How To

Decorating with Cushions – Beds, Chairs, Sofas & More

Decorating with Cushions – Beds, Chairs, Sofas & More

Cushions can add life, comfort and colour to any number of seating options, and are a staple when you’re decorating your home. But, with so many styles, patterns and textures out there, finding the perfect fit is easier said than done. And, what are the rules around decorating with cushions? How many is too many? What about mixing colours, or more controversially, mixing patterns?

If you’ve ever asked yourself one or all of these questions, this guide is a must-read. Learn everything you need to know about styling your home with cushions and pillows, from the couch to your outdoor lounge and everything in between.

Where your cushions will go is a big factor in determining the type of cushions you select.
Where your cushions will go is a big factor in determining the type of cushions you select.
Where your cushions will go is a big factor in determining the type of cushions you select.
Where your cushions will go is a big factor in determining the type of cushions you select.

Where will your cushions go?

Before you begin the process of picking out some gorgeous throw pillows, you should determine their placement, and which piece/s of furniture they’ll be adorning (and adding cosiness to). After all, this will determine the type of cushions you select, as well as their look and feel, and how many you decide to use.

Cushions for the bed

Throw pillows are mostly used on the bed for decorative purposes, however they can certainly heighten its comfort, too. Many people like to layer between two and six cushions on their beds to create a detailed and dimensional look. If you love to lounge around, then your choice of bed cushions should also be super cosy. It’s a good idea to play with different sizes here, as you may like to prop yourself up with a larger option in a similar scale to a European. Your decorative cushions should pair, of course, with your two to four bed pillows, whether you choose traditional sizes or a regular pillow and Euro combination.

Cushions for couches and armchairs

The pillows you select to adorn a couch or armchair should add some extra comfort, as well as playing with colour and style to establish a multidimensional look that’s an extension of your interiors style. Because these pieces are usually a single colour, your sofa cushions provide a way to include accent hues and introduce some subtle (or bold, if that’s your vibe) patterns. For a small armchair, select one fun, statement-making cushion and let it do all the talking. On a bigger sofa, however, you’ll have more room to go wild and show off your personality. The cushions for your couch should be varied, highlighting key accent colours in the space and offering more than enough comfort for multiple guests.

Outdoor cushions

Finally, cushions for outdoor chairs are more utilitarian than anything, providing a practical way to increase the comfort of your furniture pieces that’s still durable and sustainable. As a result, you’ll find these pieces are made of sturdy fabrics, often similar to the upholstery of an outdoor sofa or armchair, and come in an array of sizes to suit different items. Include one on every wooden outdoor dining chair for max comfort, or add a couple to your sofa in a contrasting colour to liven up the space. As well as traditional cushions, you might select flat alternatives as bench cushions for additional support when seated.

Going totally neutral: a popular style choice.
Going totally neutral: a popular style choice.
Going totally neutral: a popular style choice.
Going totally neutral: a popular style choice.

Find your style

Aside from contributing lots of comfort, cushions are all about enhancing your style. We’ve rounded up some top tips for selecting cushions as decor for your bedroom or living room, including colour, texture, shape and arrangement. The one thing to keep in mind throughout the entire process of finding beautiful new pillows, though, is your home’s interior design style. Try to tie your cushions in with the rest of the room, and undoubtedly, your whole house, by selecting like-minded colours and patterns that heighten, rather than detract from, the aesthetic you’ve so carefully established.

Select an accent colour

In many rooms, you’ll have an overarching colour scheme comprised of neutrals, including white, brown, grey, black and cream, paired with one or two accent colours. Use your favourite bold accent shade and scatter it across your choice of cushions for a cohesive look that’ll bring the space to life. If you plan on having a few cushions on a couch or bed, you might opt for varying shades of the one colour, or to let your accent hue pop and create contrast paired against some neutral pillows.

Go totally neutral

If you prefer a minimalist or earthy look, try a variety of neutral tones instead. Pairing clean colours (white, black) with more natural shades (brown, ochre, and olive green) will create a layered ‘pillow-scape’ that can be easily adapted to grow with your styling over time. This colour palette is an excellent accompaniment to a Scandinavian or coastal home.

Or opt for bright and bold

Of course, if colour’s your thing, who are we to tell you not to go for it? Splash vibrant, bright tones all over your choice of cushions to draw the eye and add some visual excitement. Depending on the colour of your couch, you may choose to have a central ‘anchor’ colour that you then juxtapose with a variety of complementary tones, or just to play it fast and loose – it’s all up to you.

