The secret behind combining cushions – forget the ‘musts’

A common occurrence I see in homes is that individuals try to colour coordinate their interiors in every little last detail. Typically, I see close to identical colours in cushions, throws, chairs, sofas, kitchens, stools, vases, candles and other accessories. I guess the common mindset is that you should colour coordinate your interiors to display good taste and style. There are definitely those who pull this off amazingly well, but the general risk of going down this path is that your interiors could look somewhat cold and unwelcoming.

So exactly how do you get a good combination of cushions? Well, the great secret to combining your interiors is to mix them differently and expand the horizon beyond the well known.

To be more precise, you actually don’t have to follow the same colours or patterns your current interiors have. For an example, a couple of weeks ago I was at a prestigious Remuera home in Auckland where the most suitable cushions for their living room as a matter of fact weren’t at all in line with the current colours of their modern interior. Instead, the cushions that worked the best were the once with the colour scheme taken from the outside! I added a handful of green cushions to their couch, all in different sizes, textures and pattern, to work in coherence with the green trees on their property (seen everywhere in their living, dining and kitchen areas through massive windows from floor to ceiling). It was a huge surprise to the owner to see how well the green cushions work in their home. The green cushions tied in stunningly well with the landscape and instantly made the modern space more alive and inviting. Try for yourself, you might just get surprised!

After that experience I went home to my own house where I added an ink blue velvet cushion to my kids’ sofa which otherwise only has a mix of lighter colours. The stark colour contrast had a rather amazing visual affect. Just that single, fairly small (35x50), ink blue cushion amongst the others gave the couch a whole new, more premium look. I’m sold when it comes to breaking up the norm!

My conclusion about combining cushions is:

  • You don’t have to have cushions or accessories in set of two. One-off pieces can be more charming.
  • Cushions work really well together even when they have different textures.
  • Cushions often look more inviting when you mix sizes. It is also more convenient as you have more options to lean back on.
  • Cushions can have different colours, or even same colour scale but different nuances.
  • Dare to have fun and mix things up! You could work with a few base colours in your house and try to get them to work coherently together and potentially throw the odd one in that breaks it up completely or you could even dare to mix it a bit further with lots of different colours and styles. Enjoy!


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