The ultimate guide to buying cushions

The icing on your decor cake… cushions are your design secret weapon. Here’s how to use them to full effect in your home! 


The ultimate guide to buying cushions 

One of the cheapest and most effective ways to give your living room a quick update is to simply change your cushions. You will be amazed what a difference this can make to your living space.

Many couches often come with matching cushions, but unfortunately this means you end up with a big block of colour as the cushions all blend into the couch. The simple solution is to remove and replace.

Before you hit the shops, and to ensure you pick the right cushions for your space, you need to consider the following:


Selecting cushions based on colours that are already at play in your living room will ensure your space is coordinated and the cushions and items in the room don’t fight for attention. Living rooms are full of pattern and texture so review the colours in your artwork, rugs, furniture, vases and curtains and then choose cushions that complement these shades; this will help tie the room together.

How many?

The number of cushions for your couch depends on your style and preference.

If you like traditional rooms then stick to even numbers of cushions as this will give you a more symmetrical look. Odd numbers are best suited to eclectic or more modern rooms.

As a guide, opt for five cushions on a three-seater couch and four on a two-seater couch. If you have a single chair then stick to a single cushion.

Where to buy

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to cushions in New Zealand, with so many fabulous wholesalers releasing beautiful printed and textured cushions to enhance our space every season. To ensure you don’t end up with a bunch of cushions that don’t work, make sure you take your shopping list with the number of cushions needed, the size and ideal colours.

If you have a paint swatch or curtain fabric, take that with you; or if you are trying to match colours to an artwork, take a photo on your phone so you can refer to it in-store. A photo of your couch will also help retailers with recommendations. Some retailers are happy for you to take cushions on appro to try in your space, so do ask about this when shopping.


Shape & size

Before selecting a cushion size consider the scale of your couch. Bigger cushions look great on large-scaled couches with ample seating room. Small cushions on large couches can get lost, but keep cushions smaller on more delicate couches. To create visual interest on your couch opt for a mix of different shapes, sizes and textures.

Fabric choice

Fabric type plays an important role. Fur, wool, linen and velvet cushions all add great texture to a room, which is essential if you are sticking to a neutral colour palette. Select fabrics that are appropriate for their use; sturdy drill, canvas, velvet or heavy cotton will last the test of time while cushions made of more delicate fabrics, such as lace, are better suited to a bed.


Where to use them…

We believe you can never have too many cushions, and they shouldn’t just be restricted to the couch either. Cushions on a bed are awesome. Use a couple of cushions behind or in front of your pillows. Remember to play with textures, colours and prints to complement your bedlinen.

Besides the couch in your living room, consider having some floor cushions for lounging about with the kids or place them on a stool or chair. Rotate them around for different looks to keep things fresh.

If you are a keen entertainer and host regular dinner parties, ensure your guests are comfortable by adding a cushion to each chair. Cushions are also a great way to spruce up an office chair and add some personality.

Cushy tips

  • Don’t forget to reuse your cushion inners. If you buy good-quality ones the inners can be used for years and then it’s simply a case of buying new covers.
  • Think outside the square if you are planning to make your own cushion covers. If you have a favourite patterned tea towel which is too good to use, then sew it into a cushion.


Words by: Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by: Rachel Castle.
Additional photography by: Will Horner, Brett Stevens/

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