A lot of people still see a throw cushion as one of two things.
No. 1- something so flat and lifeless, like a piece of Weetabix wrapped in ten-year-old suede. It very probably came with their rented flat and so they’re scared to chuck it out for fears on moving out the landlord will charge them £300 for it.
No. 2- An inexplicably expensive gaudy, frilly and completely over-the-top ‘decorative’ item that their mum buys to jazz up the DFS sofas she’s had since you were a toddler.
But I am here to tell you lads you’re all wrong. If you walk into your home and sigh at the state of it, with the dreary beige walls stained from years of tenants before you this is a sign you may need to do a wee bit of redecoration.
The idea of home being where the heart is, for me, is something I’ve subscribed to more and more as the years have gone on. I moved around a hella lot when I was younger and let me tell you, having a home all of my own, decorated with my things and my memories (minus those awful rental sofas but I’m working on it…) is quite amazing. Home should be a place you want to stay in, a place to chill with friends or by yourself. A place you smile upon entering, and a place, when you’re having a shit day at work or a shit night out, you fantasise about returning too.
The reason I’ve chosen cushions as the start of my decorative home series is because they are the easiest way to change the whole colour scheme and aesthetic of your living room, which is, for the majority of most people, the room where you spend the most time (awake). Basically, a few artfully positioned cushions in the same material or colour scheme can give your room a whole new glow.
In terms of aesthetics, if you’d happily post a pic of your home on Instagram with a million hashtags, I’d say you’re in a good place. If not, get reading.
I’m not saying the secret to inner happiness is a cushion, but it’s a pretty good place to start.
I’ve taken a look at the world wide web for y’all and have pulled some of the best (reasonably priced) pieces for you to peruse. I’ve also put some tips on general styling down at the bottom, if you’re feeling completely clueless.
Ah, the classic Ikea cushion. My parents (who are actually quite fashionable when it comes to interiors, except for the legs on sofas and tables, where I have broken the same toe TWICE walking into them) have three of these beauties. So comfortable and I love the velvet. Plus, because of the simple and monochromatic design, they match most other cushions and interiors!
£29, set of two, Made.com
Perfect to start with, these Julius cushions come in a range of fashionable colours including Millennial pink and Mustard, which are my two favourite colours (and probably going to be the names of my first two kids). Also loving the dusky, deep blue! Add more patterns and textures to really build up that aesthetic. Velvet is perfect for a bit of luxury.
£30, Oliver Bonas
Okay, so, after doing hefty research, it seems £30 is the benchmark for a ‘bog standard, good quality statement cushion’. Which doesn’t seem too bad, considering I’m still using two I’ve had for longer than I care to admit (I packed them in my moving-out suitcase when I went to uni, yes, I know, I had my priorities set). I also go weak at the knees for anything to do with the moon and constellations, so this one (and the one below) were musts for this list.
£30, Oliver Bonas
Constellations. ‘Nuff said.
£35, John Lewis & Partners
Oh gosh I’ve seen this in real life and lemme tell ya, the pictures do. Not. Do. The. Colours. Justice. It’s a beautiful, natural ombre of the brightest yet somehow subtlest colours. This would be perfect if you want to be adventurous and add some colour but have no idea where to start.
Various, West Elm
Okay, so, I feel like no bed or living room is complete without one of these puppies. Yes, the pink one by itself is a bit too Paris Hilton for most people, but if you add it into the right mix of cushions, it can be the perfect conversation starter. Made of real Mongolian Lambswool, they are the softest, most heavenly pieces to place your behind on. The grey is probably the most versatile and will go with most themes, but don’t be afraid of a little bit of pink or blue. (At the time of writing, the blue is no longer available online but I’ve seen it in stores)
£20, John Lewis and Partners
A subtle pattern is the best way to add it in if you’re not sure how; this one is adorable as they look like spots at a distance then you see the pattern close up. Cheetahs and safari-themed items are very in at the moment, just take a look at all the leopard print in shops.
£25, John Lewis and Partners
You know that pencilly print that was on paper cups and stuff in the 80s and 90s? In that shade of turquoise and purple? Yeah, that print had a son and he is in style. I’ve seen lots of squiggles everywhere in a range of colours but this one seems the best reasonably priced one around. It’s also featuring a lot on stationary, bedding and even clothing, so it’s an easy way to tie your home together. Also, note how it’s mostly white with only a few colours on it. Another easy way to add a pattern in without being too over the top.
