Interior Design - Decorating With Sofa Cushions

In my November Interior design post, Living Room Layouts I talked about furniture placement.  Following on from that I thought it might be useful to discuss decorating with sofa cushions.  There are those amongst us who are minimalists and prefer to go without cushions on the sofa.  But for some of us nothing says rest and relaxation quite like throwing ourselves into a sofa decorated with comfy cushions.  

I came across a video recently by the interior designer Kathryn Ireland where she shares her particular skills of decorating with sofa cushions.  Her style is relaxed, informal and cozy, all of which comes through with her liberal use of textiles and cushion arrangements.  

Kathryn begins with a neutral solid sofa and in this photo is placing a vintage wedding blanket from Pakistan across the back of the sofa, making sure to tuck it into the back and edges of the seat cushion.

Kathryn begins with a neutral solid sofa and in this photo is placing a vintage wedding blanket from Pakistan across the back of the sofa, making sure to tuck it into the back and edges of the seat cushion.

Kathryn then begins to add cushions - to maintain the right scale, balance and proportions, the largest 24" cushions are placed on either end to anchor the sofa and smaller 21" cushions are then grouped together, with a bolster placed in front. What I like about this arrangement is that 5 different textiles are used in combination, tied together with similar shades of sienna running through all the fabrics. The bolster has the same shade of embroidered thread woven in the fabric.  Although the bolster completes the look, it's probably the one that will be jettisoned so you can sit and get really comfortable.

Kathryn then begins to add cushions - to maintain the right scale, balance and proportions, the largest 24" cushions are placed on either end to anchor the sofa and smaller 21" cushions are then grouped together, with a bolster placed in front. What I like about this arrangement is that 5 different textiles are used in combination, tied together with similar shades of sienna running through all the fabrics. The bolster has the same shade of embroidered thread woven in the fabric.  Although the bolster completes the look, it's probably the one that will be jettisoned so you can sit and get really comfortable.

I'm totally digging the eclectic look of this selection of cushions, made with various antique textiles and Kathryn's own hand-made fabrics for her collection.  As before, it comes down to scale, balance and proportion - here a total of 7 distinct patterns in this furniture grouping are all brought together by pairs of coordinating sofa cushions and a striking Suzani print used on the pair of side chairs.

I'm totally digging the eclectic look of this selection of cushions, made with various antique textiles and Kathryn's own hand-made fabrics for her collection.  As before, it comes down to scale, balance and proportion - here a total of 7 distinct patterns in this furniture grouping are all brought together by pairs of coordinating sofa cushions and a striking Suzani print used on the pair of side chairs.

Rather than the karate chop down the middle of each cushion made popular in the 80's by the California interior designer Michael Taylor, Kathryn prefers to literally throw her cushions onto the sofa so they fall naturally.  As Kathryn states, "they shouldn't be perfect and your character should come through..." ok - seems to work.  We both share a preference for 10/90 down/feather cushion-fill with high quality feather and down, which makes them plush, comfy and perfect for lying around on.

Rather than the karate chop down the middle of each cushion made popular in the 80's by the California interior designer Michael Taylor, Kathryn prefers to literally throw her cushions onto the sofa so they fall naturally.  As Kathryn states, "they shouldn't be perfect and your character should come through..." ok - seems to work.  We both share a preference for 10/90 down/feather cushion-fill with high quality feather and down, which makes them plush, comfy and perfect for lying around on.

The grey painted walls makes this room look less cottage-y than Kathryn's typical style, but still has a very relaxed vibe enhanced by an abundance of cushions and loose sofa covers.

The grey painted walls makes this room look less cottage-y than Kathryn's typical style, but still has a very relaxed vibe enhanced by an abundance of cushions and loose sofa covers.

A more contemporary setting where a grouping of several cushions still works...

A more contemporary setting where a grouping of several cushions still works...

along with a patterned throw placed casually across the back of the sofa

along with a patterned throw placed casually across the back of the sofa

To bring instant individuality and style to your living room seek out unusual and/or vintage fabrics that can be made into cushions and throws. Using one dominant color throughout will pull the whole look together - as you can see here complementary shades of red do the trick!

To bring instant individuality and style to your living room seek out unusual and/or vintage fabrics that can be made into cushions and throws. Using one dominant color throughout will pull the whole look together - as you can see here complementary shades of red do the trick!

A selection of needlepoint textiles made into cushions

A selection of needlepoint textiles made into cushions

Kathryn Ireland relaxes surrounded by some of her favorite signature fabrics

Kathryn Ireland relaxes surrounded by some of her favorite signature fabrics