Weekend How-To: Add Glamour To Your Home With Velvet

Soft, luxurious velvet has often been associated with royalty — think of a king’s crown and a queen’s throne. It’s also long been used for winter gowns and was popular during the Victorian Era, when royalty loved to show off their expensive taste. Because velvet was once made by hand with large quantities of silk thread, it was difficult to come by for many people. However, thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the advent of synthetics, the price dropped down considerably. Still, the soft feel and rich colors make velvet a true stand-out among fabrics.

Though velvet has always been perfectly at home with the Vanderbilt family, you can also use it as a decorative touch in a modern home. The trick is to showcase it as one, bold feature instead of going overboard. Designers love the way light softly plays off of velvet’s nap, and it’s a great way to add texture to your room while still keeping things soft and livable.

Velvet isn’t easy to work with for a novice, but there are several ways to incorporate it into your decor without apprenticing with a professional seamstress. Choose your level of DIY difficulty and get started with this incredible fabric!

Level One: Buying Velvet Accessories

(Photo courtesy of Alyssa Rosenheck LLC)

The easiest way to add a touch of velvet is to hit the store to find a ready-made accessory. This method is as good as it gets for non-sewers; plus, you’re likely to find a wider variety of colors and textures in stores or online specialty shops than you are at the local fabric store. If you’re more interested in highlighting velvet’s texture, choose a monochromatic color scheme in which your accessory matches the color of its backdrop. For example, red velvet drapes in a red dining room add a wonderful new level of luxury to the room. To really focus on velvet’s rich color, go for high contrast: Those same red velvet drapes will really pop against a white wall.

For best results, consider going velvet with these accessories:

  • Drapes: Totally classic, velvet drapes should skim the floor for full effect. Because velvet is so dense, they make excellent light-blocking curtains in a bedroom. If you prefer natural light to shine through in a living or dining room, use a double curtain rod and hang sheers on the interior line.
  • Pillows: Decorative pillows are the easiest way to experiment with velvet in your living room or bedroom. Choose a single accent or a set to complete a bed or sofa. Consider using round pillows in addition to traditional squares for added interest.
  • Throw Blankets: Forget grandma’s afghan and upgrade your living room with some luxe crushed velvet throws. They’ll keep you warm on a chilly night and will look great casually tossed over the back of the sofa.
  • Slipcovers: Full slipcovers that cover the dining chairs are a great way to add pizzazz to your dining room without worrying about daily wear and tear. These covers are a great addition to holiday decorations, too!

Level Two: Adding Velvet Furniture

(Photo courtesy of ShopRoomIdeas.com)

If you’re looking for a more dramatic presence of velvet in your home, it’s time to think about velvet furniture. This is a bold statement, and a step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. First, you need to love the way it feels. Velvet’s nap is soft when rubbed in one direction, but rougher when you rub it the wrong way. Velvet’s nap is also a magnet for pet hair and lint, so you’ll need to vacuum it regularly. Taking care of spills and stains is also a bit more involved – you’ll need to blot carefully and treat the fabric gently to avoid crushing.

If you’re undaunted by taking a little extra care to protect velvet upholstery, consider these options:

  • One Great Chair: An accent chair with great lines will turn that velvet into a showcase in your living room.
  • A Plush Sofa: Make a bold statement with an overstuffed sofa or sectional.
  • Upholstered Dining Chairs: Give your guests a comfortable place to relax during dinner parties with a dining set that features soft-backed chairs.

Level Three: Crafting a Velvet Headboard

(Photo courtesy of HGTV.com)

Velvet is a notoriously difficult fabric to work with because its edges will fray almost immediately upon cutting it. Luckily, a headboard is an easy, no-sew way to add a nice swath of velvet to your bedroom. This DIY project can be done in a day, though if you have your heart set on a certain color of velvet, you may have to special order it in advance.

What You’ll Need

  • 1/2-inch plywood, cut to the desired width and height
  • 1-inch foam padding
  • Sharpie pen
  • Utility knife
  • Spray adhesive
  • Rolled cotton batting
  • Fabric shears
  • Your choice of velvet
  • Pinking shears
  • Staple gun
  • Nail head trim
  • Tack hammer
  • 2 D-ring hangers
  • Toothpaste
  • 2 drywall screws
  • Drill
  • 2 wall anchors

How to Build Your Upholstered Headboard

  1. Place your pre-cut plywood board onto the foam padding and trace it onto the foam with the Sharpie. Set plywood aside and cut foam to fit.
  2. Use spray adhesive to glue foam to plywood, pressing well to ensure that all areas are bonded.
  3. Roll out cotton batting and place headboard foam-side down. Mark the batting as you did the foam, this time adding an additional 2 1/2 inches all around. Use fabric shears to cut batting to size.
  4. Once again, place headboard foam-side down onto the batting, making sure it’s centered. Pull batting taut as you fold the edge of the batting over the edge to staple in place on the back of the plywood. Begin stapling in the center of one of the longer sides and work to a corner, then go back and complete the side. Repeat for the remaining long side, then move on to the shorter sides.
  5. Roll out your velvet face down and place your headboard batting-side down onto the fabric. Mark the velvet as you did the batting, adding 3 inches all around. Cut with pinking shears.
  6. Repeat the stapling process, keeping the velvet centered and taut.
  7. Flip over the headboard and add a decorative border of nail head trim by hammering tacks through the velvet and cushioning all the way into the plywood. For best results, use a ruler to check your work so your spacing is even throughout.
  8. Attach two D-rings to the back of your headboard, about 5 inches from the top and side.
  9. Place a dab of toothpaste on each D-ring and press your headboard into place on the wall. When you remove it, the toothpaste will show you where to drill the holes to hang the headboard.
  10. Use the hammer to tap wall anchors into place, then drill in the drywall screws.
  11. Hang your headboard and enjoy!