Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

If you’re heading out to the beach this summer, or anywhere outdoorsy, keep the creature comforts of a stylish home at hand with some fantastic accessories that’ll make eating in the great outdoors feel less like camping and more like a relaxed al fresco affair. From glassware to blankets, we’ve got you covered, so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy that summer breeze.

Though the idea of a beautiful, sandy beach is rather picturesque, the reality is getting sand everywhere and anywhere. Avoid this mess with some helpful, and stylish, floor cushions and throws. These stripy picnic blankets from Trouva are made from recycled bottles, and are sturdy enough to keep that pesky sand at bay.

‘Striped Recycled Bottles Picnic Blankets’ from Trouva

Lean back and relax on these beautiful floor cushions, perfect for cosying into. The rich colours will really add some drama to your surroundings. Or keep it natural and more casual with one of these rush weave cushions from Not on the High Street.

‘Large Floor Cushions’ from Out There Interiors

 

‘Circular Rush Weave Grass Floor Cushions by Dibor’ from Not on the High Street

Give your seating area some character, and extra comfort, with a few of these beautiful outdoor cushions from Designers Guild. They’re a great buy and can be moved from a formal outdoor seating arrangement to a spontaneous picnic as quick as a flash.

From top to bottom ‘Jade Temple Cornflower, Amlapura Cobalt and Palasari Cobalt Outdoor Cushions’ from Designers Guild

Fine dining in the great outdoors can be made a little easier, and a lot more stylish, with some fun plasticware from Amara. These petroleum coloured tumblers are so pretty, and will work perfectly alongside these sky blue champagne flutes.

‘Double Face Acrylic Tumbler in Petroleum’ from Amara

‘Jellie Champagne Flute in Sky Blue’ from Amara

If you like a touch of over-the-top glamour, this wine glass is sure to be the icing on the cake, proving that being outdoorsy and sophisticated totally mix.

‘Chic & Zen Acrylic Wine Glass’ from Amara

It’s not only your drinks that need somewhere pretty to go, but your food too, and this pineapple plate from Graham & Green is so fun and summery.

‘Pineapple Bamboo Plate’ from Graham & Green

Keep everything packed away neatly is a classic and elegant picnic basket. This barrel shaped design adds an interesting touch, while the whitewashed basket below lends a contemporary feel.

‘Barrel Shaped Picnic Hamper by Eaton Hampers and Basketware’ from Not on the High Street

‘Ninon Whitewashed Wicker Picnic Basket’ from Maison du Monde

Stay out of the sun and into the cool shade with this stylish umbrella from House Doctor. The simple design means you can style it into the scheme without it looking out of place.

‘Oktogon Beach Umbrella by House Doctor’ from Wayfair

When it’s getting into the evening and you’re in need of some extra lighting, a few romantic candles that are protected from the wind will keep your magical surroundings well lit. This little bubble cage candle holder from Rockett St George is a really sweet find, adding charm to your alfresco area.

‘Glass Cage Lantern Candle Holder’ from Rockett St George

If you like a touch of the nautical theme, you’ll love this lantern from Zaza Homes, it’s a fun and simple edition to keep you going through the night.

‘Wood and Rope Nautical Lantern’ from Zaza Homes

And for that extra warmth, that most British holidays need, a cosy throw and a fire are the perfect companions. This blanket from Trouva is a beautiful colour, with some fun tassel details.

‘Jade Green Scandinavian Woven Blanket’ from Trouva

So whether you’ve venturing down to the beach, park or even just the bottom of your garden, make sure you have everything you need to have an amazing time this summer.

Read Full Post »

Kitchen storage is a problem that most homeowners face, no matter how much we may try to de-clutter, we generally always find ourselves needing more and more as the years go by. Whether you are installing a completely new kitchen or just looking for some extra space, finding innovative ways to add storage will help to tackle the problem, while also adding stylish detailing and some personality to the heart of the home.

‘Witham Oak Plate Rack’ from Rowen & Wren

Gorgeous plates were meant to be displayed, especially if there’s no more room left in the cupboard. This simple but beautiful rack from Rowen & Wren will let your crockery do all the talking.

