How to style your sofa

A sofa is the centrepiece of the living room. How you style it and the surrounding area can transform the look and feel of your space. A bare sofa can look stark and dominating, whereas too many accessories can make it feel cluttered.

With the vast array of cushions, throws and colours on offer, it can be difficult to find the perfect balance. That’s why we’ve put together our favourite tips on how to dress your sofa and make sure it’s the star of your living room.

Jensen sofa (@hollypmcgowan)

How do you style a plain sofa?

Solid-colour sofas are the perfect neutral base that will work with a vast array of textures, prints and colours.

Start with your base cushions

For a symmetrical arrangement, you want two cushions on either end of the sofa to be a little larger than the others. Using a solid colour here is always a safe bet and these can either be a similar hue to your sofa colour or pull in another colour from the room for a bit of contrast.

Gainsborough sofa (@builderbunny)

Add a pattern

Once your base cushions are in place, you can have a little fun with adding a slightly smaller patterned cushion that pulls in the colour theme from your space. You can go for a slightly larger pattern here or a mid-size design to give the whole sofa a little bit of energy.

If you are looking for a more neutral style, then consider some cushions with a bit of texture – faux fur, velvet, a woven knit or tassled cushions are always great for layering up! Want more tips on styling a neutral space? Read our blog on how to decorate with neutrals.

Hampstead sofa (@kitting_out_kintore)

Change up the shapes

For your middle cushion, consider something more rectangular in shape for the most pleasing arrangement. This will be your ‘stand out’ cushion, so have a little fun with it!

Gainsborough sofa (@thegosfordmama)

Go asymmetrical

For a less formal look, consider mixing up your arrangement with contrasting patterns in a similar colour scheme. If you’re just starting out, then stick with odd numbers as this tends to give a more natural feel.

Morgan sofa (@51stinthemanor)

Mix your patterns

You can mix up the patterns but be sure to stick with a loose theme. Ideally, all of the cushions will be of a similar global style and look wonderful piled up together. If you want an easy shortcut to mixing patterns, consider using one larger pattern, one mid-size and one small in the same colour scheme for an easy-on-the-eye style. For more pattern mixing tips, check out our post on how to mix and match bedding.

Brighton sofa (@twuss)

Surprise the eye

If you want to try something a little different, consider including one cushion that totally contrasts with the others to make it really stand out. For the best effect, make sure it’s a strong colour or design that grabs attention.

Evie sofa / Brooklyn coffee table (@house_fiftyone)

Keep it calming

If colour and pattern aren’t your thing and you’re looking for something more subtle, then consider bringing in a few plain cushions. Contrast the textures for depth – think a couple of velvet cushions with a faux fur cushion or throw, or some solid colours in a plain fabric, and mix them with a woven knit. Keep to neutral tones to create a beautifully inviting sofa without overwhelming the senses.

Gainsborough sofa / Gainsborough loveseat (@mybloorbungalow)

How to style a two-seater sofa

Styling a two-seater sofa may seem difficult, but it’s easy when you follow these simple rules. Check out our stunning range of two-seater sofas to get your started with a solid furniture foundation.

Don’t over do it

You don’t have as much space to work with on a two-seater sofa so it’s important not to overwhelm your settee with too many elements. Just pick one or two colours, textures and styles, for an effortlessly simple look.

Gainsborough sofa (@valleyhome_)

Stick to the basics

You can’t go wrong with a throw and two pillows – especially if you carefully select them in colours, patterns and textures that complement each other and the sofa you’re styling.

Jensen sofa / Hove nest of tables (@laurievokes)

Pay attention to textures and patterns

Because you’ve got less to work with, what you choose is really important. Textures can make a big visual impact in a small amount of space. Try soft textures and busy patterns for a winning two-seater look.

Evie sofa (@our_self_build_ni)

Consider form and function

A beautiful sofa that doesn’t work with your lifestyle is no good! So make sure you think about how you use your sofa when choosing your styling accessories – for instance, if you have a dark-haired dog that often sits with you, it might be worth steering away from lighter coloured fabrics!

Jasmine sofa (@littlehouseofannie)

How many cushions do I need for a two-seater sofa?

You really don’t need more than three to four cushions for a two-seater sofa. If you want a modern look, keep the cushions asymmetrical and use three, or go traditional with two either side, like with our Jensen range. Want to store your cushions away when you’re sitting down? Consider a basket or blanket box to keep them looking their best when they aren’t in use.

Dylan two-seater recliner sofa (@athomewithclaire)

How to style a corner sofa

Super cosy and great for all the family, corner sofas are perfect for lounging on after a long day. If you want tips on styling your corner sofa, from finding matching furniture and accessorising tips, to living room arrangements, check out our complete guide to corner sofa layouts.

How to style a sofa bed

When it comes to styling a sofa bed, the key element is eye-catching storage solutions for bedding and linens. Consider blanket boxes or tallboys that fit your decor, and choose blankets that could work for both uses of the sofa bed.

If you’re really short on space, you could even find textured cushion covers for pillows, which you could then swap out for normal pillow covers when you convert the sofa to a bed.

Be sure to check out our full range of sofas to help you create a gorgeous living room set up. Many of them come with matching and contrasting cushions which make styling super easy.

How do you style your own sofa? We’d love to see! Send us your sofa pics on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We’ll be sure to feature our favourites!