Bouclé (pronounced "boo-clay") fabric is everywhere right now in the home decor world. Perhaps you even have a bouclé piece or two in your own living room. The nubby fabric is commonly used on accent chairs, sofas, and pillows—it complements a range of decor styles, whether you prefer modern pieces or you're all about the Parisian look. "To me, bouclé brings a feeling of warmth and calmness; it is inviting," says Traci Connell of Traci Connell Interiors. "We use it in a lot of vacation properties such as lake homes and mountain homes."
Curious to learn more about this fabric—including its origins, best uses, wearability, and more? Read on as designers and textile experts elaborate on what makes bouclé so special.
Curious about bouclé 's origins? Melinda Marquardt of The Vale London, a textile and wallpaper company, shares a bit about the fabric's history. "Bouclé comes from the French word 'boucler,' which means 'to curl,' and exemplifies the bouclé's nubby texture that is unique among all other textiles,''" says Marquardt. "It is thick, almost like a blanket, and incredibly dense. It is traditionally made from wool or mohair with a soft, cloud-like feel. There is truly nothing like it on the global market."
Why is bouclé so popular at this point in time? Marquardt weighs in with some thoughts on why the fabric is having a major moment. "There is a massive resurgence of neutral and tonal aesthetics, and the nubby texture of the bouclé lends itself to this more wabi-sabi trend," she comments.
Bouclé Fabric Colors and Styles
Many people gravitate toward bouclé that is off-white, beige, or another neutral hue, says Marquardt. However, bouclé is available in a range of colors if something bold is more your style. The Vale London offers bouclé in seven colors, which include neutrals as well as pale blue, forest green, slate blue, pale pink, and gray.
The type of bouclé that The Vale sells is referred to as Agnello. "Agnello is a substantial bouclé that holds its shape and boasts a subtle sheen courtesy of its viscose content," says Marquardt. "Wooly and plush with a positively rhythmic warp and weft, Agnello is an easy choice for luxury upholstery—and one of our most popular fabrics."
As noted earlier, bouclé has a number of different applications. "Bouclé is very malleable and upholsters beautifully, especially on curved and sculptural furniture," says Marquardt. "It is fantastic for chairs, sofas, upholstered beds, soft goods like pillows, and even sexy and dramatic curtains. It adds warmth, texture, and tactility that other materials don't have."
Fabrics That Look Like Bouclé
If you love bouclé, you may also be drawn to sheepskin and sherpa. "These are all cozy materials made from looped yarn with a soft, yet nubby texture," explains Molly Torres Portnof of DATE Interiors. However, bouclé is more tolerant than these other two. "Unlike sheepskin and sherpa, bouclé doesn't shed or become matted and it doesn't absorb liquid."
Is bouclé durable?
You won't want to introduce bouclé into a home full of pets who may be eager to scratch it. "As boucles have a distinctive nubby weave, cat and pet claws are a no-no and can cause damage," says Marquardt. "But, of course, pets can damage pretty much any material." Otherwise, though, the fabric is known to be quite durable, she notes, explaining that it is very tolerant to heavy usage and wear and tear and therefore very family friendly.
How do you protect bouclé?
If your bouclé is made from wool (versus synthetic material), you won't need to take many precautions with regard to stains. "Wool is inherently stain and fire-retardant, so the material is intrinsically resilient," says Marquardt. "If you need extra protection because you chose a bouclé in a light color, you should have it treated for stain protection." For simple cleaning, just grab a hand vacuum. "Use a low setting with a soft brush attachment to grab debris from all its nooks and crannies," advises Marquardt.
How much does bouclé cost?
Boucle is available at a range of price points but you should be able to find a style that fits within your budget. "It's generally under $100 per yard which makes it more affordable than other high-end fabrics," notes Connell. "The price point and textural interest are likely why it has become so favored in the design world as of late—it's the perfect way to add a layer of visual interest to a room."