Zendaya taps into the subtle power of this accessory to ensure her neutral living room is never boring

In the actress's Brooklyn apartment, the accessories do all the talking. Here's what makes the simplest of pieces so impactful

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

The benefits of a neutral color palette are abundant, but arguably, nowhere showcases its beauty like Zendaya's Brooklyn living room. The Dune actress chose a scheme that allows the city to do almost all the talking (perks of living above the East River), but despite the somewhat distracting view, there's still some room for her accessories to take center stage. 

Being Zendaya, the actress could naturally have her pick of any furnishings, but her collection of cushions is arguably the most impactful of all. The cushions (best seen on the second slide of the photo carousel below) subtly dress Zendaya's dark living room sofa, but despite their discreetness, their rich balance in the cream room – while the striped pattern adds instant interest against the surrounding block tones. 

The room is a reminder that even the most simple accessories offer a transformative change in textures, and it's refreshingly easy to follow suit. Unsurprisingly, David Harris, the design director at Andrew Martin, agrees. 

'Adding vibrant cushions is a simple and inexpensive way to inject a bold hit of color into a neutral room,' Harris says. However, their power also extends beyond neutral spaces like Zendaya's. 

'If the room is already colorful, rather than using shades that match your existing scheme, opt for complementary hues to create a sense of cohesiveness. Choose cushions with piping in a contrasting shade as these little details draw the eye,' he explains. 'Monochrome cushions also make a statement as the absence of color can be just as striking as its presence.'

Colors aside, Harris explains that mixing patterns is another way to create a statement with our cushions. 'Don't be afraid to mix patterns cushions are a great way to introduce pattern into a room,' he says.

'From florals and ikats to geometrics and animal motifs, there is a great deal to choose from. Combine different patterns to make a strong style statement. To avoid overwhelming a room, mix large-scale patterns with smaller-scale prints.'

White corner couch in a living room

An example of patterned cushions seen in a neutral living room.

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

The last thing to remember before we invest in new cushions? Experimenting with different textures is never a bad idea. 

'Combine different textures to add depth and create an eclectic look. Velvet is a perennial favorite for cushions because it feels luxurious, while linen has a relaxed feel. In terms of filling, feather and down allow for a plusher feel than synthetic fillings,' Harris says. 

David Harris
David Harris

David is the Design Director at global design brand, Andrew Martin. He specializes in weave, print, and wallpaper design to create unique designs and characterful home décor for the globally-admired interiors brand. 

We're picking up some new cushions, including some striped Zendaya-inspired pieces below.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.