I get asked all the time about how to choose throw cushions. It is my experience that many people tend to over think this and find themselves in a pickle. There are a few really simple guidelines that can make choosing throw cushions as easy as pie. Please note peeps, these are guidelines only and rules are always made to be broken so go with what you love. But hopefully the following blog will just help demystify the process.
Scale and size
Scale and size will largely be determined by the space you are using – is it a sofa, an armchair or a bed? Having different size cushions adds interest but the sizes need to make sense together. I would put a 50cm square with a 20cm small cushion. There needs to be ‘dialogue’ between the shapes. Odd numbers work well on the ends of sofas. Beds can work with even numbers but personally I like to add two 50cm cushions in the same fabric and then one lumbar in front to marry the look together.
Colour and pattern
Colours can vary but try to consider how they work together. Also, an important point to consider is whether they are from the same family of colours. For example, a hot pink with a faded pink may not work. They are both pink, but to the human eye there is something too jarring about placing the two together. A better option might be a hot pink with a bright yellow, or equally a faded pink with a faded yellow.
In a neutral interior, cushions can be the point at which to inject colour so consider how that will work with your overall scheme. Are you trying to produce a simple quiet interior, or one that has a vintage feel or perhaps something more timeless? All of this can easily be created through some carefully chosen soft furnishings.
If simple is what you are after, steer clear of fussy fabrics and instead opt for Bretons, linens or even stripes. Faded fabrics are great as they work in a host of interiors. My advice when mixing fabrics is to think again of scale. For example, choose a larger stripe, pair it with a smaller scale floral and then perhaps a geometric pattern. The mix of prints is pleasing to the eye.
The Importance of Solid fabric/leather choices
Don’t neglect choosing solids. Solid colours can help to punctuate pattern and give the eye a break. By injecting a few simple solid cushions you are able to tie colour schemes together and draw attention to the pieces with more detail.
Texture and materials
If the thought of adding colour with your throw cushions has you coming out in hives, fear not. Here your best friend should always be texture and materials. Think of using buttery leather, woven wools; a boucle is hard to beat. These can be layered and generally are easier to move about when you get tired of the groupings. They work particularly well in cooler climates as they add a cosy feel to any space.
Avoid foam, or batting fillings. If you are after a plush feel and long-lasting quality feather and down are the way forward. They can be plumped up and always look great. Choose cushions that have zip covers. Most fabrics require dry cleaning but some are handwash. A good way to look after soft furnishings between dry cleaning is to vacuum them every so often.
Kids and Pets
The golden rule when thinking about interiors, is be honest about the way you live. One interior that works for one person may not work for you and your family. By really considering how you live you will be able to find the very best solutions for you and a hardworking environment, is one that will really stand the test of time. So, if you have children and or pets and you know that spills and accidents are a real possibility then that’s fine, choose fabrics that are more hard wearing. Headache gone! There have been huge advancements since the invention of Scotch Guard. Fabrics that are water resistant, stain resistant. My personal favourite is finding fabrics that are designed for outdoor spaces. They often feel more like canvas and linens, but offer peace of mind as they are brilliant at standing up to everyday life in the home. The result of choosing wisely at the beginning? A home that will look pristine regardless of what the pooch and your young Picasso’s have thrown at it.
- Scale – consider the area you are working with. Odd numbers work best
- Keep it simple – Cohesive but not too matchy matchy
- Stay in the same tone or family of colours, muted, brights, neutrals
- If you don’t want colour try texture, mix up wools, leathers and weaves
- Consider the filling and choose well made cushions with zip covers
- Work with your lifestyle, going for hardworking fabrics