Our dishwasher at home has recently broken, and so we’ve decided to take on the challenge of washing up everything by hand. However this means we need to pay a little more attention to the sink area, which is becoming a tad more cluttered with, mostly clean, dishes than usual. A quick solution that won’t take up too much room is this dish rack from Willow & Stone; it’s far more stylish that the generic pieces you see, whilst still holding the same amount of items.

‘Tilmo Dish Rack’ from Willow & Stone

Another way to keep your sink area tidy is with a handy, but adorable bucket to store your fairy liquid and scrubbers in. I like this little one from Willow & Stone, its sweet enough to almost make you forget that you actually have to wash up.

‘Wash up Bucket’ from Willow & Stone

Sometimes you might have the cupboard space but are in need of some extra compartments inside it. A few baskets to segregate your potatoes from your onions can make life a whole easier. If you like your traditional style baskets, these grey rattan designs from The Basket Company in different sizes will do the job nicely.

‘Rectangular Grey & Buff Rattan Deep Wicker Storage Units’ from The Basket Company

If you wanted something a touch more contemporary, these crates from Rowen & Wren are a great combination of modern and functional design.

‘Madly Wooden Storage Crate’ from Rowen & Wren

If you’ve run out of surface space, wall mounted items will be your new best friend. Just like the plate rack earlier, they are an absolute space saver, and can also become a lovely feature, even linking together a dining and kitchen area. This wall rack from Angel & Boho is great way to make a decorative feature out of your herbs, it comes with a few boxes but you can always add more as your collection grows, giving you an accessible and interesting way to grow and display them.

‘Wall Racks with Boxes’ from Angel & Boho

This wall unit from Cox & Cox is a contemporary alternative to wall cabinets. With a variety of spaces to store an array of items, this unit can house a small collection of everyday essentials. It’s a great idea if you live in a rental and can’t add more cabinets or change the layout, or if you have a very small amount of space to work with.

‘Industrial Style Iron Wall Unit’ from Cox & Cox

Storage is also about organisation, and making sure that everything has a rightful place. Jars and containers are a life-saver, especially if you have a few different types of food you need storing. LSA International do some amazing contemporary pieces that’ll add both a design element and a storage solution to your kitchen. The Lotta and Mia containers are my favourites in their collection, both simple and stylish.

‘Lotta Container’ from LSA International

 

‘Mia Container with Cork Lid’ from LSA Interational

Kitchen storage seems like a tiresome task, but with a little research there are a whole load of ways to add creativity and style to your kitchen; and with a strong lists of solutions to hand, you’ll never be unprepared again.

Read Full Post »

A beautifully made dresser can really transform an area, be it your kitchen, dining room or hallway. It’s a piece of furniture that provides not only storage but a space to display treasured items and decorative accessories. Whether you like to have your dresser brimming with bric-a-brac, or keep it clean and crisp, there are all kinds of ways to get creative and use your dresser to show off your style. Here are some ideas to get you thinking…

from The Jungalow via Pinterest

I love how this dresser is overflowing with plants, it really draws you in, especially as the natural green of the foliage bounces off the green paint. Dressers are the perfect location to display fresh flowers and plants, as well as some interesting vases that’ll still catch the eye when empty. This Kassandra vase from Holly’s House has an interesting design with individual slots for each flowers, I can see a few wild flowers sitting in this beautifully.

‘Kassandra Vase Tall’ from Holly’s House

Something that might sit nicely on one of the shelves of your dresser is this unusually shaped vase from Nordic House, showing how you don’t need a whole bouquet of flowers to make an impact.

‘Reclining Clear Vase’ from Nordic House

from Vintage Rose Garden via Pinterest

These lanterns hanging off a dresser shows how you can get creative with both your lighting and your dresser. Although it may not be advisable to have any open flames on your dresser, it can be a nice way to display larger candlesticks when they’re not in use, ready to place on the dining room table at a moment’s notice. I like this contemporary brass candlestick piece from Holly’s House, which would sit beautifully on the surface of a dresser.

‘Move Brass Candlesticks’ from Holly’s House

These carnival tea light holders from The Estate Yard are an amazing collection of fun designs that’ll look great placed sporadically on your dresser.

