Decorative cushions: how to choose them ?

Interior cushions are real allies for your decoration, because they allow you to give a personal touch to your “home sweet home” in no time and for a relatively reasonable budget. Just like curtains on windows, cushions create a warm and cosy atmosphere, bring life to your interior and can be changed according to your desires or the seasons by replacing the covers. There are many choices on the market, and you only need to know a few rules to choose, match or mismatch them. 

How to match or mismatch your cushions 

Choice n°1: the color 

Go for monochrome

A monochrome consists of the association of colours that are very close together in the chromatic circle. It is a matter of choosing colours that are : 

  • either in the same branch (it is the same color declined in different tones, from the lightest to the darkest): it is called “monochrome harmony”;
  • or on side-by-side branches: this is called “analogous harmony”.

It is therefore the simplest rule to follow to make sure you don’t make a mistake when choosing your cushions.

You can choose from a palette of blues, greens, yellows or pinks. This method will have the advantage of ensuring you a result without taking risks or lack of taste. On the other hand, it can lack fantasy and seem a little wise or classic. It will therefore be necessary to bring more originality in the choice of materials and dimensions as explained below. 

© Forn Studio

Dare the contrast 

If you want a more assertive decoration, you can dare to use contrasting colours! Refer to the colour circle to guide you if necessary. In any case, you should know that the opposite shades match perfectly: terracotta and dark green, midnight blue and blush pink… have fun! Whether your seat is neutral or brightly coloured, the cushions will liven up the decor thanks to the contrast of colours. 

Photo Credit : Bold Casablanca Collection

Choice n°2: the material 

For a beachfront holiday home, linen, hemp or cotton cushions are of course the first choice. Wool, velvet and leather cushions will be perfect to create a cosy atmosphere, finding harmony through winter materials. 

But it is not at all out of the question to mix “opposite” materials together. This will enhance them in relation to each other: the shine of linen will contrast with the matte finish of wool, a silky velvet with a rougher hemp, an embossed cotton with a smooth leather. 

Cushions in linen and wool, Saint-Frison Textiles

Choice n°3: the pattern

Mixing patterns and prints is a relatively risky exercise. 

Here are a few tips and examples to guide you: 

  • Choose a dominant colour, which will serve as a guideline to match the patterns. For example, if you have a patterned cushion in a blue hue, combine it with a cushion that is at least partially printed with the same colour to create harmony. 
 © Jamini
  • Alternate large patterns with smaller ones. It is important to have a wide range of print sizes to give visual harmony. Contrast allows the eyes to rest and better appreciate each pattern. 
  • break up prints by associating them with plain colours. Here again, it is about interposing a sober element between strong elements to avoid overloading the decoration. 
  • Stripes go very well with all types of prints. Consider stripes as a neutral piece (like black). They are very easy to mix with other patterns.
  • the combination of simple and geometric patterns. The roundness of the dots will perfectly counterbalance the rigidity of the lines of stripes, checks or herringbones. 
  • black and white: This is the ideal option to take your first steps as it is timeless so it is impossible to go wrong. 

Choice n°4: shape and size 

Again, it is imperative to mix the dimensions. If you choose all your cushions with the same size, it will be impossible to overlap them nicely, nor to determine any hierarchy between them. So on a sofa, you should bet on two rows of cushions. The first with larger ones and the second with smaller cushions to add depth and guide the eye from the first to the second row gradually. 

Play on shapes too! Today there are square, rectangular, round and berlingots cushions that will mix very well with each other and make the whole thing more daring or playful. 

Coussins « balles » et berlingots
 © Pierre Yovanovitch

How to arrange your cushions? 

Rather choose an odd number for your cushions: 1, 3, 5… this rule applies to many other decorative elements: hanging mirrors / pictures on the wall, ornaments placed on a shelf or a bookcase… this avoids the too rigorous and wise look of pairings.

To assemble them on a sofa or a bed, it is therefore necessary to create some sort of rows. Place the larger cushions behind, the smaller ones in front. They should be thrown a little carelessly and staggered. For shapes it is better to put the squares as a base at the bottom, and the rectangular or round ones in the front row. 

On the bed, you can place for example a large pair of square cushions at the bottom, a smaller one in the second row, and finish with a small rectangular cushion in front. This will create a kind of perspective that is very pleasing to the eye. 

You’ve got it, have fun with the cushions! The advice given above are not meant to be applied one by one. You can choose which rules to follow and decide to create a set of cushions in monochrome but with very different materials, to play with the contrast of colours in the same material… give free rein to your desires and your imagination! 

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