Cushions: how to style and care for them

Cushions: how to style and care for them

Scatter cushions can add instant cosiness and colour to a room on a minimal budget. Whether used on a sofa or bed, the right cushion can add a special finishing touch to your room, as well as being functional by increasing comfort. In this blog we outline some top tips for choosing and styling your cushions.

  1. Cushion filling: when choosing cushions it's good to balance function and style. Consider what the cushion is stuffed with, i.e. feathers and down versus synthetic material such as foam, as this affects how the cushion holds it shape and how squishy it is. If the cushions are purely aesthetic, i.e on an occasional chair that it rarely sat on, or on a bed, you may want to opt for a firmer filling so that it doesn't need plumping as often.
  2. To match or not to match? This totally depends on the style of the room and where the cushions will be placed. If your space has lots of muted neutral tones, you could use cushions that are deeper tones of those neutrals to create a soothing effect. Alternatively, you could use colours that contrast with the sofa or bed linen. For example, bright cushions on a beige or grey sofa can be striking and dramatic because it creates more visual interest.
Interior designer Lorna Macleod ( gives us her top cushion styling tips: "Cushion shopping is one of my favourite pastimes. I’m constantly watching new styles and searching for the next design for me to fall in love with.

I prefer a down filling so it can be given a plump and a “chop”, to create a more comfortable and fashionable look; giving depth to a sofa or bed, making it look more inviting.

Mixing patterns and colours can add interest to not only the furniture but the overall room. I have been known to base a whole room around a gorgeous cushion find. It may just have a tone or beautiful pattern that I can’t resist. Mixing stripes, florals, spots, all creates depth and style.

I generally go for layering with cushions. Whether on a chair, sofa or bed. If it’s a small occasional chair like a dressing table chair, one striking cushion dresses and shows off a chair, but on a bed or sofa, layering is key.

Top tip: Don’t be scared to throw in a quirky cushion or two either! They can create a talking point!

Cushions are a great, cost effective way to change up a room instantly! There are lots of independent retailers and chains that sell gorgeous cushion covers to suit all different budgets. So rather than spend on new cushions, just recover them!"
3. How many cushions to use: a standard sized sofa should have up to three cushions to avoid looking cluttered. For a larger sofa such as a corner unit, up to six is fine. For a bed, between 3 and 5 cushions of varying sizes is good, though think about how many you want to have to put away before you can get into bed every night- and how many to arrange every morning!
4. How to arrange your cushions- for a more formal arrangement, you can follow the 2-1-2 rule: (from left to right) cushion A, cushion B, cushion C (usually smaller), cushion B, cushion A. For something less formal, arrange the cushions to one end of the sofa, perhaps adding a throw to further soften the look.
5. How to plump cushions: when your cushions start to sag and look uneven, it's time to get plumping. Hold your cushion out flat in front of you and squeeze it together and pull apart a few times, rotate it and repeat on the other side to get the filling to move and resettle in a more plumped position. Ideally, you need to plump your cushions daily so they keep their shape- if your house is anything like mine, you'll be picking your cushions up off the floor everyday anyway when the kids have thrown them around, so a quick plump when putting them all back into place will do.
6. Cleaning your cushions: if your cushion has a washable filling, you should wash them between 2 and 4 times a year, follow the instructions on the care label to avoid a washing machine full of feathers! When dry, give them a good plumping to get them back into shape, as you may find with some filling such as down that the filling has clumped together.
7. How to recycle cushions: if you are redecorating and looking to replace your cushions you have a few options:
    • Swap out the cover- if the cushion pad is still in good condition, wash and dry it and replace with a new cushion cover that suits your new decor
    • Relocate- consider whether there are any other rooms in the house where the cushion could be used, e.g. a guest bedroom, occasional chair on the landing, pet bed
    • Donate- some charities will accept soft furnishings
    • Recycle- check with your local authority for information on where you can recycle fabrics

Happy plumping!

Cushion featured above can be found here.

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