Posts Tagged ‘pillows’

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

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At Angel + Blume we welcome any and all questions about interior design and since we’ve been receiving quite a few from our readers recently, we decided to dedicate this blog to answering some of them!


#1 Where can I buy custom-made pillows and bolsters that will fit a larger bed?

My feelings towards my bed, like to most of the readers I suspect, are ones of joy and adoration, so when something’s not quite right you will find yourself forever waking up on the wrong side of the bed each and every morning. When you’ve decided to invest in a larger bed there’s nothing more irritating then not having the right pillows to complete it. We’ve done some scoping and found the lovely online company Bespoke Bed Linen that’s been making custom sized pillows, as well as sheets and duvets, for over 40 years. They’ll make pillows to whatever measurements your heart desires, and have 85 colours to choose from, so you’ll be able to complete the bed of your dream!

For a little inspiration here is a bedroom Angel + Blume designed for a client that features a bespoke bed with a built-in headboard and some very comfy bedding!


#2 I have a salvaged loo which I want to install but it doesn’t have a loo seat, can you recommend a company to buy a good quality wooden seat from? 

A vintage style toilet can really bring character to a bathroom, and the best place to acquire wooden loo seats is Tosca & Willoughby. They do a lovely range of styles and types of wood to accommodate your needs. My favourite style is the Thunderbox Seat, it comes in Mahogany, Oak, Black and White and will look perfect in a beautiful period home. As an added touch Tosca & Willoughby can also make bespoke hand-painted loo seats if you had a design in mind or wanted to add something special to your throne!


#3 Where can I get nice furniture for my conservatory?

Conservatories and garden rooms are a charming addition to a home, but often the furniture for conservatories can appear a little dated. Marston and Langinger is the holy grail of garden rooms, they create truly beautiful conservatories, orangeries and garden rooms, and this has led them to create furniture to work perfectly inside them. The Willow collection by Marston and Langinger will maintain its timeless look for years and years, making the pieces a worth while investment.

If you want to add a more delicate feel to your conservatory then take a look at the Wrought Metal collection, they make great extra additions next to a wicker sofa, or by themselves as a chic table and chairs set, plus they are easy to move around and take out to the garden during the summer months.


#4 I want to create a shower in my attic bathroom but I can’t find a shower screen that will fit, any advice?

Utilising space is the best way to make the most out of your home, and though it’s a difficult space and will require a less conventional layout, a bathroom in the attic can look amazing as long as it’s well thought-out. It may be hard to find a ready made shower screen that will fit into an attic bathroom, so the best thing to do is go bespoke. Companies like The Shower Lab specialise in producing beautiful customised shower screens, they will visit your home, measure up and create a personalised template for a shower screen based on the space available, allowing you to have your perfect shower!


#5 Can you recommend anywhere to buy some contemporary tie backs for my curtains?

We love a good trimming at Angel + Blume, and it’s a wonderful way add a finishing touch to your home, and although you might think of trimmings and tie backs as only suited for traditional English country style, they are the perfect addition to complete the look of a contemporary home. Most fabric designers make lovely trimmings to match their collections, but one of the best places to look for trimmings is Houlès. Houlès is a french company that makes the most divine trimmings, they’re high quality and exude luxury even if you’re opting for a low key style. They’re products range from traditional to contemporary, and everything in between.

If you’re looking for something contemporary and want to make a statement the Ebony collection is truly eye-catching.


We hope this has cleared up some of your queries, and if you have any more questions you’d like answered by all means leave them in the comments below!

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