coastal style sofa colours

Mediterranean style sofa colours

Bring a Mediterranean poolside feel to your living room with velvet sofas in blue and terracotta. This palette of velvet sofa colours creates a fresh, vibrant atmosphere in living rooms.


Which is the best velvet for a sofa?

Choose the best velvet for your sofa by considering if you like a smoother finish with flat velvet sofas or a textured feel with royal velvet and chenille sofas.

Is chenille fabric the same as velvet?

Chenille is a type of velvet with subtle ‘woven texture’ detail. Chenille is a popular velvet fabric for sofas and other upholstered furniture.
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