Plump up the volume with vibrant cushions!
EVER since we first took to decorating our rooms and homes, it was generally understood that cushions were a sign of wealth: the more of them, the greater the opulence.
They may have been a sign of full coffers in the past, but they’ve certainly come in various guises since the fabric-covered ceramic headrests that the Chinese used until the early 20th century.
But it was the Greek and Roman civilisations that began to transform cushions into items of comfortable opulence, meaning grass, reeds, straw and feathers were introduced as fillers, allowing a true sense of
‘cushioning’ to occur. Cushions are the kings of soft furnishings. From bolsters and oversized, oblongs, squares and triangles, to mini ones, scatter, furry and bean bags, we are spoilt for choice.
While there are expensive ones to be found on the market, such as India Jane’s Sandowne cushion, £75, ( indiajane.co.uk) Andrew Martin’s velvet Mohave Red, £99, ( andrewmartin. co. uk) or the Lawn Cushion by Eleanor Pritchard, £132 at Heal’s ( heals.
com), there are many handsome varieties that are far cheaper. Topsy by Habitat ( habitat.co.
uk) at £11 and the Rosanna Blush cushion at Laura Ashley, £27, ( lauraashley.com) are just two examples. But why is there such demand for all colours and sizes of cushions? ‘ When carefully styled, cushions in particular are a great way to harmonise different aspects of the environment,’ says Hannah Edwards, homebuyer at Heal’s, whose new collection features cushions that pay homage to the influential Bauhaus movement.
‘A bright motif will quickly pull together contrasting colours within more eclectic spaces, while tactile fabrics can lift neutral settings to create a more inviting look,’ she adds.
SOFT furnishings are ultimately designed to offer comfort while bringing a quick, effortless and low- cost style refresh to interiors. Certain settings aren’t complete without the simple addition of cushions. Bedrooms become much more sumptuous through layering of soft furnishings.
They are also clever little things; the right combination of soft furnishings will act in much the same way a piece of jewellery might on an otherwise drab outfit.
An ancient sofa can be left in all
its tattered antiquity and yet be dressed up by a row of handsome cushions, while equally, a new sofa or armchair can have its look further boosted by the right accessory.
Then there’s the personalisation element. There might be blue and pink beanbags designated for children’s rooms, or handstitched monogrammed square cushions to mark births, birthdays or age milestones. Koko Blossom ( kokoblossom.com) personalise children’s cushions with names, birthdays and birth weights.
Other cushions might even be personalised with an uploaded photograph — they let us play with the design of our own homes.
‘The beauty of throws, cushions and blankets is that they can easily be removed, so go to town with your textures, the more expressive the better,’ says Jane Rockett, who runs interiors emporium Rockett St George ( rockettstgeorge.co.uk) with Lucy St George.
‘By focusing on your accessories, from adding a vibrant pop of colour to the cosy armchair in the corner, to introducing layers of playful pattern and texture to a more subtle sofa, the room can be transformed without having to pick up a paintbrush. Whether you are a maximalist like us or you prefer a more refined and understated look, in our opinion, a home simply isn’t a home without these cosy elements and finishing touches.’
Of late, Rockett St George’s exclusive designs have included oil painting-influenced art.
‘Pairing our love of velvet with all things leopard, the Two Leopards Velvet Cushion [£55] is a super striking design and ideal for giving minimalist decor a chic uplift and darker interiors a dose of highfashion, rock-star style.
‘ Our new Summer Flowers cushion [£55] is inspired by iconic floral oil paintings from the Dutch masters. We designed it with a luxe, vintage feel that pairs perfectly with ochre yellow velvet — one of our favourite trends of the last year that is still going strong,’ adds Jane Rockett.
Cushions can be often overlooked, when they in fact transform a room fairly inexpensively.
‘They are impactful, texturally pleasing and guaranteed to add drama to your interiors,’ she adds. ‘A statement cushion or throw should never be underrated.’
Eclectic: A bright sitting room by Geraldine Tan from The Little Big Bell,