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What is Bouclé Furniture and Why It’s Trending

Castlery   |   Dec 7, 2023

In the evolving world of interior design, trends come and go, but some manage to carve a lasting niche for themselves. One such trend that's been making waves in recent times is bouclé furniture.

From upscale homes to trendy offices, bouclé fabric has become the darling of interior enthusiasts, blending comfort and style in a unique and captivating way. In this article, we delve into the origins of bouclé, its distinctive features, and why it has become a staple in contemporary furniture design.

What is bouclé?

Pronounced ‘boo-clay’, this fabric is derived from the French word for ‘curled’ or ‘looped’ and it is characterised by its looped, curly fibres.

Originating in the mid-20th century, fashion house Chanel first introduced bouclé in their apparel, which associated the fabric with luxury. Bouclé was then incorporated into furniture by designers such as Eero Saarinen and Florence Knoll.

A close-up shot of bouclé fabric. Bouclé fabric is made up of looped fibres that create a 3D surface.

What sets bouclé apart from other fabrics is its distinct texture. The looped yarns create a three-dimensional surface that adds depth and visual interest to furniture pieces. This unique texture not only elevates the tactile experience but also brings an element of sophistication to any space.

Its soft, textured surface exudes a sense of warmth and cosiness, making it an ideal choice for furniture that beckons relaxation.

Types of bouclé

Although bouclé is typically made of wool, it can be made from a variety of other materials like cotton, silk, and other synthetic blends. The choice of fibres can influence the hand feel, appearance, and durability of the final product.

Here are some common types of bouclé you can find in the market:

  • Wool: Wool bouclé is a classic choice, known for its natural warmth, softness, and resilience. Wool fibres create a luxurious texture and add a cosy element to furniture.
  • Synthetic fibres: Bouclé can also be crafted from synthetic fibres such as polyester. Synthetic bouclé often mimics the look and feel of natural fibres while providing additional benefits such as stain resistance and ease of maintenance.
  • Cotton: Cotton bouclé is another common option, offering a lighter and more breathable alternative. Cotton-based bouclé fabrics are often chosen for their comfort and versatility.
  • Mohair: Mohair, derived from the hair of Angora goats, is known for its lustrous sheen and durability. Mohair bouclé can have a distinctive silky texture, adding a touch of luxury to furniture.
  • Mixed fibres: Some bouclé fabrics are made from a combination of different fibres, aiming to leverage the strengths of each material. For example, a blend of wool and synthetic fibres might offer a balance between natural softness and enhanced durability.

A bouclé sofa in a living room with two armchairs, a glass coffee table, and tambour door sideboard. Our bouclé furniture collection comprises pieces mainly made from synthetic fibres like polyester. Pictured: The Lucas Performance Bouclé Sofa, two Paloma Bouclé Armchairs in Snow, and Harper Sideboard.

Why bouclé?

Timeless appeal

While bouclé has a rich history, its current resurgence can be attributed to its timeless appeal. In an era where the fusion of classic and contemporary styles is celebrated, bouclé seamlessly fits into various design schemes.

From mid-century modern interiors to modern homes, its timeless appeal means that bouclé furniture will remain stylish and relevant for years to come. Its ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia while remaining on the cutting edge of modern aesthetics has made it a favourite among designers and homeowners alike.

A bouclé armchair and stool in a space with white walls and flooring. The Amber Bouclé Swivel Chair with Kit Bouclé Stool. Picture credits: @villastyling

Versatile

Bouclé's adaptability is another factor contributing to its popularity. From iconic mid-century modern pieces to avant-garde creations, bouclé effortlessly transcends design boundaries.

From sofas and armchairs to beds and accent pieces, bouclé can be easily upholstered onto a variety of furniture to transform it into a statement piece.

A bed with a performance fabric upholstered headboard. The Rochelle Performance Bouclé Bed. Picture credits: @tiongbahru.crib

Comfort in style

In a world where comfort is non-negotiable, bouclé provides a tactile luxury that goes beyond aesthetics.

The soft, plush feel of bouclé furniture creates a welcoming atmosphere, inviting individuals to sink into its embrace. This emphasis on comfort without compromising on style aligns perfectly with the evolving preferences of homeowners.

A performance bouclé armchair placed beside an artwork at the end of a hallway. The Paloma Bouclé Armchair in Snow. Picture credits: @threebirdsrenovations

Wear resistance

While this is highly dependent on the type of fibres used, bouclé fabric can be durable and resistant to wear and tear.

As mentioned, several bouclé furniture are made using synthetic fibres like polyester. Compared to cotton or wool, polyester is much more durable and strong. Polyester bouclés can even be treated with a performance coating which gives them spill- and stain-resistant properties.

Recommended read: All You Need To Know About Performance Fabric

This makes bouclé furniture a practical choice for high-traffic areas where longevity and resilience are important considerations.

A bouclé low-slung armchair with a cushion and throw draped over it. The Sacha Performance Bouclé Armchair in White Quartz. Picture credits: @home.style.by.tiff

How to clean bouclé furniture

Cleaning bouclé furniture requires a gentle and careful approach to preserve the texture and appearance of the fabric. While it can be tougher to clean than regular fabric, it’s not that much of a hassle if you follow the right steps and procedures!

Here are some tips on cleaning and maintaining bouclé furniture:

  • Use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to gently remove dust and debris from the bouclé fabric. Regular vacuuming helps prevent particles from settling into the loops and curls of the fabric.
  • Periodically brush the bouclé fabric with a soft brush to maintain its texture and fluffiness. Brushing can also help remove any loose dirt or debris.
  • Attend to spills and stains promptly to prevent them from setting into the fabric. Blot the affected area with a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towel to soak up excess liquid.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners and bleach as they can damage bouclé fabric. Stick to mild, pH-neutral cleaners or mix a small amount of mild detergent with water to create a gentle cleaning solution.
  • Limit direct sunlight exposure to bouclé furniture to prevent fading. Consider using curtains or blinds to shield the furniture from intense sunlight.

In the realm of furniture design, bouclé has proven itself to be more than just a passing trend. Its ability to blend heritage with modernity, coupled with a commitment to comfort, has solidified its place in the design landscape. As we navigate the ever-shifting currents of design preferences, consider incorporating bouclé furniture to embody the essence of timeless elegance and inviting warmth.

FAQs

What is the difference between bouclé and Sherpa?

Bouclé is known for its looped and curled yarns, creating a textured, three-dimensional surface. This gives bouclé a distinctive appearance, adding depth and visual interest to the fabric.

Sherpa has a more rustic appearance, mimicking the look of natural sheep’s wool. It tends to have a fuzzy and piled texture, contributing to a cosy and casual aesthetic.

Recommended read: Bouclé vs Sherpa: What's The Difference?

Is bouclé fabric pet-friendly?

Bouclé fabric can be a good choice for homes with pets to some extent, but there are considerations to keep in mind. Depending on the specific fibres used in the bouclé fabric, it can be durable, resistant to spills and stains, and hypoallergenic. However, the textured nature of the fibres can trap more pet hair and may be more susceptible to scratching damage compared to smoother fabrics.

Is bouclé fabric soft?

Yes, bouclé fabric is known for its soft and plush texture. The looped and curled fibres create a soft and inviting feel, adding a layer of comfort to any upholstery.

Is boucle natural or synthetic?

Bouclé can be made from a variety of materials - from natural fibres like wool and cotton to synthetic blends like polyester and acrylic.

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