When the fabulous Jonathan Adler mentioned bouclé in our textile trends news story – he gushed, and we quote, ‘I’m covering everything – sofas, chairs, my husband, my dog – in an ivory bouclé’, we knew we needed to investigate this luxe trend a little deeper.
This slubby, stroke-able fabric was created by industrial designer, Eero Saarinen when Florence Knoll asked him to design her a chair that she could ‘really curl up in’ during the late 1940s. He interpreted it literally, and came up with a curly yarn that has looped fibers that made a cozy fabric, and the result was the Womb chair.
It was a big hit and in 1954 after Coco Chanel showcased her iconic jacket in ‘buckled tweed’ – otherwise known as bouclé – in Paris, and it gained further popularity after icons like Jackie O started to wear it. And it wasn't long before it was covering furniture as well as celebrities.
As with all trends, its prevalence has ebbed and flowed over the decades, but now it’s back and is taking the world of interiors by storm. A more grown-up, more available version of the Shearling chair upholstery Gwyneth Paltrow designed for CB2, it's a wonderful, comforting trend we are buying into. Here are five key ways to add bouclé to your home. There are, of course, many more.
- See: Interior design trends 2021 – the top looks for the year ahead
1. Choose svelte silhouettes for dining
As this whole piece was inspired by Jonathan Adler’s fabulous quote, we thought we should showcase his bouclé range first.
The beauty of this versatile fabric is the slubby texture and you can see how well it works in a contemporary setting as it contrasts beautifully with the glossy cobalt blue table top.
Look out for stand-out shapes too – these unusual keyhole-shaped Vera dining chairs with ebonized legs add a sculptural element that will certainly create a talking point.
2. Make working from home cozier
Heal’s has launched a stunning range of bouclé pieces that perfectly complement their new spring summer furniture collection – and they’re not just available in cream (sorry, Jonathan).
Sabina Miller, Head Buyer at Heal’s explains: ‘While neutral tones fit well within pared-back schemes, opting for bouclé in richer, deeper colors, such as terracotta, navy blue or a dark green, will emphasize the curled texture and add a sense of depth to your space. The exclusive Edit Chair by Says Who is offered in a Copenhagen blue shade, perfect for adding an elegant splash of color to your office or dining room.
'Translating from French as “loop” or “curly”, bouclé is woven from looped yarn, which creates a super-soft raised texture. With a low level of liquid absorption, bouclé is perfect for upholstered furnishings, while the tightly twisted fibers offer an incredibly durable finish. As bouclé often uses natural yarns, it makes for a more sustainable choice that will maintain its sense of quality over time.’
3. Choose a classic wing chair for a reading room
‘Cocooning in every sense of the word was our starting point when introducing our first-ever bouclé fabric to the new collection,’ explains Patricia Gibbons, Designer at Sofa.com.
‘With more time spent at home, there’s been a notable shift in what customers are looking for when choosing their forever pieces – it's now about optimal coziness for comfort, varied textures for style and curvaceous lines to complement the two. This look all comes together when using a bouclé fabric on key or accent upholstery.’
What we’re seeing is key furniture shapes like this classic Louis wingback chair, reinvented when upholstered in bouclé, and check out the black – it’s ideal if you want an edgier feel to your space.
4. Recline on an elegant chaise
Anything goes with bouclé which is the beauty of it – it lends itself to simple shapes by softening curves and providing extra plushness to seating, Helen Pett from Arteriors London explains;
‘With its rich, loop-like texture a bouclé fabric is ideal when creating a warm, relaxed but elegant décor scheme. Bouclé has long been a part of our upholstery offering, selling particularly with our contemporary, minimal shapes like the Catalina chaise – however, in recent months, we have had more enquiries into the once understated fabric.
'Perhaps it’s the new alternative to a plush velvet fabric. Its beautiful subtle texture really can transform an ordinary sofa, accent chair or ottoman into a luxuriously striking design.’
5. Choose a statement piece with '70s appeal
There’s also the key point that bouclé is oh-so-tactile and perhaps that’s one of the reasons why it’s a hit currently – we all need an extra level of coziness right now, and bouclé is hitting that spot. We asked Kate Watson-Smyth, founder of Design Storey, her thoughts on this aspect of the trend.
‘As lockdown continues and we are distanced from our loved ones, it seems as if textures, always a vital part of any interior design scheme, have assumed an even greater importance to our well-being.
'Gently curving furniture that hugs you and which is covered in the nubbly softness of a bouclé fabric – which these armchairs by Soho Home demonstrate beautifully – brings a cocooning feel to a room, and increases the sense of "home" as a safe, nurturing place.’
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Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.
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