Dressing a bed or sofa with cushions is the perhaps the easiest way to inject character into your home. Cushions can create a dynamic edge within the overall design scheme and tie together the décor, creating a focal point and bringing together all textures and tones that play a role.
Often, the best way to look at cushions is to consider what the overall design aims are. For example, do you have an existing interior theme that you want cushions to elaborate on, or juxtapose with, to create a feature? Or, are you designing the décor from scratch?
If it’s the former, considering what colours and tones are already in the space is important to ensure consistency with the current theme. What sorts of textures are already featured, and how do you want cushions to play into this?
If many elements of your existing design are contemporary, such as bold lines and smooth surfaces, then textures such as velvet or oversized weaves can help soften the space. Contemporary settings are also often characterised by contrasting lines and sharp edges. In these types of interiors, opting for geometric patterns and bold tones can enhance this style. Alternatively, you could soften the scheme by adding chunky textures and organic florals.
If you have a neutral colour scheme, then you have a blank canvas to add vibrant tones to, create interest and offer bright features of warm or cool hues. If you're adding neutrals rather than colour, it can be good to think about adding some pattern and textural elements.
The materiality of existing sofas or beds is important too and looking at options that will offset or enhance those factors is vital. For example, adding a mix of satins, velvets and patterns can lift a cool leather sofa to make it more inviting and soften the clean look of the leather.
If you’re designing a room’s décor from the ground up, cushions can be used as central design elements. If you have a particular colour palette or style in mind, looking at cushions that fit within this scheme is a great way to begin and set the scene for visual features and tones that work to layer the theme across the space as a whole. If you are after an eclectic look, mixing a range of sizes, patterns and colours will help to achieve this. If you don't know where to start with designing your room, select a patterned cushion you love and pick out the colours from that to help you choose paint samples, carpet colours and furniture colours from there. That way you have a starting point and something to reference when choosing other items for the space.
Size and volume is also an important factor when dressing a sofa or bed. Consider comfort as well as the aesthetics of the design. If you have to move cushions to be comfortable on a sofa, chances are, there are too many cushions. Generally, odd numbers tend to create a more balanced look and prevent the scheme from looking too contrived. On a three-seater sofa, three cushions in a mix of sizes and textures works well. Likewise, on a large corner unit you may opt for five cushions in a range of patterns and colours.
A balanced composition using an array of cushions of varying sizes, tones and textures will work to create interesting and visually appealing spaces.
But, most importantly, choose what you love and remember to have fun.