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Basic cushions

Cushions can be roughly divided into two types those that fit a given space and those that lead a more nomadic existence the ubiquitous scatter cushion. The former category, usually ‘box’ cushions, are made to a specific size, dictated by the space between the arms and back of a sofa or chair, or the dimensions of a flat wooden bench top or window seat. The latter group can be of all shapes and sizes and their domain is infinitely varied. These padded, plumped discs and squares of piped, fringed and braided colour can sometimes, surprisingly, be the single element that gives balance and focus to a room or piece of furniture. The eye darts about in a room, settling on pattern, texture and colour, so a small cushion or pile of cushions can attract and become a link between otherwise unrelated items.

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Mixing different surfaces, materials and textiles in one space is exciting. For example, adding a pair of square cushions in a fake This beautiful wooden bench needs only the simplest of decoration. A box cushion covering the upholstered base offers softer seating, and a row of substantial square cushions in cool, creamy white fabric makes a simple, uncluttered and stylish addition to the piece as well as providing further comfort.

Leopard skin against a cool backdrop of neutral off-white and beige linen inspires a flight of fantasy that could make bringing ornate gilt and black lacquer furniture into the room acceptable, whereas before it might otherwise have been rejected. Against the same backdrop, imagine a pile of cushions made of rich tapestries, old tangled fringes and near-faded silks in a warm mix of red, ochre and terracotta, and you have a completely different atmosphere.

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