Your Guide to Recognising Different Types of Cushions


Cushions are great, aren’t they? They’re an easy way to add a little extra colour and comfort to your sofa or your favourite armchair. Different types of cushions come in many shapes, colours, textures, materials and patterns, so you can always find one (or more!) to suit your style.

Switching out your cushions is one of the easiest ways to update your interiors as we move from winter into spring/summer styling.

So, with spring fast approaching, we thought we’d take a look at a few of the different types of cushions and how to tell them apart!

Throw cushions

different types of cushions

Shop gorgeous cushions from L&M Home online at Zanui.

Of all the different types of cushions, the humble throw cushion is the most common.

AKA “scatter cushions”, or simply just cushions!

These are the decorative cushions you tend to place (or throw) onto your sofa, armchair, bed or similar piece of furniture.

Throw cushions are typically square in shape, usually around 45–50cm wide, but can be as big as 60cm wide. You can also have rectangular or round throw cushions.

round throw cushions

Throw cushions come in a huge range of designs, with different textural details, decorations, fabrics, patterns and colours.

Some cushion ranges, particularly patterned ones, will be seasonal. This means that they’ll come in and out of style, depending on fashion and interior trends, as well as time of year.


Breakfast cushions

breakfast cushions

Shop beautiful boho cushions from Bambury online at Zanui.

A breakfast cushion is a small, rectangular pillow. Traditionally, breakfast cushions were designed to match and add decoration to a bedding ensemble.

At Zanui, we consider a breakfast cushion to be any rectangular throw cushion. They may or may not match a bedding set, and may or may not be placed on a bed!

Breakfast cushions are around 40–50cm wide and 30cm deep, but may be as wide as 80cm.

lumbar cushions

Breakfast or lumbar cushions, like this one from L&M Home, make perfect bed decorations

These types of cushions are also called “lumbar cushions,” because they offer a degree of support to the lower back (the lumbar area) while reclining in bed or seated.

Like their square scatter cushion counterparts, breakfast cushions are available in a huge range of patterns, fabrics and designs to suit any interior style.


Outdoor cushions

escape to paradise cushions

Shop lovely outdoor cushions from Escape to Paradise online at Zanui.

A cushion made for outdoor areas will have a cover that’s somewhat resistant to various outdoor conditions. Certain materials will perish if left outside exposed to the elements for too long.

Quality outdoor cushions have UV-resistant and water-repellent qualities to help prevent colour-fading and damage, so you can enjoy their beauty for longer!

Even with these properties, though, it’s always best to bring outdoor cushions inside or at least move them undercover during bouts of more extreme weather.

While you might see hand-stitched detailing or textural woven loops on indoor cushions, you won’t see much ornamentation on outdoor cushions. These kinds of details are often too delicate for outdoor use. For this reason, most outdoor cushions have a simple but stylish look to them.


Floor cushions

floor cushions

Shop cushions from Amigos De Hoy online at Zanui.

Floor cushions are larger than your average cushions, usually 60–80cm wide or bigger.

Quality floor cushions will be able to withstand a little more wear and tear than a decorative throw pillow. Some might even have a special underside with slightly more grip, to prevent slipping on the floor.

moroccan leather floor cushion

Shop classic Moroccan leather floor cushions from Cush & Co online at Zanui.

Floor cushions are great for gathering around a low table to enjoy a cute and casual indoor brunch with friends, for playing party games with the kids, for meditation and loads more.

Poufs, ottomans and beanbags can also be classed as floor cushions.


Chair cushions

Also called chair pads, these special cushions add an extra layer of comfort and style to your dining chairs.

Chair cushions are made to be sat on so, like floor cushions, they should be more resilient than normal throw cushions. The filling should be a bit firmer, too, so that the cushion doesn’t lose its shape or its comfortability too quickly.

Some chair cushions also have handy ties to help you secure them to the chair.

If you find your dining chairs are a little hard to sit on for long periods, add a chair pad!


Novelty cushions

novelty kids cushions

Shop novelty kids cushions online at Zanui.

While they aren’t exactly stylish, novelty cushions are great for adding personality and “cute factor” to your space.

Novelty cushions often have unusual shapes and tend to resemble something, like an avocado or a cat, for example. They can sometimes be more akin to plush toys than actual cushions.

A novelty cushion is especially perfect for a child’s room. That said, don’t be afraid of adding a novel touch to your living room for all to see!


What did you think of our guide to recognising different types of cushions? Let us know in the comments below!

Elizabeth is a digital content writer and copy editor from Sydney, Australia, with a degree in Media & Communications from the University of New South Wales. When she isn't writing for Zanui, she's usually attempting further study, burying her head in a novel (or writing her own), pestering her cat, or desperately trying to keep her small potted succulent alive.