Interior Motive

INTERIOR MOTIVE: CUSHIONS

The best to buy, tips to style and why you shouldn't – ever! – chop them

12.01.2021

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There are many tastes and styles when it comes to decorating homes, but comfort is unifying. A common denominator that spans modernism, minimalism, cottagecore and chintz. Unless you’re a masochist, you do not simply want, but need soft and sink-in furnishings. Cosy carpets and shaggy rugs underfoot, pillows that envelop your whole head and catch the small of your back, and blankets that double up as duvets. Soft furnishings are interiors therapy, because not only do they make homes feel like their happiest, most comfortable selves, but they provide something to scream into, which during a global pandemic, is a real plus. 

Of all the soft furnishings, cushions are the easiest, and most fun to master. A revolving cast of comfort in your home, they're the semicolon, comma, exclamation mark and full stop of a bed or a sofa's expression, so; let's! GO. 

How many cushions is too many cushions? On beds, avoid crashing into hotel territory by having no more than two cushions (to be clear, this is not inclusive of pillows, which convention says you're allowed four of). Any more and you'll lead people to believe that you really do have nothing better to do, than arrange and rearrange pillows every morning and night, or that your aesthetic is 'showroom chic'. Neither are favourable. On sofas there are fewer rules, so long as cushions are facilitators of comfort and not obstacles to it. And when it comes to pattern and colour, don't overthink it. Unless you aspire to suburban housewife status, clashing is not only allowed but encouraged. Done well, noisy cushions on loud sofas can be a total winner, stuff with fronds, frills, rich textures and patterns. 

Where to shop? Les Ottomans has a mesmerisingly beautiful selection of ikats, though H&M's can't-go-wrong neutral linens are just as effective at dressing a space. eBay and Etsy have tonnes of hand-sewn covers made from fabrics that you might not otherwise be able to afford, from the likes Pierre Frey and Fermoie. Sellers – and sewers – usually work with offcuts, which means it’s a much more affordable enterprise, just remember to order an inner (down or feather to ensure maximum comfort).  

While we’re here, as an aside, please can put the popular but utterly peculiar 80s karate-chopping trend to bed. For those who are blissfully unaware, chopping entails plumping a pillow and karate chopped to create an indentation in the middle. Just be glad you haven’t bore witness to the process or the product. 

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