The secret to styling your home with soft furnishings

Aug 06, 2017
Smaller bolster style pillows always work well with larger Euros and standard pillows. Image: Jo McComiskey.

As a self confessed cushion addict I take my cushions very seriously! Owning shops filled with them hasn’t exactly helped my OCD ( obsessive cushion disorder ) but it has certainly made going to work a joy.

They may be just decorative however never underestimate the power of the humble cushion. Carefully selected, they can pull a room together, refresh a tired space, or seasonally update furnishings…and like a new lipstick, they’re the interior equivalent of a quick pick-me-up! Amen to that.

Try different shapes and textures within a simple colour palette.

Pillows, cushions and sofa sitting

There are so many options for styling cushions on a bed, from no-fuss to never enough there is a decorative style for all budding cushionistas. If you don’t have a bed head – European pillows are a great way of adding colour and height to your bed. Pillowshams provide a finished look for bedspreads or coverlets and decorative cushions create your signature style.

Think pattern, texture and shape with decorative cushions- mixing up patterns in the same colour palette, varying texture and layering with different shapes ( square, rectangular or circular) will keep it interesting. Three cushions on a bed should be the maximum number along with standard pillows and Europeans. Best not to take up half the bed with decorative pillows and cushions as, apart from storage issues when they are not resting on the bed while you sleep, it can drive a husband / partners mad.

In living spaces, cushions should complement the style of sofa, picking up colours in the fabric and the room. Pulling the look together is no easy task, but that’s what cushions do best, apart from making decorators very happy. In terms of numbers, keep it simple and don’t overcrowd seating areas. If you have to remove cushions to sit down on a sofa then clearly you need to rethink the numbers.  I recommend three or four cushions for a three seater sofa, two or three for a two seater sofa and one for an armchair.

Try a combination of patterned and textured cushions, (geo, floral, velvet, linen) united by colour and tone. Image: Jo McComiskey.

Softly does it

While polyfill is an economical choice it can make cushions look stiff, like little soldiers – for natural softness and the right degree of squishiness, feather & down fill is always best AND it makes your cushions look more expensive!

Cushions and pillows.
Vary the way you style pillows and cushions on the bed. Odd numbers work best.

What to avoid

It has been decreed that the karate chop effect (in which square cushions dip in the middle) is officially a decorating crime, considered artificial and high maintenance! Avoid the chop and also refrain from diamond styling cushions- balancing the little fabric, feather filled jewels on their points looks staged.

Styled bedroom
For a finished look, coordinate bedcover, pillowshams and Euros and add decorative cushions that work with the colour palette. This bedcover available from The Bedspread Shop.


Pillowsham a standard size pillowcase coordinated with a bedspread or coverlet, generally used for decoration only.

European a large square pillow 65 x 65cm, can sit behind standard pillows or can be placed in front to hide pillows used for sleeping.

How many cushions do you like on your bed?

Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up