They make life a lot more comfortable; they combine fun with functionality; it’s difficult to imagine having to get by without them; they’re found in every kind of home – from grand to modest, and there’s a good chance you’re settling back on one as you read this.
We’re talking of course about the humble cushion.
Sofa cushions, couch cushions, chair cushions. Cushions are affordable, everyday luxury items that can be used to brighten up any room. They are something we tend to take for granted today – but they have a history that stretches back over thousands of years.
Before we dip very briefly into the story of the cushion, we probably need to clear something up. What is the difference between a cushion and a pillow? Well, not very much actually. Cushions and pillows perform similar functions, protecting different parts of the body when resting.
A cushion protects the back when sitting, while a pillow protects the head when sleeping. This said, the terms are often used interchangeably, and many cushion designs (including our own) look equally at home on a bed or a sofa – although today, a cushion on a bed will be there to fulfil a decorative rather than a functional role.
It’s obviously impossible to know who fashioned the very first crude cushion, making themselves a little more comfortable by placing a bag of soft material between themselves and the hard, unforgiving surface they sat on. But from images in wall art, we know that as long ago as 7,000 BCE, cushions were in use In ancient Mesopotamia – a historical region which once encompassed most of what is now Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Iran.
For centuries though, access to materials and dyes meant that cushions were a luxury available only to the wealthy. As a result, they were a status symbol and often highly ornate works of art in their own right. A way for those in positions of power and privilege to display their good taste and wealth to those they wanted to impress.
In England, the history of cushions can be traced back to at least the late Middle Ages when it was common for upper-class ladies to embroider small cushions in their leisure time. In the sixteenth century, hard wooden pews and kneeler boards were introduced into English churches following the Reformation. Prominent families would purchase pews to help raise funds for repairs and maintenance of the building and to help make sitting and kneeling more comfortable, the ladies of these families would frequently make cushions, embroidering them with religious images and their family coat of arms.
Today, cushions are ubiquitous, an essential staple for any design conscious homeowner. They’re easily available to help complement any style of décor – or even take the spotlight as a central feature.
4 Reasons You Need Cushions in Your Life!
1. They’re practical
Most of us spend a good deal of time sitting down at home. Cushions help ensure we stay comfortable, and a strategically placed cushion can help us avoid ‘slumping’, and promote a more healthy posture when we’re seated.
2. They add warmth, style & colour
There’s no easier way to transform a room. A scattering of carefully chosen cushions – mixed or matched – will instantly add warmth, style and colour to rejuvenate any room.
3. They’re a great way to express yourself & make a statement
Cushions are the perfect way to express your personality. There are designs to reflect all interests and tastes. In our own cushion collection, you’ll find tapestry cushion covers with patterns featuring great art, nature, animals and landmarks to name just a few!
4. They’re an easy & inexpensive way to give your home a fresh look
Thinking about giving your home a makeover? Why redecorate when you can buy new cushions at a fraction of the price? Give your favourite sofa or armchair a new lease of life simply by adding new cushions!