A few cushions thrown on the sofa or bed can make all the difference to a boring room, says Suvasini Sridharan

We recently moved into a home of our own as newlyweds. There was all the excitement of buying furniture and doing up our place to reflect our sense of aesthetics. And though we had differing tastes and there were fights over which dining table to pick (I won in the end), we did come together while picking the living room sofa. We wanted something that was comfortable yet looked good and was in a neutral colour. The neutral colour was a vital criterion, as that sofa was going to serve as the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous cushions we had bought.

The cushions were plush and soft in jewel tones. There was the cushion that had tiny Buddhas printed all over, and the cushion that told the story of a tiger chasing a deer against rich foliage. We had spent a better part of an hour going through the lovely collection of cushions at the Good Earth store before settling on four. And those cushions were definitely a good buy. They instantly added colour and character to our living room.

I love a good cushion, it should be comfortable enough to settle into while reading a good book, and at the same time have an interesting design on it. “It's quite amazing how something as small as a cushion can add that little bit of much-needed drama to a space,” says Amrita Thomas of That One Piece, an interiors and furniture store; “it's definitely one of the most affordable ways to bring in a personal touch to your home.” Sidarrth Mutha, the owner and design head of The Tulips Store, located in Bengaluru and Pune, agrees. “Elaborate changes to a room such as changing the upholstery or furniture can be expensive. But with just a few cushions one can change a living space.”

Square cushions, rectangular cushions, bolsters, there is plenty to choose from. And the shape is just the start. “The kind of fabric you choose--be it silk or linen, prints or solids--can change the ambience of your room,” says Thomas. “In terms of shapes, sizes and fabrics, the possibilities are limitless.” Mutha suggests mixing it up when it comes to cushions. “You could pair plain silk cushions in a neutral shade with hand-embroidered or printed ones to add some style to your couch or your bed.”

At The Tulips Store, a lot of care and thought goes into the cushion designing. There is the range of plain silk cushions in earth tones; pastels and bright blocks that are quilted and foam padded; then they have the classic line, which are the value- added cushions. These could be hand-embroidered or have Swarovski crystal detailing on them. Finally, there is a very modern line, which is reminiscent of pop art, having animal graphics or geometric prints on them. The idea is to pair the classic line or the modern line with the plain silk cushions.

The Good Earth stores located in various cities across the country have beautiful printed cushions for sale. The designs are akin to works of art. For more reasonably priced cushions, Lifestyle Home Centre and the Nilkamal @home stores are good places to check out.

One can even buy cushions online. For instance, indiacircus.com stocks a range of cushion covers, with the designs inspired by everything from Lord Krishna and city life to Ambassador cars and flora. Houseproud.in is another such website.

Often you find that furnishing trends follow fashion trends. “We find out what the latest trends will be and create themes and story lines for our designs,” says Mutha. Neon is expected to be 'in' next season when it comes to furnishing, so Mutha says that with this in mind, “we are creating cushions with fluorescent thread and zippers.” So now you know. Along with keeping up to date with fashion when it comes to clothes, you can keep your interiors up to date with new cushions each season.