‘Carnival Glass Tea Lights’ from The Estate Yard

Curating your dresser to work perfectly for you is all about finding the right pieces, and the right amount of pieces, to display. The key is to create a range of items, in all shapes and sizes to really give you something to look at. As a backdrop to your accessories I like the idea of fixing a few small mirrors onto the your dresser, this will not only give the impression of a touch more space, but will also give the dress some extra character. This collection of brass framed mirrors from The Estate Yard are the perfect assortment of shapes and sizes, and their style will work with a whole range of schemes.

‘Brass Mirrors’ from The Estate Yard

You may also want to think about what other decorative type things to add, some with a function and some just because they look pretty. This jars from Maison du Monde are a great style piece on their own, but also handy storage in a pinch.

‘Abelia Glass Resin Pots’ from Maison du Monde

 

from Mademoiselle Poirot via Pinterest

With an array of pots, bowls, plates and jar this dresser is covered head to toe; showing how a dresser can both store and display items beautifully.

One of the best things you can display on a dresser is a beautiful set of plates. From ones you’ve collected over the years, to maybe a special sentimental set, or just some really beautiful designs, on a dresser they’re safe from harm’s way and can be admired on a daily basis. Anthropologie always do some striking pieces of tableware, I love these botanical plates, they’re fresh and eye-catching and will instantly improve your mood. So will these pretty plates in a range of bohemian patterns.

‘Jardiniere Melamine Dinner Plate’ from Anthropologie

‘Adele Dinner Plates’ from Anthropologie

Finally, I had to add in this dramatic photo of a dresser displaying a collection of portraits. This is quite a bold look, but dresser are still a great way to display photos of your loved ones, especially in something as lovely as this photoframe from Plumo, which would look gorgeous on a dresser.

from Remodelista via Pinterest

‘Mustard Frame’ from Plumo

A beautiful dresser can be made even lovelier with the perfect accessories to go with it, tailoring to both your needs and your style is a great way to turn a functional piece of furniture into a thoughtful display.

Read Full Post »

Interior design is usually about the inside of the home, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t neglect your exterior in the process. Although we will spend little time looking at the outside of our home in comparison to the inside, it’s those small moments when we’re walking to our front door, or pulling up into the driveway that a well-crafted exterior will make all the difference. Sometimes it’s just about making a few small changes in order to create a huge difference, so here are some ideas to get you thinking about any exterior changes you could make.

Updating your lighting fixtures is a great way to give the front of your house a touch of your own character. If you want a wall light, this Calvi light from Astro would make a sweet accompaniment to your front door. It has a good blend of traditional and contemporary elements to it, making suitable for both types of houses, it comes in polished nickel but I think that this matt black is rather lovely.

‘Calvi Wall Light in Black’ from Astro

If you have the right structural elements and can hang a pendant lighting in your porch area you can really turn your lighting needs into a beautiful feature. For a little vintage glamour this Menton Lantern from The French House is a charming piece that’ll give your front door area a strong look.

‘Menton Hanging Lantern’ from The French House

To turn your path or driveway into an exciting feature, some well-placed lighting will do just the trick. John Cullen always have fantastic lighting solutions especially for the exterior of homes, these Kew LED Spotlights are great for helping to make a feature out of a plant border and giving some life to your front garden.

‘Kew Exterior LED Spotlights’ from John Cullen Lighting

When it comes to your exterior, sometimes all you may need to do if spruce up your front door which could just mean a lick of paint. If you love a bold, strong colour, a front door is the perfect place really express yourself; this pink door against the crisp white external walls makes a beautifully sweet but modern statement.

‘Pink Front Door’ by Look Linger Love via Pinterest

If you want to create more of a classic look, then a strong timeless colour will keep your front door looking lovely for years to come. Blue Gray by Farrow & Ball or Dock Blue by Little Greene in the examples below are great classic style staples.

‘Blue Gray by Farrow & Ball’ by Tone on Tone Antiques via Pinterest

 

‘Dock Blue’ by Little Greene

A great way to introduce some of your personal style is by finding some house numbers that suit not only your taste but the features of your home. These French enamel numbers from Willow & Stone are a sweet way to add a vintage feel to your front door, and will look especially great on the front of a small cottage style house, against a white wall.

