Throws and cushions can make a major difference to the way an entire room looks. Not only do they help to add a characterful touch of charming colour and texture, but they can really enhance your relaxation at home and make the whole space seem that bit more welcoming and homely.
However, choosing the right soft furnishings often takes careful consideration and forethought. Cushions and throws can greatly complement the aesthetic of a room(so long as they’re carefully chosen), so it’s important to have a good idea of just what you’re looking for and how they will fit into the overall ambience of your home.
To help you find the perfect throws and cushions for your home, we’ve compiled a quick and simple buying guide. Here, you’ll find useful tips and hints on what to look for and what to consider when buying these cosy additions.
Questions to consider when buying cushions and throws
It’s especially important to work out in advance what you want from your soft furnishings and what purpose they’re intended to serve in your home. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you buy:
• What style is best suited to the look of your home? When choosing cushions and throws, it’s essential that they form part of a coherent overall aesthetic. The style you choose should help to harmonise and draw the room together, rather than making it look higgledy-piggledy.
• How should you layer your chosen furnishings? Effective layering can help to bring out visual contrasts and create interesting focal points. Think about how you might create an effective base layer to bring those contrasts of colour and pattern between your cushions and throws to the fore, how to build up layer by layer and how the different elements might work effectively together.
• What sort of texture are you looking for? Cushions and throws are available in a wide range of different materials (such as cotton, linen and wool) and fillings (e.g. down, feather and hollow fibre), as well as coming in an eclectic variety of patterns. You need to consider their texture as well as their visual appearance.
• What will you be using them for? Throws and cushions can have a number of different purposes. You need to think about whether you’ll be using them primarily for their decorative effect or whether you’ll be using them to relax on. If the latter, then you’ll need a durable cushion with a washable cover. For decorative cushions, it’s worth investing in fancier and more expensive options.
How to choose throws and cushions to complement your sofa
Your sofa provides perhaps the main focal point of your room, so when buying cushions and throws it’s important to think carefully about how these will work together. Using your sofa as the foundation can be a really good way of getting the overall look you’re trying to achieve. Some sofas come with standard cushions, but a lot of the time these aren’t very interesting to look at and you can easily find better ones.
Brightly coloured and patterned designs can prove particularly effective at livening up a room with a pale or plain sofa, but if your sofa is already boldly patterned, you may be better off opting for more muted colours and styles when choosing your throws and cushions. You should also give some thought to how and where you position them, as this can have a significant bearing on their overall visual effectiveness.
A good contrast of shapes and sizes can add visual interest to a room, so don’t be afraid to experiment with how you arrange them. It may also be a good idea to keep some cushions stored away at any one time, so you can chop and change the arrangement periodically (perhaps seasonal changes could work well). This should help to keep things fresh and interesting.
Looking after your throws and cushions
To ensure that your cushions and throws retain their colour, character and charm over the long term, you’ll need to take good care of them. Decorative cushions will require less maintenance because they’re not being used for other purposes, such as being rested against or sat on. These should only need cleaning when they’ve been on display for a while.
Cushions which are subject to regular use will need to have their covers removed and cleaned more frequently. So long as these cushions have quality fillings, they should provide you with years of reliable and comfortable use – though again, it’s a good idea to have a variety of styles so that you can swap them around every so often. Quality fillings can outlast covers by quite a while, so if the cover has seen better days or you’re simply a bit bored of it, you should be able to easily replace it with a new one.
Throws which are subject to frequent usage will need regular washing and care to ensure that they retain their looks. How frequently your throw needs washing will depend on how you use it and if you have pets around the home (if you do, it’ll need cleaning every couple of weeks). Otherwise, you should be able to make do with washing it approximately once a month.
Before putting your throw into the wash, always make sure you check the label first. Some throws are dry-clean only, so make sure that yours isn’t prior to putting it in the washing machine. When washing, be careful not to go overboard with softener or detergent, as this can cause the fibres to break down more rapidly.