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 non-negotiable, 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. Throws that blanket beds, and blankets that swaddle people.

Soft furnishings are interiors therapy, and not just because in times of despair you can scream into them loudly and not be heard, but because they make homes feel like their happiest, most comfortable selves. Cushions specifically are a revolving cast of comfort that provide an undaunting way to employ punchy colours and plucky prints. On plain-ish bedding and block-coloured sofas you can afford to go bold with rich textures and patterns. Having at least two different sizes will add interest and make things seem less contrived. Numbers wise on beds, for fear of veering into hotel or ex Love Island contestant territory, stick to just a couple. Taking them off only to put them back on seven hours later isn’t practical, let’s be honest.

I don’t want to impart tips on colour schemes, because my saved sofa pics (yes, it’s a thing) abide by few rules. Orange ikats sit alongside velvet green and bright suzani on Ben Pentreath's sofas, while on Beata Heuman's there are navy spots, red and white stripes, pink paisley and her own multicoloured marble print. Play around and if things start to look chaotic, identify the offending cushion and deploy it elsewhere. 

Etsy is great for hand-made covers, though the selection can be overwhelming. My advice is to search by fabric brands, and ones that you might not be able to afford if you were buying directly. Sellers – and sewers – usually work with offcuts, which means it’s a much more affordable. Brands I recommend are Pierre Frey, Fermoie and Colefax & Fowler, though there are tonnes more. Always zoom in on pictures so you can see the quality around fastens and piping, for example, and don’t forget your inners. For something lightweight, plush and plump go for a down or feather.

While we’re here, as an aside, please can we talk about the popular but utterly peculiar 80s karate-chopping trend. When I say talk about, I mean denounce. 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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