‘Individual Enamel House Numbers’ from Willow & Stone

House numbers can be more than just a way to help out the postman, and you can really get creative with the way you display them. I found this interesting design in Pinterest which would make a great addition to a contemporarily styled exterior. The thin metal numbers are placed on a dark treat block of wood with a succulent feature added as well. It shows how you can turn a necessary part of your front door area into an interesting feature.

‘House Number’ from Interior Barn Doors via Pinterest

Other small ways you can update your front door is with a new post box or letter plate. This is a really great way to give a hint of your style, or to emphasise the house’s period or design. This Art Deco style letter plate from Grace and Glory Home has some interesting features to it, I especially like the curves in the design and the polished brass finish, all great Art Deco motifs.

‘Art Deco Letter Plate with Clapper in Polished Brass’ from Grace and Glory Home

This vintage post box from Melody Maison is full of style, and will give your front door area its own sense of style. The rustic design will look extra beautiful with some ivy growing up and around the post box.

‘Vintage Mounted Metal Post Box’ from Melody Maison

If you have the space, a few large planters can help to create the perfect exterior to your home, and even if you’re lacking in ground surface, a few smaller planters placed on the window sill or steps leading up to the door will still create a beautiful look. For a contemporary feel, keep it clean and simple with these cement style planters from Iota.

‘Fresco Cube Planter’ from Iota

For something unique, antique planters will really give your exterior an individual look. These planters from Violet Grey are mid-century and have a pretty style, one placed either side of your front will really create a warm, welcoming and glamorous look.

‘Mid-century Planters’ from Violet Grey

Dressing up your exterior is a great way for your home to give off an amazing first impression. Whether you want to play up to the home’s period or a particular style you love, or want to create a coherent and smart looking area, there are all kinds of ways to make sure that the outside is just as beautiful as the inside.

Read Full Post »

Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning a beautiful garden for the season. From large pieces of furniture to the smaller details, creating a lovely outdoor area means you’re prepared for those rare sunny days and the warm evenings that follow. Whether you want to entertain a crowd or just make a cosy setup for yourself, there are plenty of ways to step up your outdoor game with some wonderful pieces.

‘Somerton Outdoor Dining Set’ from Cox & Cox

Add a little glamour to your alfresco dining by finding a suitable, but stylish table. This Somerton table and benches from Cox & Cox will give both contemporary and rustic elements to your outdoor area. The modern grey is a versatile colour and the long benches mean you can squeeze a few extra people around the table when you have guests over, making it a great table for spontaneous dinner parties. If you don’t need as much space, you can opt for something a little smaller like this Bistro table from Houseology, it’s more modern then your typical Bistro set, meaning you can adapt it to different types of settings.

‘Houseology Collection Grigio Bistro Set in Grey’ from Houseology

To stay out of the shade, and for the ultimate way to show off some style, a parasol is an outdoor must-have. If you’re looking for something really jaw-dropping, Sunbeam Jackie have a beautiful collection of ready-made parasols as well as doing bespoke versions if you really want to tailor it perfectly to your style. This Sunflowers in Blue piece is a gorgeous way to keep cool in the sun.

‘Sunflowers in Blue Parasol’ from Sunbeam Jackie

Another beautiful garden parasol comes from Rockett St George, this beaded piece will transform your back garden into an exotic paradise. It’s a great buy for making a style statement, adding fun and sophistication to your overall look.

‘Boho Beaded Cotton Garden Umbrella’ from Rockett St George

When the evenings get a little cold, gather round a gorgeous fire pit to keep yourself warm. This square aged brazier from Cox & Cox is a wonderful contemporary piece that’ll steal the show in your garden. The unusual shape and style will have people thinking you commissioned it yourself.

‘Square Rusty Brazier’ from Cox & Cox

To make sure you keep the light, a few garden accessories from The White Company are sure to do the trick. These crooks and lanterns will look amazing leading down a pathway or placed on the edge of a patio to give a party the perfect ambient lighting.

‘Metal Crooks and Torch Lanterns’ from The White Company

If you ever need a quick and inexpensive way to create a romantic and dreamy garden setting, fairy lights will never go amiss. This extra-long set from The White Company will allow you to cover your whole garden. Neatly decorate a bush or tree, or give some structural work a little make over like in the picture below; a rustic beam covered in fairy lights and a few branches turn something ordinary into a beautiful decorative charm.

