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How to Style Cushions: By Wendy Schmalkuche

By Katie Adams

Cushions are an easy and attractive way to add colour, patterns and contrast to any room, they can also be replaced without fuss whenever you’re after a new look.

If your anything like us we get a little confused when it comes to the of layering and styling we find it hard to create cohesion and flow in a room.  We have asked Wendy Schmalkuche the Property Stylist at Coco Republic to come in and give a few suggestions to help us get the cushion size, shape, patterns, colours and styling right.

There are no set rules when it comes to styling with cushions. Scatter cushions are a wonderful way to enhance any scheme from retro to Hamptons to classic contemporary with colour, pattern and texture. I’m a firm believer in changing cushions when they start to look tired and as fashion changes – they offer an instant update to a room when replaced.

When styling a sofa or bed, start with the larger cushions towards the back and layer with smaller cushions at the front. Larger cushions act as a backer on sofas for extra comfort. Alternatively, to allow enough space for people to sit on a sofa, simply add one or two of the same size on each side.

On a bed, the standard pillows should be at the back with European or larger pillows and finished with two accent cushions. We usually balance this look with a draped throw or upholstered bench at the end of a bed if space allows.

We love ‘blender’ cushions, being a larger back feather filled cushion in a lovely block colour or refined pattern, often with a metallic thread. They are made by an upholsterer and we love using them in our schemes.

We tend not to use too much colour when styling a property for sale, as it can be polarising, particularly in real estate photography. When we do incorporate colour into a scheme, we use versatile hues like indigo and mustard to enhance a neutral base. It is important to create a welcoming aesthetic, particularly for property styling, and soft, subtle accents of colour is a great way to do this.

I suggest investing in good quality feather filled cushions as polyester inserts have a tendency to lose their shape with wear. Coco Republic’s Miami Indoor Scatter range is understated and contemporary with a feather filled design.

We employ a styling tactic named the ‘Darren Palmer Chop’ when presenting a home. Simply, we karate chop the pillow in the top centre with our hands to create a 45 degree angle on each side. This only works on feather filled designs but offers a lived in feel.

Matching cushions can offer the same end result as mixing different patterns and styles. It really is a personal preference however I always recommend layering textures in a living space or bedroom. Soften a leather sofa with linen cushions or add detail to an upholstered fabric sofa with a balance of cotton and knitted designs.

When it comes to styling outdoors, I employ the ‘less is more’ principle. On an outdoor sofa, add a few cushions as accents and never more. Think of styling as enhancing the natural surroundings rather than creating a distinct focus.

Wendy Schmalkuche, Property Stylist, Coco Republic

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