Helen Pattullo from Hutchinson’s Flooring, Furniture & Interiors in Hastings thinks cushions are an easy way to put some zing into your tired decor.
“Adding cushions is like choosing a scarf or jewellery to go with your little black dress,” Helen says, “it changes the outfit instantly – cushions can be your ‘wow’ factor.”
Great big floral ones, little round velvet ones: big or small, bold or pastels, cushions are a great “icing on the cake,” says Davina Shrimpton, owner of Whitehouse Interiors. “They can pull a room together and transform it.”
They are also fairly easily changed so if you get sick of them down the track, simply recover with whatever takes your fancy. You can be bold with your choice of fabric says Davina, “use both colour and texture”.
If you don’t know where to start with choosing shades and patterns Helen from Hutchinson’s advises looking at the colour and style of your sofa. “You can pull in colour from that or your curtains or even a piece of art,” she explains.
Another way to revamp the look of a room is with curtains. When it comes to choosing fabrics your choices may be limited by what you already have in a room.
“You have to work with the existing elements and enhance what you’ve got” says Helen from Hutchinson’s.
Helen is also an advocate for roman blinds and believes they’re a good alternative if you’re short on space because they are far more economical when it comes to the area around the window itself. “Blinds are good in a situation where there’s not a lot of stacking room either side of the windows.”
If the size of your room allows, take curtains up as high as possible suggests Davina from Whitehouse Interiors, “We often go just 150 millimetres below the ceiling,” she says, “it makes the room appear much bigger and creates size.”
“We do a lot of simple linen curtains as they don’t date,” says Davina, “then we bring in an accent on cushions and chairs.”
Another way your favourite piece of art can be accentuated in a room is with lighting.
“A lamp can be fabulous if it’s a table lamp underneath or to the side to make the art ‘pop’”, says Davina.
Lighting is also a simple way to transform the atmosphere of a room and create ambience.
“Lighting makes all the difference,” says Davina. “Mood lighting can give a room softness.”
While chandeliers and big bold lights may seem like the obvious choice when transforming a room, Davina advocates using table lamps rather than harsh overhead lighting, “Lamps give directional lighting, which can be really interesting.”
When it comes to lamps, how many is too many? “Have two or three in a room depending on how much furniture is in the room,” suggests Davina. “The more furniture you have the more lamps you can add.”
If you do have a big overhead light have it on a dimmer, Davina says: “About the only time I ever turn on my chandelier is when I’ve lost my glasses!”
You can also revive your room by having a good shuffle around of your existing furniture.
“Rearranging furniture can transform a room,” insists Davina, “get everything away from the walls, your lounge is not a dentist’s waiting room!”
In doing so, if you find you end up with the back of a sofa on display, Davina advocates using a narrow sofa table to soften the look.
Helen Pattullo believes the most versatile piece of furniture is a nice stand-out chair. She also advocates going big if the fabric is right. “You can go quite dramatic with fabric, something that says ‘wow’. Some gorgeous fabric on your chair if your couch is plain and safe, like a big floral print.”
There’s no such thing as ‘too much’ when it comes to upholstery on a chair. “You can go very bold, because it’s a smaller piece, it’s not all encompassing. But do tie in the colour with cushions.” This might be as simple as matching the main pattern with piping, edging or trim on the cushions.
So if you’re tired of your living room or the previous owners were just a tad too taupe for your tastes, pick one simple change and go forward with gusto, no matter how busy you are.
It may just be the beginning of a whole new adventure spurring you on to make more changes to your cushions, your curtains or your favourite chaise lounge.
And if you go from too beige to too bold, remember: nothing is forever.
“Features should be things that are easily changeable,” insists Davina, “you’ve got to remember it’s transient, you don’t want to walk in one day and say “what the hell was I thinking!””
Go as big and bold as you like now and have fun, knowing if you ever decide fuchsia brocade flamingo cushions are no longer ‘you’ you don’t have to live with them forever.