‘Extra Long Fairy Lights’ from The White Company

Create the ideal hangout spot with this sweet crochet hammock from Graham and Green. It’s a great bohemian style and all you need to do is find some cushions to add into the mix and place your hammock in a hidden part of your garden, making it the perfect spot when you want to get away from the world.

‘Crochet Double Hammock’ from Graham & Green

If your garden is lacking a bit of space, you can always create the illusion of more with the use of mirrors; place on the garden wall where it’ll reflect the lawn or a collection of plants and it’ll make your space feel a little bigger. This mirror with some rustic shutters from Cox & Cox will add a bit of old, vintage charm to your garden, giving it its own character.

‘Outdoor Shutter Mirror’ from Cox & Cox

In order to keep your drink close by you on a hot day, you’ll need a few side tables to accompany your outdoor chairs. This bistro style table from Garden Trading is a charming little number that will go with most styles and a great way to finish off a seating area.

‘Rive Droite Bistro Tray Table in Charcoal’ from Garden Trading

For a touch of decorative flair on your outdoor side or coffee table, a few hurricane lanterns will really complete the look. These candle holders from West Elm are the perfect way to dress an outdoor table; the various heights and colours gives depth and range to the collection, making them both stylish and a great way to keep the garden feeling cosy late into the evening.

‘Pure Glass Hurricanes’ from West Elm

While there is always a slim chance that we might not get a sun-filled summer, you can still guarantee a beautiful one with some amazing pieces of outdoor furniture and some charming accessories.

Read Full Post »

Like any sane person, I love my bed, and if you don’t love your own bed, there’s a good chance it’s because you haven’t been treating it right. A good bed consists of more than just a nice frame and quality mattress, and though these are essential to getting a good night’s sleep, your bed and its surrounding area shouldn’t just be a matter of function. Kitting your bed area out in the perfect accessories that suit you down to a T will help to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling when you walk into your room and see your bed. From throws, cushions, headboards, linens and even the surrounding furniture, everything plays an integral part of making the space feel like your own and turning it into an area that you can’t wait to get into at night and leaves you feeling happy when you wake up in the morning. Making cosmetic improvements to your bed is a great way to give your room your stamp of personality, while also creating an inviting and relaxing space. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about what you could change and how you could change it, with both high and low budget pieces, so you can treat yourself without upsetting your wallet.

‘Crushed Linen Duvet Set’ from Volga Linen’

That feeling of getting into bed when you have fresh sheets on is lovely, but what’s even better is having a brand new set altogether. It’s a quick and easy way to give your bed a boost in comfort and style. As a personal preference, I like to keep my covers simple to make way for more decorative pieces later, a pastel or white can be the perfect way to lay some foundations when it comes to covering your bed. For high quality, Volga Linen has some wonderful sets in some amazing colours. For linens that still look beautiful, but are a fraction of the cost, H&M Home have some wonderful designs up their sleeve. For the same simple look, the washed linen set are a must-have, and are a good price so it means you can invest in a few sets, in different colours.

‘Washed Linen Duvet Cover Set’ from H&M Home

Adding a headboard to your bed is a great way to give your space a sense of glamour and elegance, turning your bed into to a distinctive feature in your bedroom. Last year we combined a headboard from The Dormy House and fabric from Pierre Frey to create a gorgeous headboard for the master bedroom for one of our clients; the outcome turned an average looking bed to one of my favourite features in the house.

‘Regal Shaped Headboard with Stud Piping’ from The Dormy House with ‘Watom Juane Fabric’ from Pierre Frey

For something that has the same effect as a headboard, but is a lot cheaper, there are some easy ways to create a dramatic look for your bed without the dramatic price tag. With a little DIY you can create a beautiful head for your bed with a pole and a pair of curtains. An example of this is taken from Pinterest, which shows how a simple piece of sheer cloth can add a huge amount of glamour and style to a bed.

Taken from ‘MyDesignerMom’ via Pinterest

Above the designer has used a plain white fabric, but if you want to add in a bit of colour or a pattern, making sure that the fabric is light will mean that the overall look doesn’t get too heavy. These curtain panels from Anthropologie could be a great design to use in this way.

