A captivating cushion (or cushions) maketh a room! In 2024, interior decorators are revering ‘meaningful’ interiors; ones where the vibrant spirit of a place is told through clever design narratives. It’s all about customisation, character and conversation and the hero cushion – whose original aim was simply to add plump and comfort – plays a pivotal role in bringing to life the story of your unique life and style.
As the personality accessory du jour, the cushion cover is a stand-out and decorative finishing touch that sets the mood for a room thanks to its spellbinding pattern, lush colourway, eye-catching shape, or touch-me texture and trimming. All without breaking the proverbial bank balance.
Ready yourself for an exciting exploration of the impact of a new cushion cover on your room schemes and the looks to reach for now and through the seasons. Plus, we share the secrets to choosing the right colour and fabric type, the right size and the right arrangement for the ultimate cushion cover scape.
The impact of cushion cover designs
Visual appeal and mood enhancement are your two overarching aims when starting out on your cushion decision journey. You want a cushion curation to instantly inject the essence of you and your style into a room design scheme.
Primarily, you’ll be choosing cushions to layer onto sofas, banquettes, window seats, armchairs and beds. Consider the room, its style, form and function. A good rule of thumb is to look at already-there colour cues in the surrounding space. You can draw out inspiration from these for cohesion. Cast your eye over the predominant paint colour, wallcovering or upholstery as a starting point. Then seek out alluring cushion cover designs – pictorial, ikat, floral, spot and stripe, geometric – that echo those colours. Just like an evocative piece of art, a cushion cover’s pattern will elevate the atmosphere, as shown here by Kimono Dreams Blaze Cushion, a glamorous Japanese-influenced velvet cushion in blue and red that perfectly echoes the handsome surrounding aesthetics.
Cushion covers are a brilliant carrier for patterns and are a savvy way to echo the architecture of a room, your furniture choice or a colour. Aim your gaze at these kudos suggestions that will also stand the test of time…
Repeating patterns are loved by the human eye thanks to their repetitive nature. Lines, squares, rectangles, curves or waves can be combined in endless contemporary combinations to create powerful covers that add movement and are exciting to live with. The bohemian geometric nature of Java Lotus Velvet Cushion (shown), for instance, has the power to soften the hard lines on a minimalist sofa or add vivid colour to a neutral banquette.
Florals, botanicals and nature-themed designs are a perennial cushion cover choice and bring a relaxed sense of place to a room. Draw inspiration from a window view to blur the line between exterior and interior. It could be the colour of a coastal sky, a depiction of a native tree or a much-loved garden flower. Choose rhythmic and quiet cushion cover designs for an easy-to-live with vibe, such as the marine-style trail of Magic Lantern Sea Holly Cushion (shown) or Hester Pink Green Cushion with its charmingly drawn oak leaves.
Loose abstract designs will always liven up a space that’s lacking in pace. Conceptual and expressive in shape, form and colour, these brushstroke designs create a visually stimulating composition for cushion covers. Playful looks such as Crystal Velvet Sunset Cushion (shown), based on the work of landscape artist John Nash, are a clever way to apply bold colour and energy to a sofa or bed and is easily complemented by plain cushions.
Playing with colour combinations
Not sure how to achieve the perfect cushion cover colour grouping? The colour wheel (easily found on the internet) is an easy way to understand how to ensure a mood-enhancing cushion arrangement. Choose one of the following combinations and, regardless of the patterns you use, you’ll accomplish a new cushion look that’s pleasing to the eye…
Complementary colours are those that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. For example, red and green; blue and orange; yellow and purple. By choosing two opposites, you are ensuring a high contrast colour outcome that will pulse together happily. Plain cushions, such as the Elba Linen (shown above), in a myriad of colour choices, is a good way to explore combining.
Colours that sit adjacent to each other on the colour wheel are harmonious. Choose one colour and the two that sit each side of it, such as yellow, yellow-green, green. The result will be an spectrum of balanced and congenial cushion covers as shown with Close Encounters and the plain cushions that ground the arrangement.
Monochromatic colour schemes use different shades of the same colour. It’s an easy one to master and results in a polished and refined look for cushion covers that also allows you to experiment with light and dark shades of your chosen colour.
Cushions are crucial for changing the atmosphere of a room throughout the calendar year. Accessorise seating areas with lighter and cooler tones in the warmer months; go darker and richer in the colder ones. Think not just about colour but also the fabric types and textures. Opt into airy linens and cottons for spring and summer; weightier wools, wovens and velvets for autumn and winter.
