Cushion Comforts

My burgeoning collection of bench cushions (I even had the lampshades custom made to match the grainsack and florals from by the beautiful Anita

My love of my Kate Forman, Cabbages and Roses and Susie Watson cushions is not filed under my poker face folder. Cushions are the heart of the home…oh no, that’s kitchens, ok, cushions are the hug of the home. I almost defy you to find a photo of a country cottage that doesn’t have cushions somewhere in shot. Albeit, perhaps not the bathroom (although that’s a thought… maybe I NEED to add to my collection with some outdoor cushions for the BATHROOM… hum…), but bedrooms, sitting rooms, kitchens, hallways: they all bravely sport our (maybe just mine) cushion passion.

They are the epitome of cosiness and comfort (that isn’t a bed), you fall into them, cuddle them, are supported by them, hug them (just me?) and most importantly THEY LOOK BEAUTIFUL.

Susie Watson and Kate Forman cushions with Cabbages and Roses curtains

The humble, small rectangle (square or oblong I discovered this week in home schooling year 3 maths) can pull an entire room scheme together with one fell plump. Oh the power! *Cushions also come in other shapes but we have been focusing on parallel lines this week. See Rachel Ashwell’s gorgeous round plumposities for other shape suggestions.

When I am taking photos and it just doesn’t look quite right, I very often find that a small cushion just finishes the picture (and covers the holes in the oak floors/ Tea stain on the carpet that has been there for a good few months now / the ripped “I only got this re-upholstered at Christmas!!!” antique chair).

This mighty interior (and exterior) powerhouse can soothe a soul and also cause massive friction “but Mummy!!!!! Why do you have cushions on the sofa if you don’t want us kicking them?”, “I wasn’t chewing it, it just fell into my mouth” (3 months of lockdown and they are pretty feral now). My husband worries about which cushions he is allowed to sit on and I have been caught in flagrante yelling at the children “BUT I JUST ZHUHZED ALL THOSE CUSHIONS ON THAT SOFA!!!! I TOLD YOU NOT TO SIT ON IT!!!! I WANTED IT TO LOOK GLORIOUS FOR OUR GUESTS” by the guests walking through the front door. What a fabulous greeting from such a welcoming and clearly deranged and evil mother hostess.

Christmas cosiness with dark green and red tartans

The last thing that I would like to add before I hand over to the professionals in the case against husbands for cosy country cushions is that you can change them depending upon the season which can totally transform the look of the room.

You see? Entirely different room because of the summery colours and floral cushions…and maybe lack of Christmas tree..

Dusky Pink Sprig cushion gifted from

I thought I would ask a few of my favourite cushion designers for their thoughts on why cushions help to make a country cottage aesthetic. Kate Forman designs make the most beautiful fabrics (the curtains in my living room are her glorious roses design) she began by designing fabrics based on 19th Century French textiles and now includes more global/ ethnic designs. Her creations sit beautifully in an English home, creating a relaxing, timeless enchanting ambience. I asked Kate why she thinks cushions help to create the country cottage style:

“You can never have enough cushions in my opinion! An abundance of soft squashy pattern and colour thrown over every sofa or bed brings an informality and a relaxed atmosphere so suited to the country cottage style.

I sincerely hope my designs bring a feeling of constant joy, be they a sumptuous pair of curtains or a simple shade or cushion” .

I also spoke to Sugar and Spice Furnishings who use all my favourite fabric companies (including Kate Forman, Cabbages and Roses, Sarah Hardaker, Ian Mankin, Susie Watson, Peony and Sage, Cloth & Clover) Maria collaborates with many talented British makers ensuring that every product is of the highest standard and the most sumptuous designs.

“I think cushions are an easy way to add instant style to a room, adding a few beautiful floral and check cushions  in various sizes can add a new look without necessarily the need to redecorate. Our new collection of Constance  cushions with fabric from Colefax and Fowler with coordinating check or linen backs have a real traditional old English home feel to it.  Whereas a mix of soft linen florals and stripes in a mixture of Cabbages and Roses linens lends itself to a soft country cottage feel.

My favourite fabric has to be Kate Forman’s ‘Roses’ and I have it throughout my home in various colours on cushions, lighting, upholstery, curtains and blinds.”

I love using grainsack cushions which I have picked up from ebay, etsy, and antique shops. Little Thimble Handmade makes similar cushions (and amazing bags!) and explains:

“The humble French grain sack with its agricultural beginnings, for me, is the epitome of country life. These rustic sacks tell tales of a simpler time, the stripes were the farmers signature, a way of identifying his own sacks when he took his grain to the mill. Some have embroidered monograms and hand stitched repair patches from a time when things were reused and not thrown away.

When repurposed into home décor items, vintage French grain sacks bring accents of rural charm into an English country home, whether made into cushions or table runners they make simple yet stylish accessories, and I love the fact they have a history so intrinsically linked to the countryside.”

It’s not just indoors that gets to enjoy the comfort of cushions, I also have a propensity to throw these bastions of relaxation around outside with gay abandon. I am quite often asked where I got my pallet seating bench cushions from: these were part of the Loaf Twopack daybed but you can buy similar though Amazon which can remain outdoors.

Just little old me wafting past more cushions © Period Living Magazine May 2020

Far easier than screaming like a fishwife at the whole family in a call to arms to collect in all the cushions at the first spot of rain. I thought I should speak to a couple of companies that actually make outdoor cushions (the horses next door would be delighted if I gave up dragging the indoors outdoors and shouting a lot).

Weaver Green are a company that I have been following for a while, I love their use of recycling plastic in their creation of beautiful wool-like cushions, rugs and blankets that are “hand-woven for a luxurious, traditional look and yet, because they are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, they’re more than capable of standing up to those inevitable summer showers”.

I asked them why cushions helped to create a cosy cottage outdoor space and they explained: “One thing lockdown has really highlighted for us is that our gardens and home outdoor spaces are absolutely sacred. We’re committed to making outdoors every bit as comfortable and inviting as inside, after all, British summertime is fleeting and unpredictable so it’s best to make the most of it!

Country Abodes are another wonderful company that I discovered through Instagram because of their collection of glorious cushions. Their quintessentially British collection includes cushions and  lampshades, made from the most beautiful tweed and printed linen fabrics.

“Our outdoor cushions really can be left outside. They are water resistant, and the fabric is designed to repel water. But as they are water resistant not water proof, if left out in a real down pour water will eventually get through, but the fabric is designed to dry super fast should that happen. The fabric is also UV, mould and stain resistant too.

I believe cushions can help create a country cottage feel, because using eclectic country style fabrics such as tweeds, stripes and florals together can create a classic, inviting country style. For me the key is to use the right fabrics together for the room to evoke the country feel.

There are so many fabrics which are favourites, but I’m always drawn to stripes and spots and natural looking fabrics such as the grain sack fabrics. To me they are classics. which can be mixed and matched which lots of other fabrics very easily, and it’s a style with longevity”.

In conclusion your honour: Softness, effortless style, relaxation and comfort. Actually these are all the qualities that I sought when creating our english country cottage; all nestled into the humble cushion. Boom! See what I did there??!!! The case for the defence rests.

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