‘Adalet Curtain’ from Anthropologie

Creating a collection of cushions and a throw is a great way to tailor your bed to your own taste; whether that is piles of colourful cushions, or just a few understated ones. If you don’t want to break the bank when you comes to filling out your bed with cushions, many high street home stores have a great range in some interesting designs. I like these pastel, kilim style cushions from Urban Outfitters, they have a contemporary bohemian feel about them and will keep your bedroom looking light and relaxed.

‘Andanda Kilim Cushion’ from Urban Outfitters

To go the full nine yards when it comes to cushions, getting some custom made from some designer fabric will give you bed a luxurious feeling and a personal touch. By choosing this option you can also make sure that you have the exact design you want. There are an abundance of designers out there to choose from, for fun and colourful designs head over to Osborne & Little, they’re fabric patterns are perfect for making a few elaborate and eye-catching cushions; I love these styles from their new Masque collection, the Pageant, Carnival and Jester patterns are great for adding some vibrancy to your bedspread.

From Left to Right: ‘Carnival, Pageant and Jester fabric cushions’ from Osborne & Little

For that extra warmth in the winter and that extra style all year round, the addition of a throw will make your bed look and feel complete. It’s worth investing in a throw that will actually keep you warm as well as looking good on your bed, which needn’t mean spending the earth. Wool, Mohair and Cashmere are the best materials to use, and you can find good quality versions of these for reasonable prices. These Mohair Wool throws from Trouva have wonderful oversized fringing and look super cosy.

‘Cozy Living Forest Green Melange Mohair Wool Throw’ from Trouva

For super high quality and luxuriously soft throws, Biggest Blanket have got a beautiful selection. This Stafford throw has some rich, romantic colours and is perfect for curling up in when winter rears its ugly head again.

‘Stafford Wool and Mohair Throw’ from Biggest Blanket

Placing a rug underneath your bed will help to create a defining area, it can give your bed more of an impact in a room, plus it’ll be a nice treat for your feet in the mornings. Size is key when it comes to rugs, it’s important to make sure that it isn’t too small or it won’t sit right within the room. For high quality and beautifully designed rugs, The Rug Company never fails to impress, I love this Spider design by Neisha Crosland; the pattern has a careful balance between simplicity in colour and intricacy in design so that it will remain a staple and stylish piece in your home.

‘Spider by Neisha Crosland’ from The Rug Company

Unfortunately the bigger the rug, the bigger the cost, and if you don’t want to spend a huge amount of money you’ll need to find a company that can offer you a good sized rug at a reasonable rate. Swoon Editions have some lovely rugs in their collection in decent sizes that can help make the perfect bed area. This Kankare rug has a small pattern in a faded denim colour that can work a few different schemes to create a foundation in the bed area.

‘Kankare Rug in Indigo’ from Swoon Editions

A pair of beautiful bedside tables can frame a bed, adding structure and style to your bedroom. For a mid-century treat, a new addition to Chelsea Textiles furniture collection is this gorgeous piece; it’s elegantly designed with a timeless style that’ll last you for years.

‘Bedside Table Two Drawer, Wicker Handle, Brass Trim & Legs’ from Chelsea Textiles

If you want to save a bit of money, but still maintain some style, there are loads of less expensive options to choose from; this Ikea piece in a bright yellow will make a sweet touch to a bedroom, adding a splash of fun colour.

‘Hemnes Bedside Table in Yellow’ from Ikea

Finally, the way to finishing off your dream bed area, is with some lighting. The bedside lighting needs to be suitably chosen, having to accommodate functional needs like reading, but also creating a relaxing atmosphere as you get ready for bed. Keep things simple with this modern looking lamp from Habitat.

‘Dylan Table Lamp in Natural’ from Habitat

If you like things a little more flamboyant, this playful lamp from Graham & Green could be just the thing needed to complete a fun and bohemian styled bedroom. The birds are a wacky edition that will proudly show off your style.

‘Volieres Bird Cage Lamp’ from Graham & Green

When it comes to decorating your bed and its neighbouring areas, you have the luxury of getting to be a little selfish. It’s a place that’s just for you, or you and your partner. Many other spaces in the room have to accommodate guests, other family members, or be styled in a way that suits everyday life, but as for your bed, you can turn this area into a space that’s your perfect hideaway, just the way you want it.

