Style your home on a budget:cushions can update a room with novelty shapes, pops of colour and dramatic prints

While homeowners understandably agonise over buying a new sofa or dining table, investing in a new cushion is easy by comparison — and a smart move.

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Cushions are a relatively cheap way of changing your room from season to season with dramatic bangs of colour and style, providing a snapshot of new trends to bring an interior right up to date.

To maximise their impact, plump for larger ones. It helps that designers are literally thinking outside the box, eschewing run-of-the-mill square cushions in favour of countless forms and generous rather than paltry sizes.

Cushions are the current craze, with some shaped like the objects they depict. Leading the way is hip London firm Silken Favours, with cushions based on founder Vicki Murdoch's pen-and-ink drawings. 

These oversize juicy strawberries, plump pineapples, watermelon wedges, rainbows and even flying pigs are fun (from £95).

Comfy clouds — and designer tips 

The pouffe is a variation on the theme. Joshua Ino reinterprets it with his Stoof — a hybrid of a pouffe and a stool. Made of chipboard, foam and stretch jersey fabric, with heat-transferred images of blue or rosy skies, it's designed to create a sensation of floating on clouds when you sit on it (price on application). 

"Avoid overly formal or plumped arrangements — casually scattered cushions feel relaxed and inviting," advises David Harris, design director at Andrew Martin, where a new range includes the multicoloured Serengeti design (£49). 

These are handmade and stuffed with fire-retardant duck feathers and down, though some have synthetic filling for the allergy-prone.

Don't be afraid to combine patterns — ikats, florals, geometrics, animal motifs," adds Harris. "Choose cushions with piping in a contrasting shade as details like this draw the eye. Opt for different textures. Velvet feels luxurious, linen informal."

Reversible feather cushions from Also Home are velvet on one side, linen on the other (£29). 

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Pentreath & Hall's oblong Regency Caning cushion, above,for Fine Cell Work, a social enterprise that trains British prisoners in paid needlework, combines traditional sewing techniques and a nod to Regency canework (£95).

Cushions can even spell decadence.

One Nine Eight Five's tassel cushion recalls a Twenties flapper dress (£125) while Jean-Paul Gaultier's claret Tango cushion for Lelièvre evokes a Thirties tea dance (£97.50).

More lavish still is the Nansa indoor swing with a velvet seat, by Lelièvre and Spain's Mermelada Estudio (price on application).

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Salon cushions, above, from Ferm Living come in rich, contrasting patterns that harmonise (£99).

And The Conran Shop's Columbia Graphic cushion is trimmed with tangerine piping and pompoms (£85).

Animal magic

Add a touch of wit and whimsy with Scion Living's elongated Mr Fox (£45); Holly Frean's Monkey Puzzle cushion for Andrew Martin featuring hyperactive monkeys (£59) or Arthouse's Sixties-retro Fun Circus lion head cushion (£12.99).

Emma Shipley's Neptune cushion has a fantastical scene of jellyfish and flamingos scrambling over the seabed (£95).

Painterly cushions from Sarah Campbell Designs include Matisse-influenced Côte d'Azur (£48.50), and artist Philip Sutton's cushion, like one of his impressionistic paintings (£115). 


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