Decorating Guides

Talk: Learn Cushions' Lingo

Cushions and pillows in almost any space introduce colour, texture and form — all vital design elements when you’re finessing a room. These days we’re bombarded with all kinds of styles and shapes of cushions, and here you’ll learn the ins and outs of the amazingly complex part of decor. Then you can impress your cushion maker with your knowledge of terms such as “bobble fringe,” “knife edge” and “Turkish corner.”

Deborah French Designs

The term “cushion” was used in writings as far back as the Middle Ages. Made of sackcloth or leather, filled with wool or hair and often embroidered, these big items were much more like the floor cushions of today.

In the U.S., the terms “pillow” and “cushion” can be interchangeable. In a number of other Western nations, a pillow is usually larger and for sleeping, while a cushion is used for lounging.

Most standard cushions available on the marketplace are 17 by 17 inches square. That is because a standard roll of cloth is 54 inches wide. Allowing for seams, three 18-inch parts of cloth can be cut, preventing wastage. Custom-designed cushions can cost a little more, but they open up a world of possibilities.

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

The knife-edge pillow is the simplest and most popular of all of the cushions. It’s just two pieces of cloth and four side hinges that taper into sharp corners. Why not put in a border in another colour to an otherwise monochromatic cushion, as revealed?

If you want a zipper, get one that matches the fabric colour. You can also ask for an envelope-back cover — as the name suggests, the rear material is overlapped to produce the closure.

The insert in a knife-edge pillow tends to seem fuller in the center and thinner over the borders. Use a feather-down mix, which will hold its shape and doesn’t need as much fluffing as a 100 percent insert.

Michael Fullen Design Group

The box cushion includes a top, a bottom and four sides. The sides are known as the boxing, and can be from 1 inch to 10 or more inches deep, depending on the general size and application of this pillow. This banquette has box cushions for the seating and on top of it. Keep in mind that the seat cushion will flatten in half when you sit on it, so be generous with your measurements.

Piping, also known as welting, can include construction. This can be either at precisely the exact same cloth, called self-piping, or in a contrasting colour. In case you have additional cushions in the room, connect that colour to your piping.

The insert ought to be firm and boost the construction of the pillow. Synthetic inserts, for example hypoallergenic polyester, are a wise alternative for cushions that will suffer from wear and tear. Just as comfortable as feather-down inserts, they are also great replacements in case you’re allergic to feathers.

Tewes Design

The embellished pillow allows you to be creative. An area takes on another personality when you think hard about your cushion design.

Embellishments are many and diverse. Bobble fringes with pom-poms appear playful. Ruched or cut fringes seem soft and feminine. Braided and flanged strings in contrasting colors add elegance. All cushion manufacturers carry a range of trims and provide great advice.

Another tip if buying the insert: Make sure it’s encased into a tightly woven cloth, such as cotton. This will stop the feathers from popping through. The insert must also fill out the corners of the cover. If you prefer the plump appearance, get an insert that’s the exact same size as the cover — if not, get one an inch or two smaller.

Paula Grace Designs, Inc..

The Turkish-corner cushion, in my view, is not done. If you don’t like the sharp corners that you get with a knife-edge pillow, attempt Turkish corners.

The therapy is known as pinch pleating. This works on the knife-edge cushion as well as the box pillow as it’s a sprinkled — not a seat — cushion. The pleats produce neat, curved tucks at every corner. This therapy is used to great effect on this blue-gray plaid back pillow.


Taupe Turkish Corner Pillow Cover

Following is a closer shot at a Turkish corner. With this design, the insert fits right into the corners, so this pillow doesn’t have the horizontal, pointy appearance of other cushions.

Stonewood, LLC

The pillow has many uses. Its tubular shape with round ends is a great head support for something such as reading in bed, along with a beneficial armrest on a banquette. Bolsters also break the visual monotony of traditional cushions.

As with round cushions, piping can help create a fantastic finish. Use a color that’s already in the area for your piping.

Bolster cushions may or may not have zippers. Following the loose filling is inserted, the seam is closed with a slip stitch. If you don’t go with a zipper, don’t forget to choose hard-wearing cloth, as spot cleaning is going to be your only option.

Martha O’Hara Interiors

The flanged pillow can also be a change from the conventional knife-edge cushion. A flange is a sheet of cloth that extends past the seam, providing the pillow a gentle, fluttery effect.

Flanged pillow covers can be produced out of the exact same cloth as the cover itself (known as a self-border) or as an integrated border with a contrasting fabric. These striped cushions sitting on the seats have the flange on the perpendicular, rather than all sides. Using the identical cloth but turning the pattern another way includes both ideas and gives you a stunning result.

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