Think of cushions as your room’s jewellery, adding colour and style.
Find the right cushions. Throws and cushions are the ultimate accessory for a space. They add instant personality and can change the look of a room in a quick and easy way, without having to completely redecorate. Think of placing cushions on upholstery in the same way that you would use jewellery to enhance a dress.
Decorative cushions can transform a room and can take it from a warm cosy home to a vibrant cool look for the summer.
Interior designers know that cushions also add a finishing touch to a space. Without carefully selected accessories, a room can feel stark or unfinished; cushions add the final layer, creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. They can be understated or bold, grouped symmetrically or asymmetrically, bringing a room together without being overpowering.
For advice on picking the perfect decorative cushion for any space, follow these tips from the design pros.
Strike a balance
Both colour and shape should be carefully considered depending on the style, silhouette, texture and hues of your furniture. Even a single pop of colour used on a trim or piping of a cushion creates contrast to the surrounding pieces of furniture and/or accessories.
Placing the largest cushion at the back and angled in the arm of the sofa can be a perfect starting layer for any sofa. Building from there and adding different sizes of cushions can complete the room. We usually use around five cushions of varying sizes on a sofa.
Cushions don’t need to match but usually it’s best to create a selection of cushions in varying sizes and fabrics that sit together to enhance the furniture and hard finishes within a room. Use a variety of different textures and colours to complete the interior and draw the eye around the room. However, the hues and tones must be within a carefully selected colour palette that unifies the room scheme as a whole.
Depending on the ambiance you wish to create, there can be a series of different scales of pattern. A large, medium and small-scale print will produce an interesting and well-balanced cushion arrangement combined with solid-coloured fabrics. Too many patterns, however, can dominate an interior. Rather than opting for bold choices, using subtle layers is a perfect harmony between small detail and vibrant textures.
Mix and match
In the Algarve, it can be fun to create a nautical theme. Use plains, different organic textures and cushions with nautical scenes such as lighthouses and sea gulls; there is a lot to choose from. Fun throw pillows are the best way to add unexpected whimsy to your design scheme through playful patterns and colours. They can also help tie all the other elements of the room together.
A couple of the cushions should be multicolour and act as the link for your colour story, and the remainder can be individual examples of one or two of the colours in your design scheme.
If you prefer, the cushions don’t need to match at all for a less decorated and more organic look. That being said, they should all be complementary and work together.
Play with scale when selecting your patterns – some large, small and textural patterns that act as solids. As a rule, on a two-metre sofa, you should have a minimum of three pillows and a maximum of five. If the sofa gets longer than that, you can add two more. And while it might seem counterintuitive, an odd number of pillows actually creates a better sense of balance and more interest than an even number.
For a cushion to last outside, you need to ensure that it is UV resistant, or UV and water resistant, and has a zip closure.
Now you can go wild as here’s a place that you can really pop the colour; plain cushions in hot colours teamed with mixed colours, parrots, palm trees, flowers… Or take that nautical look if you are overlooking the sea. Outside cushions really help sell that property too. Improve those first impressions at a very low cost.
And don’t forget to add some colourful or textured throws, too, to keep you warm as the sun goes down.
By Karen Love
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