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You know how some people become addicted to looking at house sites, like RightMove, searching for their perfect house, even though they have no intention of moving? Well, I’m like that, with Interiors magazines. I buy them all, from the ones that show how an Instagrammer in Wolverhampton has revamped her kitchen with nothing but a tin of paint and some Facebook Marketplace upstyling and upcycling (no, I’m not sure what that is, either), to the beautifully curated inside of a mansion house full of antiques and large dogs in the Cotswolds.

I am hooked. Although I have far more sympathy for Claire from Birmingham and her Dunelm indoors than I do for Marjorie and Simon in Lower Foppsbury, who hired teams of designers to get their ‘look’, I can’t stop reading. I wander round my two-up-two-down cottage (incidentally, the inspiration for the cottages in ‘Cottage Full of Secrets’) contemplating wrought iron rails and new paint and major restructuring work – even though absolutely nothing is going to make my place look like Marjorie and Simon’s. I moan and wring my hands about my lack of a walk in pantry and the fact that the front room barely sees daylight because two hundred years ago they made windows very small.

And then I discovered cushions. You can have the barest sofa in the world, covered in just a throw (to stop the dog getting mud everywhere), but if you add some cushions you have instant colour! Instant design! I’ll always remember when my son and his friend moved into a rented house and they had a couple of girls round for dinner. One of the girls said, ‘you can tell two men live here – there aren’t any cushions’. Cushions aren’t just the things that you prop behind your back to make watching TV more comfortable – they are ‘pops of colour’. They are ‘texture’. They are also what the dog buries bits of stolen food behind, but let’s gloss over that for now.

So, just like that, my addiction was born. I can’t help myself. I walk past a perfectly innocent shop, and the next thing you know I’ve got forty seven cushions with bird designs on and I’m going to repaint the living room teal. I never get round to the repainting, and I can’t fit either myself or the dog on the sofa, but it looks lovely. A large part of my day is spent replumping, and people often look dubiously at me and ask if they are allowed to sit down at all, but I don’t care. I can change the whole look of my living room by swapping over the cushions (and putting all the lights on, but that’s another matter). I have an entire cupboard dedicated to cushion storage, and when you open it it’s like one of those ‘exploding boxes’ and there’s suddenly cushions erupting under pressure into the room, but I don’t care.

Cushions. Honestly. Trust me on that. You’ll never need to repaint a room again. Oh, but if you start putting them on beds, you’ve gone beyond help and people may need to stage an intervention.

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