Here’s a whistle stop cushion guide to help you refresh rooms with the seasons…
Light, pastel hues and floral patterns are a match made in heaven for a spring-inspired look. Represent the colours of the season in your cushion choices with sky blues, garden greens, daffodil yellows and blossom pinks. The stylised stripe of Garden Gate Clover Cushion (shown) peps up a window seat or armchair perfectly.
Vivid and intense colours can be introduced as the sun becomes stronger. Deep sea cobalt, hot pepper reds and sunshine yellow are good additions as temperatures rise. The Square Ruffle Cobalt Cushion (shown) is the epitome of Greek holiday climes and times.
Warmth of autumn
Explore earthy tones for shorter days and longer nights. Ginger, paprika and chestnut are the change-of-season colour tones to seek out. The vibe at this time is for cosy and snug atmospheres that are all about staying in. Elaborately illustrated cushion designs, such as Chitgar Ginger Biscuit Cushion (shown), made good companions on movie night sofas and snuggle seats.
Reach for the claret reds, forest greens or snow greys for a winter-themed ambience that will warm up cool spaces. With a nod to the festive holidays, block print cushions such as Khiva Rose Cushion (shown) or Rubia Garnet Cushion will revitalise sitting rooms and entertaining areas for visiting guests.
Not all of us may have the time, the inclination or the budget to be updating cushions on a quarterly basis. At transitional times, there are cost-effective and ingenious ways to ring the changes...
Firstly, explore timeless cushion cover designs that seamlessly transition between seasons – double-sided coloured plains for instance that can be instantly flipped and rotated. Secondly, between summer and autumn, introduce piled or looped fabric, such as velvet, boucle or chenille, to an existing core linen cushion collection. Blending smooth and nubbly textures is a wise route to dynamic variety. And, finally, release a little creative energy and customise cushion covers with clip-on bows, removable ribbons or sashes, and even pin-on buttons and brooches.
Texture and material exploration
As with many things in the world of interior design, it pays to consider quality over quantity. Cushion covers and cushion pads are no exception. It’s far better to choose premium fabric covers and fillings that have strong material integrity and fine detailing than ten-a-penny versions that frankly won’t have the presence or the staying power.
Touch and feel are a big part of cushion love. Superior fabrics, such as velvet or silk, are your go-tos for bringing an added touch of luxury to a cushion. The sheen and shine of the materials will sparkle in low ambient light making them a sultry choice for night-time rooms whether a party den or a main bedroom. Likewise, fine and slubby linens work well in daytime spaces, such as open plan kitchen diners and garden rooms where the order of the day is relaxed, effortless and easy-going.
For tactile appeal, embroidery, sequins, piping, ruffles, frills and fringing make for visually interesting cushion covers and are particularly popular right now thanks to a penchant for maximalist interiors. Check out Kimono Dreams Moss Velvet Cushion (shown) for a deep-fringe effect that is exotic and enticing.
Sizing and arrangement tips
Mixing cushion sizes and shapes is an art form in itself. Large square, small square, rectangular and circle all come in standard sizes these days. Make sure they are well filled with substantial and generous cushion pads. Have fun playing with interesting arrangements and layering. Stacking cushions adds depth with one small square or rectangle positioned in front of a large square. A diagonally positioned row of square cushions will ensure animation, as will positioning your square cushion corner downwards like a diamond. Circles, such as Round Double Ruffle Blush Cushion and Round Single Ruffle Periwinkle Cushion (shown), bring a playful and handcrafted softness to a sofa or banquette.
There are a few key interior design rules when it comes to cushion numbers. On a sofa, odd numbers are better than evens. We recommend five maximum: grouping them two at the end, two in the middle and one in the centre for symmetry; or for a less formal look with three one end, two the other. When it comes to double beds, don’t overcrowd. One or two stacked on each side of the bed works perfectly and you won’t get in a tizz about where to put them once it lights-out time. On a single bed, one simple stunning design – with a karate chop dent in the pad – will catch the eye and appear inviting.
We all need to be choosing sustainable cushion cover materials as a given these days. Look for eco-friendly fabrics that have been created with the lowest climate and environmental impact. Recycled wool, cotton and polyester velvet cushions are widely available. Or invest in natural and sustainable linen cushions (shown) – one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly fabrics to produce. Also check that cushion pads are filled with responsibly sourced duck feather and down. Don’t forget to make use of every last piece of fabric from upholstery and soft furnishing projects. A homemade and personalised cushion cover from an offcut or remnant is a satisfying creative pastime on a rainy day.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the world of how to design captivating cushions into your room decor. The diversity of cushion choice is endless allowing you to play with colour, pattern, shape and size to create unique backdrops to seating areas and beds. Check out Linwood’s collection of custom printed cushion covers for the ultimate choice in comfort, style and quality.