Back to Basics: Cushion Styling

JAN 08|3 min read

From the living room to the bedroom, we teach you how to choose & style cushions like a pro.  

Don’t get overwhelmed by choice – we're sharing our expert cushion tips & tricks!

We have a real love affair with cushions – that’s why we have such a massive range of colours, fabrics, sizes, shapes and more. With that in mind, we can understand why staring up at our wall of cushions in-store can be a bit daunting. To help make the process of picking your perfect cushions a little easier, we’ve put together this extensive guide.

Before jumping in, all we ask is that you know which of your rooms need a cushion makeover. Cushions instantly create softness and comfort, so they naturally suit cosy rooms like bedrooms and living rooms – but this guide will work just as well for home offices and outdoor areas.

From understanding your style to picking colours and fabrics, here’s everything you need to make the right pick:

Step one: understand your aesthetic

Before you start styling, it’s vital that you have a clear understanding of your space. Walk around your room making note of all the different colours you see, including wall paint, art, furniture – even curtains and blinds. If there are already a few colours in your space, plan to include at least two of them in your cushions to create a cohesive look.

The timber of your furniture is an important factor, as walnut and other dark woods look best with cool tones, and light woods like oak look best with warm tones.

While you’re looking at your room, take a moment to consider the aesthetic style your space already has. If you’ve got a maximalist look with lots of art and decor, your room will be able to carry a bold pop of colour without looking unbalanced. Meanwhile, a soft, neutral space will suit gentle colours and a more low-key cushion look.



Step two: play the numbers game

Let the style of your room dictate how many cushions you choose to use. Using the work you did in step one, decide whether you want to create a traditional or a modern look with your accessories. This is important, as even numbers lend themselves to traditional spaces. For example, a traditional lounge room will often feature a pair of cushions at either end of the couch.

However, the eye prefers odd numbers - which is why you’ll usually see decor pieces grouped in threes. For a modern space, you might like to do a row of three cushions on your bed, with a long rectangle cushion in the front.

Your furniture will also play an important role here. Two-seater couches and single beds look better with fewer cushions, while a big four-seater couch or king bed will still look balanced with six or seven cushions. For medium-size couches we like to split the difference and do two groups of cushions; three on one end, and two on the other.




Insider Tip:

Shhh...we have a secret shortcut to getting a cohesive-looking cushion trio. Pair a plain cushion, a textured cushion, and a patterned cushion together – all in the same colour scheme. For example, sage green cushions in plain linen, boucle, and checks. 

Step three: find your colour scheme

Congrats, you now know how many cushions you need to select! When it comes to colour, you have a few options up your sleeve.

If you have a minimalist or Scandi-inspired room, choose one of the colours in your space and pick shades of that colour in different patterns. For example, if you have pinks in your living room, you could choose blush, terracotta and white cushions in a mix of stripes and plain.

If you have more of a mid-century or maximalist space, make a colour palette that includes two of the colours in your room plus a burst of rich accent colour. For example, a space with dark woods and deep greens will look great with a jewel-toned cushion or two.

If you’re totally lost and facing a blank canvas, a mix of cushions in tan, grey, white, black, and latte will always look chic.



Step four: pick contrasting textures

Layer up on textures to instantly create visual interest – all while keeping the look on-trend. We love pairing plain, smooth fabrics with tufted designs, boucle, faux fur, embroidery and more. Playing around with textures is particularly important if you’re keeping within a strict colour scheme, in order to break up the monotony. You can add texture even to plain cushions by choosing ones with tassels.

Don’t forget, different textures lend themselves to different aesthetics. Do your best to pick fabrics that suit your lifestyle, and the effect you’re trying to create. For example, linen reads as light, airy and summery, while velvet reads as classic, warm, and cosy.

We love picking at least one cushion in a silk, velvet, or metallic thread, to add a subtle sheen that draws the eye.




Insider Tip:

Incorporate another texture with a throw. Throws with tassels or crafted from linen will add the extra dimension you’re looking for. Just make sure you pick one in a shade that suits your colour palette. 

Step five: banish matchy matchy

Last, but by no means least, prevent your look from feeling very “noughties” or one-note by varying the shapes and sizes of your cushions. A row of matching square cushions will give your room a stuffy, outdated look. Instead, opt for a few different shapes and play around with scale.

A trio of cushions in squares, rectangles and rounds will always look chic and cool, even if they’re all in the same colour. Opt for one of the cushions to be in linen and you’ve nailed this season’s style.

If you’ve got two square cushions together, make one of them your texture or make one of the squares larger than the other. Even better, pair a large plain square with a smaller textured square to stop them looking too same-same.

Your bed is the perfect place to play around with scale. We love making a bed with two European cushions at the back to create height, and three cushions at the front to create levels that draw the eye. Top the whole look off with a slim rectangle or round cushion in front of the trio to add an extra shape.



FY23-Ask Us-Logo-charcoal.png

We're here to help. 

Whether you’re accessorising your bed, armchair or sofa, we know how to how to create a cosy and calm space with colour.

Head in-store with a picture of your space and let our expert team provide tailored advice.

Get endless inspiration with Adairs Insider:


DEC 20|3 min read

Easy Ways to Add Colour into Your Home

Read more


DEC 19|3 min read

How to Find Your Perfect Sheets

Read more