A cushion for all seasons

Cushions are a good way to re-vitalise your home and add some of your personality to a room.  They are also an inexpensive way to re-decorate your home without having to change your walls, curtains or carpet. Cushions not only offer support and comfort they can also make a room more interesting.  By changing your cushions each season you can change the whole look and feel of a room. Choose pastel coloured fabrics like linen and cotton in spring and rich velvets in orange and brown colours in autumn.   Cushions can be made out of almost anything and are a great way to show creativity.

Choosing the right cushions

When you buy a sofa, you can also get scatter cushions in the same fabric. These cushions however, can get lost and blend into the sofa. Scatter cushions should tie a room’s colour scheme together.  Link the colour of your cushions to something in the room like a piece of artwork, a rug, curtains,  wallpaper, or piece of furniture  Cushions can look out of place if they don’t pair with anything else in the room.

Choose complimentary colours

Find a colour or tone in the artwork, rug or curtains and then once you have highlighted the colour you can incorporate this colour into your cushions. You can also vary the different tones of this colour.

Go for patterns

The trick is to have a block of colour, then vary the tone with small and large scale patterns. This creates a good balance.  Geometric prints, florals, checks, stripes, water colours and embroideries all add impact.  If you want to keep it simple pair a bold colour with a classic stripe.

Opposites attract

Generally sofas are blocks of neutral colour.  By adding a contrast with a pop of colour or some patterned cushions it can stop the room looking too characterless.  Soft furnishings are a great way to experiment with colour. If you want to keep your room neutral add cushions with texture like metallics and faux fur.

Add texture

Texture is an interior designer’s secret weapon.  Larger patterns or block colours should ideally be at the back with smaller ones at the front.  Make the front cushions more elaborate.  Embroidered, shimmering metallics or chunky knits in complimentary tones would be a good choice.  For a luxury look, introducing textured fabrics like velvets, embroideries and faux fur add depth to a room which also creates a welcoming interior.

Cushions can be made to any size, the most popular being 45cm x 45cm (18 inches) square.

Remember that the bottom of the cushion is where the zip or fastening is found, so when the cushion is placed on the sofa or chair the zip is hidden underneath.

What stuffing?

Hollowfill fibre cushions are a synthetic wadding made of polyester. They are breathable and non allergenic which makes them ideal for allergy sufferers and they are easy to wash. They are less expensive than feather and down but still offer a firm support.  Over a long period of time they can become flat and lumpy.

Feather and down cushions are filled with feathers and down from ducks and geese. They are more expensive than hollowfill. They are a natural material and mould to your shape. They are more luxurious than hollowfill. Feather pillows are more difficult to wash but with proper care can be long lasting.

Tip: If you want a plump much fuller cushion then buy the next size up. For example if you have a cushion cover that is 20″ buy a 22″ insert/cushion pad.


Cushions are made with fastenings like zips, velcro. and poppers. Buttons and ties also add a feature.

Bed Cushions

Please see my separate page titled ‘bed dressings’

Outdoor Cushions

Cushions for an outdoor space need an all weather fabric which means they need to be weatherproof, waterproof and UV resistant.   Outdoor cushions are generally more bold with patterns.  This summer we have seen flamingos and botanical prints. Try to choose a timeless fabric that you will also like next summer.

Floor cushions

Large floor cushions make a room feel relaxed and informal and are a neater alternative to beanbags.  Make sure the cushion insert is overfilled so these cushions plump up well and add support. Chunky knit pouffes are also popular choice.

Window Seat Cushions

These are generally made to measure with a foam block insert that is cut to size.  Different foam grades are available ranging from a high density foam to an economical foam.  All foam must be fire retardent and comply with BS5852 and furniture and furnishing fire safety regulations.

Window seat with bolster cushions

Bolster Cushions

These long narrow pillows or cushions are decorative but also used as arm-rests on window seats and sofas.  They can also be used on beds as a back rest.

Cushion embellishments

Beads, sequins, fringe, tassels, ribbons, buttons and my absolute favourite pom poms.  There are just so many trimmings to choose from.

I read somewhere that happiness is…lots of cushions.

Sarah Speak Soft Furnishings make bespoke cushions in Great Ouseburn, York  For further information please fill in the contact form or ring 01423 325301