Play with textures

A fantastic (and easy!) way to give your cushion styling some dimension is to rely on texture. While a bunch of plain, grey cushions on a grey couch might fade right into the background, textured grey cushions would make this monochromatic look stand out. Even if you are going all out with colour, varying textures will create differentiation and depth, bringing your sofa or bed to the fore in the room. Mix traditional, fuss-free cottons with velvet, wool, boucle, tassels and tufting, jacquard and more – there’s no right or wrong way; only what looks and feels good to you!

Mix up your shapes

A bunch of cushions all in the same shape and style can get very boring quite quickly. So, if you’re looking to mix up your cushion decor a little, differing your shapes is key. A typical throw pillow is square and roughly 18”x18”, but that’s not the only option out there. Try a rectangular lumbar pillow stacked against a classic shape and style, or introduce a fun circular pillow with a button centre (otherwise known as a bolster cushion) for a whimsical vibe.

Pare it back

Sometimes the best designs are the simplest, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your cushion possibilities, don’t be afraid to turn down the volume, so to speak, and simplify your style. For an ‘elevated basics’ look, take two or three cushions in the same colour, material and shape – preferably something reliable, like a square, white or cream linen – and add one accent pillow for a little spice. Using this foundation, add a Hamptons cushion in ocean blue tones to recreate this luxe yet beachy aesthetic, or instead, a textured boucle pillow in white or black to incorporate texture into a modern contemporary room.

Try a maximalist look

Of course, simplicity doesn’t jibe with everyone’s tastes – perhaps you’re more of a ‘maximalist’! This look is easy to achieve with cushions, but the real task is ensuring you’re hammering home this aesthetic without going overboard. Instead of adding more and more cushions, try to create tonnes of variety with the cushions’ styles, shapes and colours. Boho cushions in bright shades and paisley patterns can all be hugely different, yet still work well together.

Have fun with patterns

Cushions come in so many gorgeous patterns – adding one, or even a few, into your styling will brighten up your couch or bed, and ensure your setup is totally unique to you. If you’re all about the maximalist trend, mix stripes, spots, checks, swirls, florals, houndstooths and more for a visually intriguing look that, when done correctly, can all come together in a cohesive way. For those of us who are a little more conservative, one or two patterns in a similar colour scheme is sure to do the trick.

We have some expert tips to keep your cushions looking great and staying in top condition.
We have some expert tips to keep your cushions looking great and staying in top condition.
We have some expert tips to keep your cushions looking great and staying in top condition.
We have some expert tips to keep your cushions looking great and staying in top condition.

The practicalities of cushion styling

Once you’ve really nailed down the look and feel of your cushions, the hard part is certainly behind you – but there are still a few things to consider. With aesthetics all figured out, be sure to do everything in your power to keep your cushions looking great and in top condition so that your styling lasts.

Change your cushion covers

Something to remember when styling with cushions is that the visual elements you see on the outside are almost always changeable. 99 percent of throw pillows consist of a cushion insert with a cushion cover zipped over the top, the latter being the beautiful, colourful ‘skin’ you see day-to-day. So, next time you’re a little bored with your cushions, instead of throwing the whole thing away, invest in new cushion covers. These are also great to keep on stand-by, whether you foresee yourself wanting to switch up your aesthetic, or just need to cope with spills and care routines.

Keep them looking good

Speaking of cushion care, while these are decor items, they aren’t exempt from needing a little TLC – just like your favourite furniture pieces. How you clean and care for your throw pillows will depend almost entirely on the material they’re made out of, but day-to-day, there are a few things you can do to keep them looking schmick. When you vacuum next, switch out the long attachment for a small and gentle handheld head that you can carefully run over the cushion to remove dust and fluff. If you spill something, most materials can handle a very gentle spot clean with dish soap and warm water.

Create a lived-in look

Whatever your style of choice, no one likes their throw pillows looking too perfect. That’s where a few of our expert cushion fluffing techniques come in! This will give them a lived-in yet polished look to suit any room and home. One technique is the ‘side squeeze’ (a highly technical term…) wherein you take both sides of the pillow and almost shake them inwards to fluff the pillow. Once fluffed, you can use the ‘karate chop’ down the centre of the pillow to add a natural crease.

The icing on top of the cake that is your sofa, bed or armchair, throw pillows and cushions are an essential piece of decor in every home. They not only add comfort, but are a crucial styling piece that can completely transform the look and feel of a room, using colours, textures, patterns and shapes. Browse bedroom and living room furniture and decor, including seating and stunning cushions, at Brosa now.

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Now you have your cushions sorted,read some tips from our expert style team with advice on what you’ll be putting your cushions on! From outdoor, to living room sofa, to bedroom, Brosa is here to help.