We all know the power of a statement piece of fashion; one single item, like this season’s gothic blouse or over-the-knee boots, can take basic outfits from bland to brilliant. And if one transformative item makes your whole wardrobe look like new, how about applying the effect to your home? Going in for a drastic Changing Rooms-style home makeover isn’t always possible – maybe your landlord won’t let you redecorate, or you just don’t have the time and energy to revamp a whole room – so let a statement cushion do the hard work for you. Try one of these to shake things up.
Chocolate Orange – Sasaako
Self-taught designer Aba Sasaako uses wax printed Ghanaian cotton to create most of her distinctive handmade cushions and dresses; she can also make bespoke pieces on request. As each print is either limited edition or vintage, it’s wise to snap up anything you’ve got your heart set on. The Chocolate Orange design is pretty hypnotic and makes a real impact with its punchy print.
Since launching the brand in 2004, Aba Sasaako has found herself labelled ‘one to watch’ by fashion editor Lisa Armstrong, and her designs have been featured in the pages of Elle Decoration and the Sunday Times Style Magazine. It’s not hard to see why.
Celia cushion – Rockett St George
Rockett St George, an online company based in Sussex, has turned the cushion into an art form with a series of digitally printed pieces by Lisbon-born artist Joao Figueiredo. Each one of Figueiredo’s paintings is part of an ongoing project sponsored by Swarovski; he fragments and embellishes a traditional portrait, often depicting powerful Portuguese women.
Whilst the price means this is a payday splurge purchase rather than an impulse buy, it’s pretty good value for a piece of art you’ll actually use every day. This large cushion, with its dark and edgy deconstructed print, is likely to win over anyone who rolls their eyes at the thought of filling their home with twee floral and polka dot fabrics. The store also sells a range of cushions and prints by conceptual collage artist Chad Wys, so you can easily turn your sofa into a mini gallery.
If your bookshelves are heaving, your library card is maxed out and you’re struggling to find enough hours in the day to get through all that reading material, you need to make a bookish statement with this piece. It’s one of three cushions from The Literary Gift Company bearing quotes every respectable bookworm would endorse – in this case, from Virginia Woolf.
The purple colour-way may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’ll look great against a charcoal grey, black or burgundy throw. Obviously your sofa or chair will be accessorised with a hefty pile of paperbacks too (I’d advise choosing Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway over the love-it-or-hate-it To The Lighthouse), and you should grab The Literary Gift Company’s ‘Go away, I’m reading’ mug loaded with tea to fuel an afternoon of page turning.
‘Torn’ cushion – Habitat
Combining a fragments of a screen-printed grid design with tactile crewel embroidery sections, this bold cushion is a hit. It’ll add a distinctive retro vibe to any room, and would be a perfect fit for those of you who love visiting vintage shops and are hungrily eyeing up your grandma’s Ercol furniture. Habitat is itself a child of the 60s, established in 1964 with the philosophy: ‘useful can be beautiful and beautiful can be affordable’. Shop assistants wore Mary Quant clothing to attract bright young things to the first store, in London’s Brompton Cross.
Perhaps one decade isn’t enough for your home’s retro revival. You might also be tempted by the brand’s Doodle cushion, with its squiggly graphic print – a reference to the Memphis design group of the 80s, but strangely not a million miles away from the colourful opening credits to Saved by the Bell.
George Home Tufted Arrow – Asda
Texture, and the mix of contrasting textures, is a big homeware trend for autumn/winter 2015, but this tufted cushion from Asda would work all year round. The quirky arrow design gives it a real impact. Pair it with clashing materials, such as faux fur or velvet, in similarly earthy tones, or look out for pieces in ikat printed fabric.
A few years ago it would have seemed a bit weird to buy soft furnishings at the supermarket along with a tin of beans, but now it just seems pretty logical. Since launching George Home in 2014, Asda has quietly built up a handful of trend-influenced collections that don’t betray their supermarket origins. In fact, you could probably get away with telling your friends you bought this little mustard number in a posh boutique.