Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Quick and Easy Interior Design Tips - Week One Cushions

1. My living room cushions in a blue and white theme

I spend many hours in my home, both living and working, so I like to keep my d├ęcor fresh and interesting and often make changes. I am not talking about expensive changes with furniture items but smaller cost changes such as cushions, decorative items, lamps, rugs or artwork. Over the next few weeks we are going to look at how little changes can make a big impact in your home and how to achieve a designer look without spending a lot of money.

When we look at a fabulous room which has been designed by a professional, what is it that makes the room stand out. One of the most noticeable stand outs, is the use of pattern, colour and texture and one of the simplest ways to introduce this is using decorative cushions. Even if your home is a neutral palette of linens in beige or greige, you can still introduce pattern in subtle shades for more impact. The power a group of patterned cushions has on a room may surprise you. I have discussed the impact pattern and colour has on a neutral background, in a previous post, 'Take One White Sofa - Creative Ideas To Bring Colour Into Your Home', which you may want to read later.

Cushions can be found in abundance on line or in shops but be careful when choosing on line as you may find that the designer print is only on the front of the cushion and the reverse is plain. I personally like my cushions to be the same front and back as you can flip them around if one gets a mark on it.  The easiest way to get exactly what you want is to have them made up and this is what I normally do myself. I usually buy my fabrics as end of line designer fabrics, then have them cut and sewn by Curtainalia and Bel Cuscino who also provide the feather inners. Kaye can source materials for you or you can supply your own. My designer look cushions cost me half the price than if I bought in a high street design store, yet I achieve the same quality product and the satisfaction they are exclusive to me.

2. Above: A neutral sofa with a mix of cushions from designer, Caitlin Wilson. If the owner of this Dubai apartment wanted to make changes in the future, the lamps could be replaced and the colours of the cushions could then be changed. Simply swapping out one of the patterns for a new design, would also create a new look.

3. Above: Contrasting patterns in the same colour palette -  Design - MBG Interiors.

4. Above: Tobi Fairley Interior Design

5. Above: Don't be afraid to use a bold, bright colour -  Designer Caitlin Wilson

6. Above: Colour and pattern bring life to a contemporary, neutral background by Arent & Pyke
7. Above: A recent design project. I selected fabrics in a similar shade and introduced some pattern and colour inspired by the clients choice of artwork. Cushions made by Curtainalia & Bel Cuscino
8. Above: Use a similar design (in this case Ikat) in contrasting colours in an otherwise neutral space to add colour - Image via BHG

Cushion Tips:
  • Unless you have allergies, purchase feather or goose down inners for quality, they plump up easily and they will be more comfortable as they mould to your body better. Leaving feather cushions in the sunlight for a few hours will freshen them and make them easier to plump.
  • Look for Designer fabrics at end of line prices or in sales. In NZ Marthas Fabrics are a great source for curtain and cushion fabric and they will send out samples through their on-line website.
  • Never 'guess' a colour, there are hundreds of shades of one colour. Take blue for example, there are baby blues that are as clear as the sky, or duck egg blue which has a hint of green in it, blue greens, blue greys, lavender blue etc, so always ask for a swatch of fabric to take it home to compare with surrounding colours or take a cushion cover with you if you are trying to co-ordinate other designs to work with it. I often remove a pillow cover and take it shopping with me if I am trying to match a colour or co-ordinate my new fabric with a cushion I already have.
  • For a designer look don't match all your cushions, select fabrics  of the same colour way but in different designs (see images above). You could also pipe a plain linen with a material used in one of your cushions or pick out an accent colour as I did in the project in image 7, where I chose to pipe a plain cushion with yellow picked out from the floral cushion.
  • Try to add texture to one or two cushions such as adding a matt velvet or piping a natural linen with a coloured velvet or maybe even using 'faux' animal print or sheepskin.
  • If you are handy with a sewing machine, don't rule out making your own cushions. I have added a couple of links below to simple tutorials.
  • Not that I am following this particular trend myself, however, it is popular to use cushions/pillows on your bed in differing sizes and patterns. Simply place them in random order not symmetrical. Dee and Darren's bedroom (below) from 'The Block' used different size cushions and pillows in velvet and linen. The overall look is one of less formality, a little more relaxed than arranging them symmetrically.

9. Above: A winning room from 'The Block' by Dee and Darren. Soft, muted velvet cushions and linen make this room wonderfully serene - you can shop these products here.
11. Above: Neutral but far from boring cushions in this Boho style Hawaii apartment - Photography Ashley Camper

Cushion Tutorials:
Easy envelope cushion tutorial at Six Sisters Stuff

I hope this post has inspired you to be a little more adventurous with your cushions. You might want to update your bedroom or living room and this is the simplest way to create a new look with little expense. Next week we will look at more ways to enhance your home with subtle changes.

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  1. Great post Caroline, I'm just about to buy some more cushions to my living room and even being a designer myself, I always seek for inspirations and advice.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, I am glad you were inspired, would love to see your living room once you have your new cushions. I am currently sorting out ones for my bedroom since I have changed my duvet but finding the right fabrics has been difficult.

  2. Great post. Cushions can really change your look. I am trying to think of some cushions for my bedroom as well. Still looking.

    1. Thanks Bev, yes cushions are the quickest way to update a room. If you want more ideas, head over to my Pinterest page on cushions. Or look at my bedroom ideas on Pinterest, there is a link on my side bar, otherwise try this:

  3. Great tips! My living room is lacking in style thanks to a combination of my stuff and my boyfriends (i hate his couch!) but I think some nice new pillows will add some pizazz and style.

    1. Thanks Meg, I am glad the post inspired you to pretty up your boyfriend's couch. You could allso maybe cover the couch with a linen bed throw.

  4. Excellent tips.I am so glad for sharing blog.custom made Banquette Sofa in uae We offer a range of Fabrics and Styles for making new Custom sofas which includes free Design Service and Delivery. Call us at +971 4 338 6255

    1. Thank you Kristan for your comment re the tips, however I haven't removed your comment but it is good etiquette not to advertise business addresses/phone numbers on blog comments...just for next time :).


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