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Guide to Brocade Home Decor

Updated on February 11, 2011

Brocade is one of my favorite textiles for the home. If you aren’t too familiar with brocade, you may be more familiar with its cousin, damask. Brocade and damask are both two-color designs in which one of the colors creates a raised pattern. The raised pattern is usually either floral or geometric in design although this can vary. The difference between brocade and damask is that damask is a reversible design whereas brocade is not. Additionally, brocade is typically made from silk or a combination of silk and synthetic fibers whereas damask may be made of silk but may also be made of other materials including wool, linen and cotton. Finally, geometric patterns are much more common on damask material whereas floral patterns are much more common on brocade.

Three-Dimensional Effect of Brocade

The most dramatic aspect of brocade décor is that it appears three-dimensional even when the raised pattern is only barely, slightly raised off of the background fabric. Typically with brocade the background fabric is very lustrous with a great sheen, typical of the silk fabric that is often used in brocade work. This makes the pattern really pop off of that background. The effect is very, very eye-catching. That’s why brocade is such a terrific choice for home décor!

Color Choices for Brocade Home Décor

The color choices when it comes to brocade are endless. You can basically put any two colors together with this design. However, there are some color choices that are much more common than others. They include:

o Black and white brocade. For a design that really stands out with a great pattern you’ll want to choose a black and white brocade. The pattern effect is amazing. Most of the time you’ll see black on white but it is possible to get brocade items that are white on black as well. What’s terrific about black and white brocade is that it works with nearly any color scheme in the room where the brocade item is placed.

o A color plus white. Black isn’t the only shade that really pops when contrasted with white in a brocade design. Other colors will stand out against white as well. That’s why it is common to see a color-on-white brocade design as well. Although this would work with light and pastel colors, it is most common with bright, deep and neon colors since the contrast with white is greater when using these colors.

o Tone-on-tone. This means that your brocade has two colors that are in the same color family with one hue lighter than the other. For example, a light blue on top of a dark blue makes for a nice brocade design. The lighter shade may be either the background piece or the raised pattern piece depending on the effect that you are going for.

o Gold and silver. It is very common for brocade to be created using ornamental additions of gold and silver thread. Modern uses of brocade play off of this theme and actually combine gold and silver together in one piece. Alternatively either color may be used with another color in brocade design.

Common Brocade Home Décor Items

Brocade may be used throughout the home anywhere that you’d like to enjoy its pattern and three-dimensional effect. However, there are some items that are much more common than others when it comes to the use of brocade. Those items include:

o Chairs and sofas. The most common application of brocade in home design is as upholstery for chairs and sofas, especially those that are used in the living room of a home. Note that brocade tends to be a fairly thick fabric and that’s why it is used for upholstery and other items that are designed to be thick and heavy.

o Brocade drapes. Thick winter drapes for the home might also be made of brocade. Typically brocade drapes to have a very formal appearance. This is great for vintage-inspired home design but works well in modern spaces where a formal look is appreciated.

o Brocade canopy bed curtains. If you are lucky enough to have a canopy bed in your home then you know that one of the great things about it is that you can close the curtains around it to enjoy romance or just a little bit of privacy. Lovely brocade curtains are a great choice for this part of the home.

o Pillows. When you see a raised pattern on a pillow it is typically a damask design and not a brocade design. However, if the material is silk then it is possible that it’s a brocade design. Brocade pillows are elegant and provide a really nice addition to both sofas and beds in the home.

Brocade in Granny Chic Design

There is a current trend in home design called “granny chic”. This trend takes old-fashioned items and updates them with modern touches to create a great effect in the home. It is part of the return to handmade, DIY and “retro housewife” living where an appreciation of the domestic arts is celebrated. Brocade dovetails nicely with granny chic style because it is a woven fabric art (like crochet, knitting and other granny chic arts). People may hunt down vintage furniture and then reupholster it with a modern brocade design to enhance their homes with the granny chic style in mind.

Brocade in Ethnic Design

Note that brocade originates from India. Some of the designs that you see on brocade items are drawn from inspiration from this country. For that reason, brocade is sometimes used by people who are trying to achieve an ethnic or exotic effect for their home’s design.


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  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Awesome hub well written and reseached. I have a compete way to decorate with nothing but southwestern santa fe or Taos new mexico style, I look forward to seeing that from you. rate up love & peace darski

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

    A well written hub and very comprehensive.