I am very conscious that I have not yet added in a geometric patterned cushion, as I have seen them everywhere recently. I love them, but it’s all about finding one with a pattern you like in a colour scheme that compliments your home. Take a look on made.com and the other shops I’ve put below to find your own treasure.
£40, John Lewis & Partners
This berber style is all the rage at the moment- probably every single blogger I follow has the rug of this under their coffee table (and maybe, one day, if I don’t spend all my money on midi skirts, I can do the same). It’s plush and fuzzy and has lots of texture without being too over-the-top (if you winced a bit at the Mongolian Lambswool cushion, this one might be for you) and the pattern is as pretty subtle as you can get.
Again, another basic staple for your sofa, but one that is so, incredibly versatile, I challenge you to find one cushion that won’t go with it! It also comes in 6 different colours, so you can correspond with your home.
Check out these websites for more!
And, if you have a bit of cash to splash, https://www.heals.com/home-accessories/soft-furnishings/cushions.html
Note: All prices correct at the time of writing, however please be aware some prices may not include the inner and may be for the cover only!
And now, the rules (but, if I’m honest, they are only really loose guidelines. Do what ya like! At the end of the day, be happy and make your home your happy place)
Rule 1. NO MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES
Please. You are not Barbara, 52, from Essex. You do not have a ‘dream, laugh, live’ wall sticker. Your sofas are not pleather. You don’t need a cushion to tell you how to live your life.
Rule 2. Start from the bottom and work your way up
Start with a couple of block colours in your colour scheme and work your way out from there. Choose a couple more with basic patterns in corresponding colours (grey basic cushions? Add cushions with elements of grey in) then a couple of interesting/textured ones in either contrasting or complimentary colours. If you have purple walls, don’t be afraid to throw a bit of purple in there. Pull in colours from the whole room!
Rule 3. Don’t be afraid to clash patterns
I have a couple of geometric ones and one with bunnies on it, because why not! Because they are all monochromatic, it works! Don’t be afraid to do the same. If you’re confused, head to a shop and don’t be afraid to lay them all out and see what works. Ask the sales associate for advice too, they know their stuff! (But please, having once been that sales associate, put them back to where they were when you’re done)
Rule 4. Stick to a clear colour scheme and don’t deviate
If you want it to be aesthetically pleasing as possible, stick to a clear theme. Botanicals are really in at the moment, like lots of lush green palm leaves and such. Stick to them and a matching colour scheme, don’t randomly add it a bright blue beaded one.
Rule 5. Don’t overflow the seating area. You want to sit, not suffocate.
I find 4-5 to be the maximum on a 3 seater that works. However, if your sofas are like mine and came with the flat and are so uncomfortable you feel like you’re getting haemorrhoids from sitting on it for too long, don’t be afraid to add more, just try not to overdo it. You’ll know when you see it- if it looks too much like your nans house, maybe take a couple off and throw them on the bed or in the cupboard for emergencies (like when you spill a whole glass of red wine down a white Mongolian lambswool one… here’s looking at you, drunk Ciara)
Rule 6. It’s what’s inside that counts
A good, fluffy, feather pillow to curl up with on a lazy Saturday evening is worlds away from the Weetabix interior of your old rental cushion. Invest in a good inner for your pillow and your back (and crack) will be eternally grateful. Check out this one at Ikea!
Rule 7. Show some personality! Don’t just copy it off the ad you’ve seen on the tube, half-dead on your way to work
At the end of the day, your home should be a reflection on yourself and your personality. I’ve always enjoyed looking at friends’ bedrooms as a kid and later friends’ houses as an adult, because I find it’s a perfect way to get to know a person instantly, with their choices in literature, DVDs and home decoration (or lack of) all coming together to form a pretty decent picture of what someone is like. Does that make sense or do I sound like some kinda freak?
Your choice in cushions should reflect this! If you like the colour pink, stick some pink in there! If you like dogs, why not add in a fun patterned dog one! Also, you don’t want to be coming home every evening to a living room display that you hate. If you’re a 25-year-old bachelor, don’t go for the lilac glittery cushions. Unless that’s your thing.
So, dear readers, go forth and decorate your home!
Lots of love,