One of the straws that broke the camel’s back for me, the main reason I started this blog, was a completely useless Instagram Q&A held by a celeb designer. It was after that Q&A that I came up with the idea of The Basic Principle to hopefully give people some answers to questions that nobody seemed to be giving.
I've had a rant about this already, so we shan't bore with old details, but basically he opened the forum, people asked questions and he gave some pretty shitty answers. One of the shitty answers he gave was to a lady who asked about scatter cushions.
It wasn't a very hard question, but the answer he gave made it sound like she had asked him to choose which of his children he would rather suffocate with said scatter cushion.
I seriously still think about her today, and how she now probably has a house full of ill-sized and uncomfortable scatter cushions cos she doesn't know any better, and he couldn't be arsed to help her.
So this one is for you Ma'am and anyone else who is also stuffed when it comes to scatters.
1) Size? Whilst this is almost like asking how long is a piece of string, below are the sizes that I apply to literally 99% of all the scatter cushions I have made.
Sofas: W55cm x H55cm. This size works for every sofa, every time.
If you are however keen to vary the size of a sofa cushion, I generally go narrower. So for an armchair or similar, I would usually cut a bit off the top and do something like W55cm x H35cm. That creates a good rectangular cushion that just cradles your back when you sit.
Beds: You want to go bigger. A W65cm x H65cm cushion works on its own on a single bed, or two side by side on a Double/King.
Just as there is nothing worse than too many scatters on a bed, too much negative space around them makes things look a little cheap and temporary.
If you aren't keen on square cushions on a bed, and are feeling the oblong vibe, this is a little formula that I follow:
Single bed: Width of mattress minus 30cm.
Double bed: Width of mattress minus 40cm.
King size bed: Width of the mattress minus 50cm.
Super king bed: Width of the mattress minus 60cm.
In all instances, the height of the cushion is 40cm.
2) Like a personality, it's what's on the inside that counts, and what counts is having a soft, malleable cushion. You only get that with a feather-and-down down or a good down synthetic (for all you vegans). A rigid foam inner that bounces back into place is one, un-bloody-comfortable, and two, looks cheap. Which it probably is, because that's what usually comes thrown in for free when you buy a cushion cover.
Toss it and go for feather.
3) Circling back around to size, the right size cushion inner is as important as the cushion cover. As a general rule, you want your inner to be 5cm bigger than the cover. This will give you fat, plump cushions. Example, if you want a W55 x H55cm cushion for your sofa, you will need a W60 x H60cm cushion inner.
Anything less is like an AA boob in a DD bra – a little roomy, and let's be honest, disappointing for everyone involved.
4) To chop or not to chop? I say chop. Sue me.
The idea of chopping a cushion is to create the impression (no pun intended) that your cushions are so soft, so voluptuous and so luxurious that they can't actually stay square or rigid. So whilst the idea of karate chopping the centre to create two bunny ears is well and truly a thing of the past, creating a few folds and bends in your cushion is a good thing. The title image above is legitimately the perfect example. It's the little side folds you are after.
When it comes how I like to chop, I lay my cushion flat, making sure it’s perfectly square and even. I then scissor chop the left and the right hand sides at the same time so you create an X shape (with a bit of imagination). I then lift the cushion into place and chop down lightly into the centre point, as if you were going the good ol' bunny ear route. Then, to even it all out a bit, punch it once in the middle.
Try it! A swift 3 step move that will change your life.
5) How many is too many? We have all heard the joke that every straight husband on earth has made at some point or another:
"My missus has so many scatter cushions that it takes me at least 45 minutes to take them all off before I'm allowed to get into bed"
Alright Dave, it's not 2004. Things have changed a little. It’s less is more in 2020, so take note.
On a bed, it’s either the following:
a) 1x oblong
b) 2x W65 x H65
c) 2x W65 x H65, with an small oblong or smaller W55 x H55 sitting in front.
On a sofa, it's a little more of a free for all. But here are some good options:
a) 1 pair of cushions - One for either end.
b) 1 pair of cushions and a random 3rd – one for either end, and the random in the middle.
c) 2 pairs of cushions. Each pair different from the other. This is good for sofas 2m or longer.
d) 3 matching cushions all in a row.
e) All random, non-matching cushions.
This being said, you never want to split a pair of cushions unless they are being used for two armchairs. So if you have three pairs of cushions and only two sofas, one sofas has to get two pairs, and the other only one.
God forbid you have multiples of the same cushion and you put one on every sofa/armchair. Your lounge starts to look like a sponsored advert if every sofa has one of the same cushions on them.
6) Armchairs work in pairs genially. So what you do to one, do to the other. I mention above the size that works for most armchairs (W55 x H35cm) There is nothing wrong with going square here too, however rather don't have scatter cushions on an armchair if you aren't sure. A blanket folded over the back is sometimes all you need, and probably cheaper too.
7) Scatter cushions are sprinkles and the cherry on top. Yes they are the ultimate optional extra, but a shit cherry can ruin the perfect sundae. I am going to do a blog on colour and pattern next, but the point of scatter cushions is help layer a space. Like the image below of the row of green velvet cushions, there is nothing wrong with repeating yourself, but you want to make sure the cushions you choose are doing more to help add depth and character to a space rather than just become blobs on your bed or sofa.
8) Going the custom made route is by far the best. To a certain degree, you should be able to find the size cushions I have mentioned in high street stores, or online, but going custom means that the world is your oyster.
If budget doesn’t allow, try a 50/50 split between store bought and custom. That way you are still able to get the exact colours and patterns you are after from the custom route, but you can then fill the gaps with a few off the shelf cushions at a lesser cost.