The Insider’s Guide to choosing cushions for your home and garden

A pile of cushions in bold colours, pretty pastels and eye catching prints can make or break your seating – both inside and outside your home. For me, accessorising the home with cushions is akin to finishing off your outfit with the perfect pair of shoes or a fabulous handbag. With the LBD (Little Black Dress) all sorted, it’s now a case of getting the accessories spot-on, depending on the occasion: metallic wedges and a bejewelled pouch for a vintage summer party or classic black heels and a satin clutch for a smart, work affair. The same can be said for your interior, and whether you’ve bought a new sofa that needs a decorative lift, or you fancy a quick seasonal refresh, a pile of new cushions can create a much-needed design statement – quickly, easily and for very little outlay if budget is tight. And that’s not forgetting our gardens either, outdoor benches, rattan seats and loungers can all be prettied up with a few durable and good-looking, waterproof and stain proof cushions so you can spend more quality time outside in the sun (more of that in a bit).

If you feel confident with your velvet bolsters and slub linens, just go for it, and create your very own personality-packed vibe. If not, here’s a few basic style rules for picking great cushions:

  1. How many?   Experts say an odd number works particularly well for a sofa. Choose five cushions in varying sizes and work in from the arms into the middle. But there are no hard and fast rules here and my sofa is home to four, beautiful, cushions (two velvet pads, one damask and one silk weave) that really make the duck-egg, blue fabric pop.
  2.  What filling?   Inexpensive, cushion pads use foam or a synthetic wadding which is firm and holds its shape but isn’t as inviting or squashy as a natural filling such as feather and down. Natural fillings will cost you more but they can be plumped up to look as good as new and will last longer than foam.
  3.  What colour and size?   Cushions shouldn’t match your sofa, and, in fact an eclectic, mix-and-match look will add volumes. Pick out your favourite colour palette – turquoise, silver and lavender for instance – and feel free to layer a bold stripe with a pretty floral and a block colour. Arrange the cushions and stand back to get the full effect. Remember to use a mix of small and large cushions for a comfortable yet stylised design tempo.

Buying Outdoor Cushions When the sun is shining, we all want to be outside as much as possible, right? And now you’ve chosen the perfect outdoor furniture, the next step is to pick out the perfect outdoor cushions. Choose from vibrant hues, jewel shades and coastal stripes, in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit patio chairs, loungers and benches as well as oversized floor cushions for a more relaxed, holiday-at-home vibe. Choosing the right material is crucial as outdoor cushions need to stand up to daily wear and tear, the sun’s rays as well as offer resistance to moisture and mildew. They need to be waterproof, weatherproof, UV resistant, comfortable and good looking to boot. Phew!

Never fear, as Bridgman’s outdoor cushions are made from a tough acrylic fabric that can be left outside all year round. Bridgman has a range of cushions which  are completely waterproof thanks to a special membrane and Teflon treated making them almost impossible to stain with coffee, biro and red wine. So you can enjoy a stress-free alfresco tipple in the garden, whatever the weather (and however many spillages are on the horizon!)

What sort of cushions do you like: neat and orderly, or great piles of different colours, prints and patterns? Please share your advice, tips and images below.

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