The basics to sofa styling

The living room is one of the most visible parts of your home – the way you decorate it will be a constant reflection of your personality to every guest that walks through the door. Perhaps the single most important item in this room is the humble sofa.

Here’re some quick ideas to get you started with sofa styling.

Start with a solid base

Styling a sofa is almost like painting a masterpiece. Sure, your sofa may look pretty flash, but in the end, it is simply a blank canvas waiting for a few cushions and throws to really bring it into the spotlight.

Having said that, there is no point investing in beautiful cushions or plush throws if the sofa they will be adorning is one that you don’t love. If the foundation of your soft furnishing arrangement already looks to have one leg in the dumpster, it might be time to upgrade to something a little more up your alley. Opting for a neutral piece – such as the John 3 seater sofa – will give you the perfect base to embark on your styling journey.

Add cushions and throws

There is something addictive about cushions – no matter how many you already own, there always seems to be room for more. Cushions are the low maintenance solution to creating that coveted ‘cosy feel’ in your living room.

Then there are throws. Not just a way to stay warm in winter while bingeing on Netflix, throws come in all shapes, sizes and textures – a well-draped throw can really take your sofa styling to the next level.

Know the magic number

The key to a perfectly balanced sofa is to rotate, rather than hoard. Not only will too many throws or cushions take up precious seating space, they can also create a feeling of clutter and leave your actual sofa invisible – a dozen strong cushion collection does not need to be displayed simultaneously. The aim is effortless style rather than soft furnishing addict, and there is a big difference between eclectic and excessive! On the other hand, a lone cushion on an enormous sectional sofa can leave the space feeling bare and incomplete.

An odd number of furnishings – such as three cushions and a single throw – works well for a more casual and relaxed feel. Utilising symmetry through an even placement of cushions and throws will produce a more formal or traditional setting. If the in-laws are coming over for dinner, try arranging your furnishings on either end of the sofa to give the space a formal feel. Entertaining friends with a casual weekend barbecue? Group the cushions to one side of the sofa for an instantly relaxed vibe.

Keep it complementary

What better way to embrace the cooler months than with a sofa styling update? Switching out a couple of cushions to stay on trend is much gentler on the hip pocket than having to purchase new furniture every season – not to mention much more eco-friendly. Take inspiration from the colours and textures of autumn – embrace reddy-orange hues with a thick linen throw or add autumn greens with the Elementary Cushion Olive Green with French Beige.

However, when choosing cushions and throws the first thing you need to consider is the colour and material of your sofa. Just like an ivory dress can make pale skin look completely washed out, a poor cushion choice can leave your sofa feeling displaced from the rest of the space.

The goal is not to match colours to a tee, but rather pick a certain tone, texture or theme to tie the whole space together. Take cues from the existing furniture and décor in the room – a tan leather cushion may look stunning on the showroom floor but bringing it home to your brown leather sofa will see it lost in the sea of leather.

The beauty of most sofas is that their single block of colour acts as a perfect base for and creating depth with textures and patterns. Add visual interest by choosing an assortment of cushions and throws with different elements. Pair a rectangular velvet number with a pair of smooth cotton cushions, or a round thickly woven cushion with a light linen throw. From Mongolian lambswool to shiny sequin, the mix and match possibilities are endless – just keep the size of your sofa in mind. An oversized cushion may look striking on a large sofa but will simply dwarf a smaller design and make the space feel odd and disproportioned.  

Look at the bigger picture

Sofas are not used in isolation; rather, they form part of the bigger picture: the living room. This means that when styling your sofa, you should also consider the décor immediately surrounding it. The floor lamp used to read your favourite book, the side table where your cup of tea rests and the statement art directly behind the sofa all play a major part in creating the perfectly styled sofa. Pick complementing décor that will help unify the space rather than leave each piece battling for the limelight.

And don’t forget about the chop! ‘Chopping’ your cushions with a quick karate-like flick will have your style oozing with on-trend style.


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Ewan D
Ewan D
3 years ago

Great blog for furniture lovers.