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Damask. What comes to mind when you hear the word? Stuffy house museums? Your great grand aunt’s Victorian abode? Huge patterns that seem to jump out of walls?

One day, I actually fell in love with a piece of damask.

I found the swatch (well, “digital swatch”) at a texture site for graphic designers and 3D modelers. It jumped at me, but in a very good way. At that time I was doing the 3D visualization of a Traditional/Neoclassical-inspired house. Of course, I was looking for just the right shade of paint or swatch of fabric.

Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is stylistically Georgian, with its symmetry, cubical form, verticality and simple facade. The ballroom door has a broke scroll pediment.

Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is stylistically Georgian, with its symmetry, cubical form, verticality and simple facade. The ballroom door has a broke scroll pediment.

The reasonable part of me thought of painting the walls in a plain color. Like the beautiful and historic Georgian treasure of a house shown above.

Many (historically accurate) Neoclassical rooms have wainscoting and plain walls, but somehow I wanted something with a strong impact.

3D Visualization

These are the swatches from CG Textures that jumped at me.

Damask wallpaper textures from

Damask wallpaper textures from CG Textures

These damask swatches have a pattern reminiscent of old Italian Renaissance weaves. I believe they show a stylized pomegranate, the apple of love in Medieval times, surrounded by flowers and leaves. The incredibly fine, visible threads of the swatches remind me of hand-woven silk damask wall coverings.

The display cabinets in an imaginary dining room.

My 3D model of a formal dining room using damask wall covering.

I loved them so much I decided to use the brown version for my 3D visualization of a traditional formal dining room. You can see the green damask across the hall.

The damask walls complement the Georgian china cabinets, Louis-Philippe dining table, and Queen Anne chairs. Plain, painted walls would have worked perfectly fine for this dining room, but I feel the damask walls add a bit of pizzazz.

The Beauty of Damask

Here are some real world, incredibly gorgeous examples of the use of damask.

Home in Naples, Italy. Interior design by Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini. Photography by Oberto Gili. From

Apartment in Naples, Italy. Interior design by Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini. Photography by Oberto Gili. From Architectural Digest.

Design team Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini created a sumptuous, romantic atmosphere in this Naples pied-à-terre. The walls and sofa are covered in a rich silk damask, specially dyed for the project by Italian craftsmen. 18th-century Neapolitan commodes and an antique Oushak carpet complement the classic wallcovering.

I love how the light, plain curtains with gold trim enhance the blueness of the damask walls that match the color of the Mediterranean Sea.

Damask upholstery, however, does not require damask-clad walls. The pattern adds pizzas to any room whether wallcovered with plain fabric, wallpapered, wood-paneled or painted.

Sydney apartment designed by Walter Herman. Photography by Erhard Pfeiffer. From

Sydney apartment designed by Walter Herman. Photography by Erhard Pfeiffer. From Architectural Digest.

Interior designer Walter Herman used damask to upholster chairs in his glamorous Sydney apartment. In the dining area paneled in faux-pine, a Regency mirror matches the gold tones of the Lisio damask-upholstered wing chair. The study, covered in navy felt, comes alive with side chairs upholstered in a bright gold damask from Bises.

I love the masculine elegance of Herman’s apartment. This goes to show how damask is actually quite versatile. It’s a material that will fit homes from Neoclassical to Victorian to modern.

Speaking of modern, have a look at my Pinterest board on damask in a contemporary setting:

My damask wallpaper collection on Pinterest

These days we don’t have to bend over backward to acquire silk damask; there are many readily available synthetic fabric and even wallpaper versions.

Get the Look

For those of us that prefer to keep the wallcovers plain but want a small touch of damask beauty in our rooms, here are some lovely home decor accents in green and gold tones.

First, we have two damask decorative pillows from Zoe & Co.

Zoe Decorative Damask Pillows

The Cut Velvet Damask in Leaf Pillow with Green Cord (above left) and the Gold Print on Sun Gold Silk Pillow (above right) have hand sewn closures, with 95% feather and 5% down inserts. The Sun Gold is made of painted fortuni silk, synthetic trim, and gold brush fringe. I love the fine fabrics and handcrafted feel of these pillows.

Next are area rugs with damask patterns by Milliken & Co. and Couristan.

Milliken & Company Rose Damask Peridot Rug and Couristan Impressions Antique Damask Gold and Ivory Rug

The Rose Damask Peridot Rug (rectangular version shown above left) brings the elegance of fresh roses to the home. It comes in several sizes and shapes, and has a StainMaster Brand Stain Treatment with a 10 year wear warranty. Hand-crafted in wool and viscose, the Impressions Antique Damask Gold and Ivory Rug (rectangular version shown above right) will add a subtle gold sparkle to any room.

Another decorative touch could be found in a wall sconce accented with a damask ribbon from Ugone & Thomas.

Ugone & Thomas Company Damask Ribbons Sconce

Both the Damask Ribbons Sconce in Linen Celadon (above left) and the Damask Ribbons in Linen Ecru (above right) are hand cast and hand glazed ceramic wall sconces with a unique ceramic surface. For the damask border, a matte espresso brown serves as the background for a damask pattern in mineral green glaze. Below the damask ribbon is a stone-like sea foam green diamond patterned border with glazed symbols. Each piece from Ugone & Thomas’ Easthampton studio is signed, dated and hallmarked.

Finally, here are two lighting fixtures etched with a damask pattern, from Metropolitan Lighting.

Metropolitan Lighting Vintage Eight-Light Etched Glass Chandelier

Made of antique classic brass, the Vintage Eight-Light Etched Glass Chandelier (above left) and the Vintage Etched Glass Wall Sconce (above right) feature a variety of ornate detailing. I love how the frosted etched glass globes add an exquisite touch to these fixtures.

Have you added some damask accents to your home? Do you have a favorite pattern?

Related Links

Alcott’s Little Women: A Role Playing Game? Part III – details on my 3D visualization of the formal dining room.
Alcott’s Little Women: A Role Playing Game? Part IV – details on my 3D visualization of the formal living room.

External Links to Sources

Photoseek – source of the Governor’s Palace photos.
Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia – page on the house by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini – official page of Studio Peregalli.
Under History’s Spell – Architectural Digest article on the Naples, Italy residence.
Walter Herman Interiors – official page.
Walter Herman’s Sydney Apartment – Architectural Digest article.
Damask Wallpaper – my Pinterest board.

Book to Consider

The Invention of the Past: Interior Design and Architecture of Studio Peregalli – long-anticipated first book of the Milanese architects and decorators Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini.
Scalamandre – story of the leading historic fabric design and manufacturing house, with gorgeous photos of high-end homes across the United States that use Scalamandre textiles.
The Style Sourcebook: The Definitive Illustrated Directory of Fabrics, Wallpapers, Paints, Flooring and Tiles – classic catalog of the best in decorating products and materials. Old (2003) but is a useful reference on the history and influences of dominant design styles.

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