Shine and shimmer is everywhere, according to Sarah Jane Nielsen

Interiors with Sarah Jane Nielsen, owner and director of Sarah Jane Nielsen Limited, at Staveley.

The run up to Christmas is becoming all very sparkly, for most of us anyway.

Whether you are out there looking for a new party outfit, or that cushion, curtain or upholstery fabric for the lounge or bedroom, or maybe just some Christmas gifts and decorations.

Shine and shimmer is everywhere. Nowhere more so than good old velvet. We are finding a fantastic array of new big velvets on the market, and these are always perfect for adding that tactile, sumptuous luxury into your life.

Colour has generally been the only choice you have had to contend with in the past. We spoke about printed velvets previously, prints, images and textures embossed on velvet with varying designs and pattern. This season it seems to have become a lot more difficult to make up your own mind due to the extensive choice. It used to be that it was easy as there was not really a whole heap of choice five or ten years ago. Your aim was to find just the right velvet colour to either co-ordinate with something else you are planning or more excitingly, contrast.

Matching tone and texture between wool velvets, silk velvets and cotton velvets is tricky as they are often shot and the colour looks different under different lights, natural light as well as different angles. So it is possible to get a variety of colour tones in velvet. Which can also be looked at as useful, as it will co-ordinate with more surrounding colour tones. The trick is to get the tone right for the job.

If you are looking for curtain fabric, naturally it has to be studied, held up vertically as that is the only way you will get a correct impression of how the fabric will fall and look. Obvious? How many people buy metres of fabric from artificially lit shops, on rolls or from the top of a counter? Ask for it to be held up and away from you. Don’t worry about the assistant rolling her eyes to the ceiling, it has to be right. I spend hours revisiting fabric schemes at different times of the day. I need to know I have tried it every which way. Unfortunately, I have to admit to getting a colour tone slightly wrong once or twice, but not through lack of trying!

Velvet on upholstery, now that’s fun, as you have vertical and horizontal angles coming at you from every direction, especially for a small buttoned chair or ornate show wood armchair. How can you get the right impression of how it will look? We suggest a very fine upholsterer! Engage someone who knows what they are doing and will suggest ways forward to you if you send him, or her, a decent size sample of the fabric before you buy.

I am looking at some fantastic new textures in velvets for several projects at the moment, shiny colour from Harlequin, Sanderson and Wemyss. Some glow in the dark. More subtle, but sophisticated finishes from Zoffany and Zinc. The most wonderful silky seal soft plains are available from manufacturers like Abbott and Boyd, Lewis and Wood and Lelievre.

Seek them out, whether your search is budget, fashion or style lead .

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