It hardly seems like the glamorous, fun part of interior decorating, but choosing the best cushion pad for your cushions will have more impact on the look and feel of your scheme than you may realise. Whether scattered on a sofa for extra comfort, dressing up a bed or adding an accent to an armchair, these soft, pillowy forms are a staple accessory in almost every room – even hallways and bathrooms occasionally house a cushioned seat. They are, however, more than simply a dressing tool; cushions add comfort and support, too. So while our first inclination may be to focus on the aesthetics, it’s actually worth turning your attention to the filling inside your printed, patterned or textural cover.
OKA cushion covers are supplied without pads, which means you can choose the softness of your filling – and thus manipulate the finish somewhat to suit your tastes – but how do you know what type to plump for? We talk you through the various cushion pad sizes and shapes, as well as the best filling for your needs. Once you have that sussed, you can get down to the fun part; placing your pillows.
Price certainly plays a factor in choosing the right cushion pad; the bigger the cushion and the softer the filling, the more expensive it will be. Feather-filled cushion pads are a great "all-rounder", but if you’re looking for that extra softness, you won’t regret investing in a luxury cushion pad.
For a comfortable and economical option, our standard duck-feather cushion pad is made from shredded duck feathers, which endow it with a deliciously squashy feel. If you’re looking for a more luxurious feel, our duck down-and-feather-mix pad is filled with a sublimely soft blend of 70% duck down and 30% duck feathers. All feather and down used in our cushion fillings is ethically sourced in France from Muscovy ducks; the feathers are washed with filtered water to remove oils, then dried, cooled and de-dusted so that they are as clean and fluffy as possible. For cushions that see daily use, it’s definitely worth investing in one of these pads.
Outdoors, as with all furnishings, practical considerations are foremost. In this instance, garden chairs can benefit from the addition of cushions with a fibre-filled pad; these dry easily, won’t retain moisture or go mouldy (as long as you remember to store them somewhere dry when not in use). Hollow-fibre cushion pads are much sturdier than feather-filled ones but they’re still very comfortable. Additionally, if you’re allergic to feathers, they make a great alternative filling for indoor cushions too. Plus, because they’re machine washable, you don’t have to worry about pets curling up on them.
The size of cushion pad you need depends, of course, on the dimensions of your cushion cover. But it also helps if you take into account where and how you plan to use the cushion; will it be decorative or practical? A classic square cushion (usually 46x46cm, 51x51cm and 56/57cm2) can work in both scenarios – a single square cushion makes a great accent on an armchair but, beyond bringing a dash of colour and pattern, it also offers that little bit of extra comfort and support. The size of your cushions will also depend on how you plan to layer them – for instance, on a bed you may choose to layer rectangular cushions against a base of square designs. In this instance, you’ll need to think about scale; small rectangular cushions (60x35cm) are ideal placed in front of a large, square design, while bolster cushions (90 x 35cm) are good for laying across benches and beds for extra depth and height (as well as comfort when sitting reading).
To measure a cushion cover, remove the cushion pad inside, lay the cover flat, then, in the case of a square or rectangular cushion, measure along the length and width of the cover. For round cushion covers, measure across from one side to the other to find the diameter. Expert tip: always choose a cushion pad that’s the same size or one size bigger than your cushion cover to ensure extra plumpness and comfort. Never go for a cushion pad smaller than your cover as you’ll end up with empty corners where there’s no filling – overstuffed looks and feels much better.
Sofas are a great blank canvas to play around with a variety of cushion sizes and arrangements, but you first need to consider the size of your seating. For a small 2-seater sofa, stick to a maximum of 3 cushions, either 46x46cm or 51x51cm – you don’t want a situation where your sofa looks really enticing, but doesn’t allow space for you to sit down. For large 3-seater sofas, why not try a mix of square and rectangular cushions? Remember, asymmetry is always more interesting, so if you do opt for a series of cushions of the same size, display an odd number of them. For corner sofas, anything goes. You can create smaller groupings of cushions in the corner, as well as at each end, or add pretty pads all the way along both sides – the choice is yours. If you need a little inspiration, our guide to dressing a sofa with cushions is a helpful place to start.
You don’t have to stick to square cushions; there are so many different shapes and styles to choose from, and we introduce new cushions every season. OKA now has more than 200 cushion cover designs, ready and waiting to accessorise your home; take a look at our guide to adding colour with cushions to get started.