If you've noticed an abundance of nubby fabric gracing your social feeds and the pages of your furniture catalogs, then welcome to the resurgence of bouclé upholstery. Seemingly out of nowhere, this looped textile is popping up everywhere.
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What is bouclé?
Bouclé, derived from the French word boucler, which means "to curl," is a heavy, knotted fabric with hard-to-resist charm. Traditionally, it's woven from mohair or wool, but thanks to its meteoric rise in popularity, it's now available in a range of materials including linen, merino, alpaca, cotton, silk, and polyester. While the current coveted status of bouclé might lead one to believe that the fabric is a recent invention, it's actually been around for nearly 100 years. It became popular in home decor in the 1940s when Eero Saarinen used a Florence Knoll bouclé fabric on his infamous womb chair — it went on to grace many other iconic midcentury modern furniture designs.
There's an appealing coziness to bouclé that makes any piece of furniture upholstered in it feel like it's giving you a comforting hug. It straddles the line between approachability and luxury, making it a viable option for use in a range of different interiors, from contemporary to farmhouse to California-chic. One of bouclé's biggest draws is its ability to add character and interest to spaces without overwhelming them. Plus, it has a subtle irregular texture that imparts depth and warmth without fuss. And despite its unique knotted appearance, it doesn't distract from the furniture design or the room aesthetic.
How to Clean Bouclé Fabric
As fabrics go, bouclé is considered to be quite durable and resists matting and fading. It has low absorption and is naturally stain-resistant when made from certain materials like wool, silk blends, and cotton — treating the fabric can enhance this feature. Bouclé can easily be steam-cleaned if liquids seep in, and certain materials (like cotton and linen) are actually machine-washable. Fair warning: The looped fibers make it prone to catching pet hair and crumbs, but its durability means it can be vacuumed. Upholstered bouclé can sometimes feel stiff and scratchy on bare skin, belying its cuddly appearance.
Now that you're fully versed on all things bouclé, here's a look at some stylish ways to incorporate the ultra-popular fabric into your own home.
11 Ways to Weave Bouclé Into Your Space
1. Add texture to a neutral bedroom.
Prevent a tonal palette from falling flat and feeling, well, boring by layering in textured fabrics. Bouclé's appeal stems from its ability to add interest and hand-feel without added patterns or colors. Chango & Co. used the hardworking fabric on both the headboard and a bench in this calm bedroom escape for an edited, yet alluring look.
2. Tame a vibrant color scheme.
Balance vibrant palettes with quiet moments by including neutral hues. The cream-colored bouclé club chair that Angie Hranowsky selected for this bold living room is substantial enough to stand up to the more saturated hues. The channel-back tufting and slanted arms elevate its silhouette from just your average piece of furniture.
3. Anchor an entryway with a black bench.
Lend a modern note to a traditional home with a contemporary piece of furniture covered in black bouclé. This swanky bench spotted on CB2 adds visual weight and contrast to an airy entryway, making the corridor design feel as thoughtful as it is beautiful.
4. Give a sofa some depth.
You don't need to splurge on statement pieces to reap the benefit of bouclé — even minimal accents can make a big impact. Take this setup showcased on Lulu and Georgia, for example. A petite, charcoal gray accent pillow covered in the knotted fabric stands out against a backdrop of cream upholstery, and adds enviable contrast and texture.
5. Add definition to a corner.
With its wood-paneled walls, funky lighting, and earthy color palette, this bedroom by Sarah Sherman Samuel has a decidedly '70s vibe. The lines of a curvilinear club chair by Sarah Ellison are enhanced by bouclé fabric, underscoring the room's midcentury look. As the lone white piece in the room, it functions as a focal point and anchors what could be a forgotten corner.
6. Give your office feminine appeal.
Your home office doesn't need to forgo aesthetics in the name of function: Make it a stylish work zone by pairing an expansive desk with a statement-making chair upholstered in pink bouclé. The blush-hued seat in this neutral setup by Joanna Parol adds softness and contrast to the monochrome space.
7. Mix it with other textiles.
Bouclé is a versatile material that plays nicely with a range of other fabrics and patterns, and adds interest and texture without overwhelming any of the other components. As seen in this cozy space by Amber Interiors, the lounge chair works seamlessly with the other furniture and decor in linen, leather, and silk, as well as with varying patterns and colors.
8. Bring softness to a kitchen.
The clean lines of a contemporary kitchen are ripe for details that add warmth. Look for unexpected ways to incorporate softness such as the bouclé-backed counter stools in this pared-down cook space by Chango & Co. They add texture and interest to the seating's sculptural silhouettes without detracting from the overall minimalism.
9. Accentuate intimate spaces.
Bouclé-covered furniture is a wonderful addition to cocoon-like spaces such as bedrooms, nurseries, and family rooms, which have an inherently cozy vibe. The nubby texture beckons people to snuggle up to it, making the fabric a compelling upholstery choice for intimate spaces. For example, Tali Roth added the Gwyneth Ivory Bouclé chair (yes, named after Goop's very own Gwyneth Paltrow) to a navy blue nursery to help balance the dark wall color and to serve as an inviting spot to linger with baby.
10. Spruce up your dining chair.
Bouclé fabric may be rooted in midcentury design, but its versatility makes it appropriate for use in a range of aesthetics. The fabric's textured appearance gives it an organic quality that makes it particularly fitting for rustic, bohemian, and minimalist interiors like this dining room spotted on LeStrange Living. When covered with the nubby fabric, the simple wooden chairs from House of Léon suddenly become inviting. And bonus: The texture of the seat upholstery underscores the woven pendant.
11. Tackle a DIY project.
Bring some bouclé into your abode with this DIY ottoman project by Hunker contributor Sara Albers. The fabric starts at around $30 per yard (and goes up from there depending on the composition), making off-the-shelf pieces of furniture quite the investment. Ottomans and footstools are small pieces of furniture that make trying out new trends more manageable (read: affordable).
Where to Shop for Bouclé Furniture
Bouclé's popularity makes it easy to find furniture upholstered in the nubby fabric at big-box stores and boutiques alike. Here are some of our faves: