I'm Obsessed With This Fashion-Inspired Home Trend, and I'm Seeing It Everywhere Suddenly
As a fashion writer and editor, my world is colored by clothes. Even much of the furniture in my apartment can be viewed through the lens of designers, movements, and perspectives from the industry I've immersed myself in. So it's no wonder I'm obsessed with an interior trend taken straight out of fashion's glossy pages: bouclé.
If you're not familiar, bouclé is a soft, nubbly woven material, which, when found in upholstery, creates the sensation of being in your own private marshmallow heaven: every surface pillowy and white, every angle gently curved and pert, and a feeling of peace and cleanliness in the air. But its origins are much more dynamic.
"Interest in this type of fabric increased after Chanel started using it for [its] clothing," Amina El Kadiri, an interior designer at Valyōu Furniture tells Real Simple, "Bouclé is a very elegant, French-style fabric."
Popularized in the 1940s by none other than Coco Chanel herself, bouclé got its start in the house's legendary skirt suits—office wear for women entering the workplace. Not too long after, the fabric made its way into the world of interiors: "During that time, Modernist designer Eero Saarinen created his first Womb Chair for fellow designer Florence Schust, also known as Florence Knoll," says John Sanders, founder of the furniture company Kardiel. "[She] wanted a chair she 'could curl up in.' In addition to the chair's structure, the chosen bouclé fabric contributed to its cozy feel."
Interior designer Darren Jett, founder and director of Jett Projects, also points to Vladamir Kagan's curved sofa forms, Pierre Paulin's Pumpkin Chair and Pacha Chair, and Pierre Yovanotich's Papa Chair as examples of early influential bouclé furniture styles, saying, "It was only a matter of time before Athena Calderone put it in her Brooklyn townhouse, and boom, the goopifcation of bouclé has now made its way to CB2 and Pottery Barn."
Today, home goods stores everywhere are frantically stocking their shelves and showrooms with all sorts of items executed in the material. Couches, ottomans, lounge chairs, dining seats, throw pillows, headboards, storage chests, beanbags, you name it. If it can be wrapped in fabric, it's been bouclé-ed.
The trend's sophisticated origins and overall good vibes have shoppers snapping up these pieces left and right—myself included. Google Trends shows the term "bouclé" started to trend significantly upwards beginning, not coincidentally, around May 2020, just as many of us were settling into our homes amid the pandemic like never before. What sweatpants were to the fashion world, bouclé was to the Great Nesting of 2020.
"Our Pebbles sofa in bouclé fabric immediately sold out when we put it out on the floor," says Valyōu Furniture showroom designer Kurt Yeackel of the company's popular sofa style that's offered with a lust-worthy bouclé upholstery. Other furniture sellers have reported similar purchasing enthusiasm amid COVID-driven supply challenges, resulting in shortages and long delivery lead times.
When my own bouclé couch arrived after months of patiently waiting, it felt like a major life event, and now that the stunning, nap-worthy centerpiece is here to anchor the space, I can't imagine my living room without it. Complemented by warm wood, fresh flowers, and crown molding, bouclé's organic texture and warmth offers both the visual gravitas and soft-to-the-touch comfort to make a house—err, one-bedroom apartment—feel like a home.
Despite the ebbs and flows in bouclé availability, I'm staking my claim that the trend is here to stay—and I'm not the only one. "Right now, we're happy to report that bouclé is once again enjoying the limelight," says Sanders. "And this time, like the already-venerated Chanel jacket material, bouclé might just become a furniture classic."
Shop our favorite boucle furniture and home goods, below.