Make a statement with stylish graphics, bold colours, unusual shapes and 'touchy feely' textures - ANNE HATTON offers some top tips how you can do this by simply adding decorative cushions to your décor
HOW do you pack a punch in the smallest of packages? Look to pillows for big style - in all sizes, shapes and textures - that take up the minimum of space in your home. By using pillows in your rooms in the same way as you use jewellery to add the finishing touch to an outfit, they can be the icing on the cake - and best of all, they needn't cost the earth!
Nothing looks as inviting as a bed piled high with cushions. Bear in mind, though, that too many cushions means they will probably end up on the floor!
There are numerous styles on the market, so how do you choose?
We can use pillows in a variety of ways and they can provide a great opportunity to experiment or to take a new direction in style. Whether you use them for practical purposes or simply for aesthetic reasons, adding one to a sofa, couch or chair ticks both boxes. And a plumped-up cushion just begs to be sat on!
Adding a cushion to a tired piece of furniture also immediately gives it a lift (and can hide the imperfection underneath).
Think quantity as well as quality:
Using a cushion as an accent colour in a space is the simplest and easiest way to add a slice of vitality to a plain colour scheme. Any solid-coloured seating can be enlivened by adding a completely disparate colour - think of a splash of red on a leather sofa or a lime green pillow on a pink duvet.
Look to pick up a colour that's used sparingly in the room and exploit it further to create a bold, daring look. Even if you aren't confident, it's a good tip to go with a shade more pronounced than is normally in your comfort zone - that way, you will add the pizzazz that you want but in small, safe doses.
Colour co-ordinate your cushions, too. For example, using similar colour schemes with more than one cushion gives depth and provides the perfect combination. Concentrating on one or two repeated colours in several cushions makes them work together better by creating more impact than a single cushion on its own.
One in a bold colour, such as a fuchsia pink leopard print!). Be bold and mix and match different types of pattern - it's much easier to try something a bit different in cushions, as the total effect won't be overwhelming.
Remember as well that it's usually best to centre your pattern on the size of cushion; if you have a particularly large print, you will need a larger shape to show it off to its best.
The cushion will be made; for example, using a floral pattern to make a rose-shaped pillow.
Oversized cushions can work just as well on the floor; look for one's that's at least 70cm square for a comfortable seat.
The next element to consider is texture. Shake things up a bit and add a bit of depth by using different types of materials.
Various pillow fabrics, such as wool or silk, felt or fur can add interest, not to mention encouraging you to touch and caress them. Mixing more than one fabric can give interest while making a cushion with pleats or gathers breaks up a more traditional fabric.
Don't forget the little things, such as trimmings. There are lots of lovely things available, from traditional cords and ruffles, to beads, buttons and feathers.
Why not take a plain cushion and add your own creative style?
It needn't be along the seams of the cushion. Some of the most effective cushions have trims simply added to the display side.
Sometimes the trim is the most impressive part of a cushion! My favourite place for trimmings is VV Rouleaux in London.
If you're completely stuck for inspiration, take a look at the new London Cushion Company (www.thelondoncushioncompany.com ) for some of the most inventive and wacky products available.
Be bold and get accessorising with cushions!
Top tips for pattern matching:
Patterns fall into three categories: small, medium and large-scale.
If you have more than one pattern directly next to one another, such as cushions on a sofa would be, it's best to place together or a small and medium-scale print medium and large-scale next to each other.
Placing a small and large print directly together will cause the eye to 'jump'.