Illustrations by James Gulliver Hancock.
Is a sofa truly a sofa without cushions? We’re in the ‘not quite’ camp. And we happen to believe you can tell a lot about a person by the particular way they pick and position their cushions. Uncover the style that describes you best.
Finally there’s a name for the style of home furnishing you’ve favoured for years – all thanks to the Danes and their necessary knack for nesting. In fact, your sofa really is starting to resemble a feathered nest, with its vast array of soft, smooshy and tactile cushions that make wintry evenings at home a soul-enhancing experience. Add scented candles, a cashmere throw and The Killing on Netflix, and you’d happily hibernate until the beginning of October.
Next investment: In keeping with the Scandi vibe, you’re considering a couple of Funkis and Marimekko pieces, in the more muted shades, although you’ll need to purchase online because going out to get them would require changing out of your soft woven merino leggings. And someone needs to keep the open fire stoked.
Pity the visitor who admires your sofa styling, and asks where they might pick up some similar pieces in painted silks, batiks and ikat print. Because yours is a collection that’s been curated over many years of world travel. Parisian flea markets, Portobello Road, souks and bazaars have been a rich seam of furnishing finds and the resulting aesthetic is fiercely individual. Every cushion tells a story, and if the scattering of each piece looks artistically haphazard, it’s only because you devote ten minutes daily (before hot yoga and after Headspace) to very carefully mussing them up, ensuring complementary colours and contrasting clashing metallic accents remain side by side, and that some are angled, some straight for a visually striking tableau. As though Gustav Klimt or Paul Klee worked exclusively in scatter cushions.
Next investment: If a trip to Morocco is in the works, you’ll be coming home with a batch made from antique kilims. For now, the ‘Seeker’ floor cushion from Pony Rider will bring a fresh Aztec vibe and provide another seating option at your next arty soiree.
So many of the cushions on offer err towards the plump and squashy, it can be difficult to source pieces that match a room designed around geometric lines, hard edges and intimidatingly clean surfaces. But with your preference for interiors nearly Teutonic in nature, you’re not one to compromise and let anything “comfy” muddy the room’s visual effect. So far, leather has proven most trustworthy, with its ability to retain shape, and stiff cotton bolsters stuffed to bursting point do stand up against the assault of guests presuming to sit on the B&B Italia sofa which, to be clear, is intended more as a showpiece. Whenever you pass through, you’ll pause for a quick, business-like straightening of any pillow that’s listed almost imperceptibly to the left, and feel instantly calmer when the correction has been made. Although occasionally, while sitting bolt upright for the duration of a particularly gruelling German-language film (run time, 240 minutes), you’ve thought about lowering your standards just enough to incorporate a single soft furnishing, if your sitting room is going to make the cover of Architectural Digest, there’s simply no relaxing of the rules.
Next investment: Judging by your internet browsing history, a Muuto ‘Tile’ cushion from Living Edge (think ruler-straight pattern and a chic mustard colourway) will be joining the current edit soon.
If you can’t get to the Hamptons, you can bring the Hamptons to you via elegant East Coast-style accessorising of your soft-seating options. Thanks to a growing collection from Ralph Lauren Home – nautical stripes, trimmed linens and cable knits – that you’ve worked back with crisp cottons in off-whites and cricket-jersey creams, a person could forget they’re not actually in Nantucket (or even better, on set of a Nancy Meyers movie). You’ll be arranging your starched set on the diagonal corners facing upwards – current fashion for a mess-heap of scrunched linen cushions be damned. Cushions plumped neatly across an overstuffed sofa mix back with refined pieces on twin slipper chairs and prized leather club armchairs. As per Northern Hemisphere tradition, you perform a seasonal overhaul, exchanging the summer linens for dark, cosy furs in winter. Because as any WASP with a shingled beach house would tell you, no white after Labour Day.
Next investment: To keep the collection fresh, you’re always first in the door when Sheridan releases a new range, and you’ve been umming-and-ahhing about a Timothy Oulton American flag cushion from Coco Republic. The perfect finishing touch, or overkill for suburban Melbourne?
Simple & Refined
Your preference for natural fibres, vegetable dyed linens, woven hemps and washed chambrays, faded to perfection, marks you out as a person of uncomplicated taste, with an eye to eco-friendliness. Could you actually imagine accessorising your verandah daybed or rustic hammock chair with a cotton percale? Frankly not. How would so stiff and formal a fabric even fit into your preferred arrangement – the very definition of déshabillé, artfully disordered, casual, almost careless (except of course, much care is put into it, especially prior to your #sundaymorning Insta shot). And between laundering the covers with unscented coconut soap and pegging out in a summer breeze (quick, snap and post that, too!) you’ve been researching artisanal dyeing methods, involving beetroot and quantities of bark, for the time you can quit your day job as a hedge fund manager, move to the country and launch your own line of 100 per cent organic sheeting.
Next investment: Linen purveyor Cultiver has become an obsession lately, the only downside of which is trying to choose from its 14 shades of pre-washed woven European flax linen cushion covers. Dusk? Smoke Grey? Indigo or Olive? Perhaps a little lie-down to clear the mind would help.
If you’ve ever woken from a Sunday afternoon sofa kip with a faint imprint of sequins on one cheek, chances are your cushion style skews feminine. Fur, lace-trimmed or beaded, velvets and pretty florals arranged with care and an eye to welcoming depth make your living space an exemplar of ladylike style. And wait till you see the bedroom – at least 15 minutes must be spent stowing the vast selection of throw pillows and scatter cushions on the chaise lounge before the bed becomes accessible. In both rooms, you’re careful to administer the ‘chop’, which creates a fortune cookie-like dent in the centre of each cushion, to keep the display on trend, and prevent it from looking too fussy or girlish. Inspired, of course, by the interiors sites you pore over in your free time. Although your boyfriend has lingering concerns about the set-up, fearing emasculation by interiors, the only functional issue with a feminine design note is remembering to zizz on the velvet ones so as to minimise risk to your facial dermis.
Next investment: Although you’re not exactly lacking in the cushion department presently, a smattering of Castle’s penny rounds in pinks, silvers and metallics would complement things nicely. Admittedly, another armchair may be needed to accommodate them.
Got cushion fever? Check out this selection of comfy buys: