With the turn of the seasons, we're looking to retreat indoors and create homely, cocooning spaces where we feel warm and protected from the elements. This is where sumptuous material and fabrics come in to ramp up the coziness in our homes. Bouclé has swept the world of upholstery in recent years, and its popularity shows no sign of waning. It's textured, elegant, with tight curls of wool that bring an added dimension of texture to any room.
But we've spotted it evolving into something shaggier in recent months. Enter high pile sheepskin upholstery. Similar to how wool is taken ethically from a sheep and turned into bouclé, sheepskin isn't actually the skin of the sheep, but a high pile, hyper-textured material that gives your armchairs and sofas a high pile, wooly makeover. We love the look, so have quizzed some of our favorite textile designers to find out why interior design trend is proving so popular, and how best to style it at home.
What is the fluffy, sheepskin look?
Despite its name, sheepskin isn't actually the skin of a sheep and the best sheepskin furniture should be made from an ethical method of upholstery. Sheep are given a haircut, which they grow back, and the wool is collected, washed and dyed then spun together. The sheep grow more wool, meaning it's a sustainable method of gathering fabric for living room or bedroom furniture.
The difference between sheepskin and bouclé is the method by which they are spun. Bouclé is made from wool fiber that has been tightly looped, while this look involves less of a tight loop and a higher pile, giving it that super shaggy look and feel.
Why is it trending?
The main reason why we think this style is trending is because it creates an even more cozy feeling in the home. And the designers agree. ‘Recently, we have been opting for natural materials, such as fluffy, high-pile upholstery and hyper-textured fabrics,’ says Jenni Lauri, founder of Lauri Design Studio. ‘These selections reflect how our clients desire to capture peace, a sense of wellbeing, and a cozy living room ambiance.’
What's more, it's a versatile fabric choice. ‘It complements various design styles, and looks especially good when combined with other natural materials like wood or leather,’ says Sébastien Lawson of Danish design brand, NORR11.
In addition to its aesthetic qualities, sheepskin offers numerous practical benefits. ‘For instance, it naturally regulates temperature by trapping air in its fibers,’ adds Sébastien.
‘It is a robust and long-lasting material that retains its qualities for many years. In a time where we are more conscious about our purchases, seeking lasting durability and enduring style, sheepskin is an excellent choice, because it embodies those qualities.’
How to bring sheepskin upholstery into the home?
So how best to bring it into the home? We're seeing it used as upholstery across a range of furniture pieces, but mainly on accent chairs. A sheepskin, high pile armchair makes a great accent piece and is perfect for a cozy reading corner. I've also seen entire sofas clad in this style of fabric, but it's a bit more of an investment, and given the nature of the high pile fabric, a sofa might not be the most practical or family-friendly. If you want to go for something more subtle, a simple accent pillow in fluffy sheepskin could just be the way to go.
'High pile accent chairs in cool curvy shapes elevate the comfort and style in your pad to new levels,' says interior designer and home decor mastermind, Abigail Ahern. 'The trick is to cause a little friction and mix in different materials in the room too.
'Texture doesn't have the pulling power of pattern or color and your eye will not automatically dart to it, so you really need to pile on those contrasts.'
3 fluffy sheepskin style chairs to snap up now
Dimensions: 26"W x 41"D x 38"H
Knitting lounge chair
Dimensions: 35" H x 28" W
Dimensions: 29.25" W x 30" H x 32.75"
Color: Sheldon Ivory and Andes Toast