What Types, Sizes, Shapes and Colours of Cushions Are Available?

Terry Baskeyfield | Posted

Once you start looking for cushions, you'll find there's such a wide variety of different sizes, shapes, colours and textures it seems that it's almost unlimited. The ways you use those cushions for accents is only limited by your imagination. Here are a few of the various choices you have when choosing the perfect cushions for your décor.

Types of Decorative Cushions

There are four primary types of decorative cushions with the possible addition of shams and traditional pillows added to the mix for the bedroom. The four types are throw cushions, bolster, lumbar and box.

Throw cushions are normally square, rectangular or triangular. They're far wider and taller than they are thick. These are the traditionally popular decorative cushions you immediately think of when you hear the words decorative cushions. They can have innumerable embellishments such as embroidery, buttons or sequins and can be made from almost any type of material. The type of filling helps dictate the price, with down filling costing more than polyester.

Bolster cushions are the long tubular “Tootsie Roll” cushions. However, even though long and cylindrical is the standard, there are long box-like rectangular shapes, long wedges and long flat rectangular shapes too. These cushions are used for back and neck support and are good for larger sofas and beds.

Lumbar cushions are just what the name implies, cushions for back support. They can be especially designed for function only or be used as a decorative addition to your home that's also functional. Lumbar cushions are not just for the home, but also used in vehicles to provide additional support for the seat. While you might consider a decorative addition for your car, most of these are created specifically for the design of the seat and are more functional than fanciful. Some lumbar cushions used for decorating are primarily for décor, rather than back support.

Box cushions aren't always the shape of a box and do include round cushions. These, however, always have an actual side between the top and bottom, rather than just the top and bottom stitched together. These are extremely decorative and often the interest point of a cushion gathering.

Size and Their Uses

There are huge cushions (think decorative body pillows) that can cover the arm of even a larger sofa and be the only ones that you'll need, unless you want to add very small cushions as accents. However, most cushions range between 61 cm (24”) and 41 cm 16” with the average standard square size approximately 46 cm (18”). Choosing the right size cushion can make a difference between your sofa, chair or bed looking out of place and the perfect blend for the room.

Larger square and rectangular cushions are used toward the outside of the sofa or back of the headboard on a bed. They create the base from which you work for the rest of the design create by smaller cushions. Larger cushions are also ideal for the back of a daybed. You can use several rectangular or square ones to create a back and matching cushions for the armrests. Fill in the area in front with a grouping of cushions using different sizes and shapes to add interest.

Small cushions are the more decorative portion of many groupings. They may provide the colour, glitz or pattern to act as the cohesiveness for the group. When you want just a touch of colour, using neutral tones for larger cushions and brightly coloured smaller cushions is often the solution.

Shapes of Cushions

There's a cornucopia of shapes for decorative cushions. Triangular, tubular, box shaped, rectangular, round or perfectly square are a few, with square being the most common. While cushions have always been a popular addition to decorating, today, they're even more so. With people moving more frequently into apartments and the cost of other decorating methods becoming more expensive, creating just the right look with cushions is a low cost solution to create a stylish look.

While the most versatility comes from using the more traditional shapes or themed cushions, which can add just the right touch to your living room, bedroom or child's room. A star or cloud shaped cushion might be a good option for a child's room or a great accent for a living room if it fits with a theme you're using. If you're going “Hollywood” for the bedroom, a shimmering gold star cushion could be one of the interest points for the bed. Also consider how romantic heart shaped cushions could be for the bedroom.

Keeping or Creating Your Colour Scheme with Cushions

Just like shapes, cushions now come in a plethora of colours. If you want a specific colour, we make it easier at Terrys Fabrics by allowing you to sort by colour. Under that heading, you'll not only find solids of a specific colour, but patterns with it as the primary tone. While shape and different types of cushions create interest and polish, it's to no avail unless you have a cohesive colour scheme. Even if your chair uses just one cushion as an accessory, it should be from the same colour scheme as the ones on the couch. Find your colour scheme and stick to it, whether using solids, patterns or combinations.

There are three primary types of colour schemes, complementary (contrasting colours, such as red and green), monochromatic (one colour, different shades) and analogous (three colours next to each other on the colour wheel, such as pale blue, green and lime.) Other types include split complementary, which uses the primary colour, complementary colour and one of the colours beside the complementary colour (magenta, pale green and red or peach), triad (three colours equal distances from each other on the colour wheel such as purple, coral and green.) One very popular colour scheme is to use neutral tones with one splash of colour for drama or warmth, which might include a black and white décor with a bold red. Each has brings life to a room and carries its qualities to set the room's ambiance.

Final Things to Consider When Choosing a Cushion

Texture plays an important role in keeping the room interesting. Whether you're looking for heavily textured cushions, those with subtle nubs or smooth silky finishes, having at least one or two with different types of texturing can add depth to the décor and create tactile enjoyment.

Some cushions have embellishments, which include buttons, frills, sequins and even embroidery. Using the right type of cushion with an embellishment that achieves your goal can provide the professional look you hoped to achieve. Be aware that not all embellishments allow the cushion to be as comfortable as it should be, so take care in the placement of those types of cushions.

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