Read Full Post »

Inviting to look at and still room to sit comfortably. Chair, cushion and delectable fabrics all from Vanessa Arbuthnott.

There is a battle raging in our households and it concerns the quite intense emotions elicited by the humble cushion. Many sane, sensible and fair minded couples that I visit in my capacity as their interior designer can quickly lapse into not only passionate opinions but also surprisingly petty bickering when the subject of cushions is mentioned. I am going to horribly generalise now so please forgive me if you don’t fit into my unsubstantiated gender stereotyping, but seems to me that it tends to be us girls that love cushions and it’s the boys who really don’t.

My investigations into anti-cushion behaviour have found some recurrent themes. The first and most virulent relates mainly to cushions on the bed. “Where do they go at night?” the boys cry “we have to throw them on the floor”. Ok, I understand, they need a place to go when they are taken off the bed and the floor is not it. A simple solution would be a chair, window seat or ottoman at the end of the bed that they could reside on over-night.

The second complaint is normally about the number of cushions on the sofa. “We can’t even sit down without taking some of them off and throwing them on the floor” (are you seeing the ‘throwing them on the floor’ pattern emerging?). It’s a valid point, you need to be able to sit on your sofa, but this very rarely means you can’t have any cushions on it at all. Really, have you felt the comfort a cushion offers?!

Even I have to admit (and on a personal level you may have guessed that I am an extreme cushion lover) that the purpose of cushions in adornment. Some comfort for sure but primarily adornment and is there anything wrong with that? The key really, as with all things interior related, is the balance of style and functionality. A contemporary muted minimalist space will be spoilt by brightly coloured highly patterned cushions but will be enhanced by a limited number of plain cushions adding a layer of texture and comfort. Similarly a room that is verging on the bland can be hugely improved with a burst of colour, pattern, texture and a visual hit of inviting comfort.

Cushions do have an advantage that they are easier and cheaper to purchase than larger items such as a sofa or carpet. However, this does not mean that you should not take the time and effort in choosing your cushions, or that you should opt for cheap if you are not sure. A ‘make-do’ cushion is a waste of money as it is highly likely that you will want to replace it almost as soon as you get it home. If you buy a cushion you really love you may well have it for life so it represents much better value for money whatever it costs.

Contemporary cushions from Andrew Martin bring colour and comfort to a grey scheme.

Fortunately, there is now a very good selection of ready-made cushions available on the market. One tip I would give you when looking for off the shelf cushions is to find a fabric or accessories company that you really like and see what cushions they have on offer. I find that high street store cushions are often incredibly middle of the road and quite depressing because of it, whereas a company that isn’t trying to offer all styles to all people can be a lot more inventive. For example, Chelsea Textiles (www.chelseatextiles.com) have a wonderful range of cushions for those of a more traditional bent and Andrew Martin (www.andrewmartin.co.uk) have lush designs on offer for those of a more contemporary sensitivity.

If you do go down the route of having cushions made (and I warn you now, it is an additive business), you have a world of opportunity at your fingertips. Key decisions include size and shape, fabric obviously but you might want to use a couple of different fabrics, say one on the back and a different one on the front, or a different fabric as a side or decorative panel, and then of course there are trimmings. Trimmings are the interior addicts’ sweeties and are a joyful business to pick and often are what makes the cushion special. The key with having cushions made (and actually any bespoke item) is to find the right craftsperson and make good friends with them. As with many needlework tasks, cushion making sounds very simple but to get it right is always more complicated that you think. You need to find a soft furnishings maker who knows what they are doing, will listen to what you want and has a good level of patience. Thinking through the design before starting is vital and no detail should be overlooked, as cushion disappointment is not pretty.

As I write, I suspect that those amongst us who have yet to realise the true worth of the cushion may be feeling slightly light-headed, if not enraged, by my encouragement for spending hard earned cash on the decorative end of the soft furnishings palette. I would say sorry but I wouldn’t mean it so what I will do is to send a grovelling apology to any man who really does appreciate a cushion. That said, I do believe it is thanks to the female of the species that the cushion thrives. Without us the boys would all be sitting slightly uncomfortably on their sofas wondering why their rooms look just a tiny bit bland.

This article first appeared in Cambridge Magazine, April 2017

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »