Selecting & Styling Cushions for your Sofa

No matter what design or décor you’re using in your living space, there’s no doubt that sofas are going to be an integral element. From the pure lines of the Mo Sofa by Hommes Studio to the unadulterated comfort of the contemporary Bowie Sofa by Colección Alexandra, seating is a critical feature in any living environment.

Perfect for enjoying a catch up with friends, relaxing with family, or settling down in front of a box set, your sofa serves so many purposes. While its function makes it an integral element in your living space, the impact it has on your design cannot be overlooked either.

Whether you’re using your sofa to make a statement or relying on it to complement other elements of your décor, the right styling can dramatically enhance its aesthetic. To ensure you’re getting it right, read on to find out everything you need to know about selecting and styling cushions.

Maze || - Blue and Ivory By Jennifer Manners

How to Arrange Cushions on a Sofa

If you’ve always assumed cushions are an afterthought or something that can be thrown haphazardly onto your sofa, think again! As any designer knows, cushions have the power to drastically alter a design, upgrade the space and showcase a statement piece of furniture. The placement of your cushions will have a major impact on how your sofa looks and feels, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to take things to next level.

How Many Ways Can You Style Your Cushions?

Before you can determine how best to style your sofa, you’ll need to know exactly what options you have. With this in mind, take a look at these classic ways you can style your cushions to optimise the aesthetic of your sofa:

1. Balanced Cushions

Here, you can use a range of fabrics, colours, and patterns, providing you do so in a way that creates balance. It is, perhaps, the most visually pleasing way of styling your sofa and it’s ideal if you want to achieve perfect symmetry.

When styling cushions in a balanced way, be sure to use the same styling across all seating. On a smaller, two-seater sofa, you may want to use two cushions in a solid colour and one patterned cushion just in front, for example. If so, you should mirror this look on other sofas or seating you have in the room.

 Ambar Wood Block Cushion Rectangle By Ambar Living

2. Central Cushions

Traditionally, people placed cushions at either end of the sofa, but a central arrangement takes the opposite approach. Instead of using cushions as bookends on either side of the sofa, begin with a central placement and work your way outwards. When you’re using central styling, cushions shouldn’t reach the end of the sofa. Instead, they should remain nestled in the central portion of the seating area.

A central cushion arrangement can work well on both smaller and larger sofas. It can make a smaller sofa feel larger, for example, while making a larger sofa appear cosier. Similarly, you can use central cushion arrangements on curved or asymmetrical sofas to great effect.

3. Alternating Patterned Cushions

If you’re going to use patterned cushions when styling your sofa, an alternating arrangement can be a fabulous option. Alternating a patterned cushion with a solid, block colour cushion helps to keep the impact light, rather than overbearing. Alternating patterns also work well if you want to achieve a balanced style, so why not combine these two placement options for maximum effect?

Ocean Green Cushion By Claire Gaudion

4. Paired Cushions

If you favour a minimalist style, paired cushions might be the perfect way to style your sofa. Here, you’ll use just two cushions, spaced evenly on the sofa, to enhance its visual appeal. This works particularly well with sofas that are already focal points, as you don’t want to detract from its natural appeal.

When you’re using only two cushions, you can also be a little bolder with the impact you want them to have. Choosing cushions in colours that contrast with the sofa increases their effect and adds depth to your design.

5. Separated Trio Cushions

A separated trio arrangement is, perhaps, the most timeless choice when it comes to styling a sofa. With three cushions on either end of the sofa, you can exude comfort and cosiness with your styling. This works best if you use cushions in different sizes, with the largest cushion being placed at the back. Similarly, you can use a range of patterns and fabrics to add texture to the design, while creating a mirror image at each end of the sofa achieves balance and uniformity.

 Dahlia Bouquet Silk Suzani Cushion Double Sided IKAT By Heritage Geneve

Selecting Cushions: Fabrics and Looks

Now you know how to arrange cushions on a sofa, you just need to decide which cushions to showcase! Of course, this will depend on the surrounding décor and the style of sofa you’ve chosen. However, there are some designer-approved guidelines you can follow to achieve fabulous results.

When selecting cushions, don’t shy away from patterns. They add depth to the style and can draw out other elements of the décor. With the Ambar Wood Block Cushion by Ambar Living or the Monky velvet tasselled cushion from the ACH Collection, for example, you can incorporate interesting and innovative patterns into any living area.

Similarly, statement cushions, like the Orange Blossom Tree Silk Suzani Cushion by Heritage Geneve, can be a wonderful addition to any sofa. When you’re using minimalist styling or want a statement cushion that can be paired with block colours, vibrant colours and impactful designs are the ideal choice.

However, it isn’t just the colour and pattern that you should vary when styling a sofa. Choosing the right cushions made from different fabrics can add texture and depth to your sofa too. From velvet and cotton to leather and embroidery, there are endless options to explore. 

 Monky Velvet Tasseled Cushion By ACH Collection

Styling Your Sofa

Not only is your sofa likely to get a fair bit of use, but it’s also a critical design element in your living space. As well as taking the time to choose a sofa that elevates your interior design, be sure to use cushions and throws to enhance its aesthetic and maximise its impact.