give your sofa a showroom-ready sprucing with our handy guide.
Without the embellishment of cushions and throws, your sofa can look pretty sad and lonely. But with a whole world of fabrics, colours and designs out there to choose from, deciding on your combination of cushions and throws can be overwhelming.
Above all, your selection needs to have balance – it needs to be comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, functional and full of character, not too much and certainly not too little. It’s a lot to think about – more than enough to send you spiralling in pillow-picking-paralysis – so it’s important that you set about this task with a solid plan.
Everyone deserves a heavenly chorus of accents that’ll have their sofa singing in perfect harmony; so we’ve broken down our finest tips for how to dress a sofa with throws and cushions.
When it comes to dressing your sofa, start with the basics – the colour scheme. Whether you’re taking your inspiration from your wallpaper or you’re obsessed with a certain combination of hues, getting your colour scheme right can be the difference between your sofa feeling put together or thrown together.
“A well thought out colour scheme can make all the difference in how your sofa is styled” advises Suzi, interiors expert and brand manager at furn.com. “Find a simple colour wheel online and use it to see which colours might coordinate or contrast well with your current decor. Take colour cues from your wallpaper, curtains and other accents to give your scheme a sense of depth and cohesion”.
We’ve already covered the nitty-gritty of how to figure out what colour cushions go with your sofa colour, so check that out if you fancy a deep-dive in cushion colour theory.
If you’ve got a maximalist living room, lean into the look with an abundance of bold jewel tones or beautiful brights. Looking for something more relaxed? Try neutrals, naturals, creams and greys. For a more boho-inspired space, earthy tones like clay, eucalyptus, dusty blues and pastel pinks bring a beautifully grounded vibe.
Working with a grey sofa? Take a look at our blog post on how to pick and style cushions for grey sofas.
Once you’ve got your colour scheme sorted, you can start to think about pattern and texture – something that every sofa needs. Depending on your style, there are tons of ways to layer prints, patterns and tactile finishes in your living room. Velvet and gold foiling is great for luxe spaces, while tufted fabrics and swinging tassels are ideal for more minimalist or boho styles.
“Using a variety of patterns and textures is a great way to breathe life into a living space without overloading on colour" Suzi advises. "You could layer up with cosy fleece, bouclé and faux fur fabrics for a warming winter feel; or stick with velvet, jacquard prints and glossy metallic finishes for all-out luxury”.
Cushions and throws offer a quick and easy way to introduce layers of personality to your living room – and they’re a doddle to swap out when the mood takes you too. You can try out a new trend, switch out with the seasons or simply update your room with a spontaneous set of fresh soft furnishings.
A healthy mix of fabrics and textures will bring endless depth to your sofa, adding irresistible tactility while creating a plush, fully furnished look. Jute cushions and cotton throws are ideal for organic styles like rustic, country and boho – while the rich, sumptuous textures of velvet cushions and a faux fur throw will lend your space a more luxury feel.
So, you’ve settled on what your colours are, and the patterns or textures you want to use – but how do you put it all together on your sofa? Luckily for you, that’s the easy part.
Make sure to use a mix of cushion sizes if you’re after a more relaxed or playful feel. An arrangement of same-size cushions only works if you’re looking to create a formal, polished look. If character and energy are what you’re looking for, pair big cushions with small, and don’t be shy about shaking things up with random shapes like round or bolster cushions.
Experiment with your throws. There are so many different ways to style a throw, from neatly folded and tucked over an armrest to cascading over the back of a sofa – it all depends on the look you’re trying to create.
Keep everything (mostly) symmetrical. If you’ve popped cushions in one corner, it’ll probably look best if there’s cushions in the other corner too (unless it’s a two-seater or a loveseat, then it may look overcrowded). It’s always helpful to roll the sleeves up, get stuck into a bit of trial and error and play around with your arrangement until you find something you like.
Take pictures, too. This is an easy way to tell if your styling is working. You’ll be able to spot bare spots or arrangements that aren’t working much easier when you’re looking at it as a photograph rather than in front of you.
We’ve covered the basics of how to dress a sofa with cushions and throws, but the fun doesn’t have to stop there. No sumptuous sofa-scape is complete without its fair share of finishing touches, so why not take your experience to the next level with an elegant garnish of extras?
“A stylish sofa-scape doesn’t have to stop at the foot of your couch, and coordinating with the rest of your decor will make the entire space feel fluid, open and inviting", Suzi suggests. "An oversized area rug in a matching hue to your cushions will anchor the room, while a contrasting statement rug will provide plenty of personality and drama”.
We’ve all heard whisperings of a rug’s mythic ability to tie an entire room together, and we’re glad to confirm the truth in these rumours. The simple addition of a rug at the foot of your sofa has a powerful anchoring effect, cutting through the noise of your space and creating a strong sense of order and cohesion. Go with a statement design in summery brights if you feel like your living room could use a lift, or stick with soft hues or a woven floor runner for that calm, unifying effect.
Speaking of lighting, it’s a crucial element in creating the right mood for any space. Whether you go for a floor lamp behind your sofa or a table lamp beside it, good lighting means you’ll be ready to illuminate your living room for any occasion, whether that’s a quiet night of reading or a lively sitting room soirée.
One final flourish that’ll make your sofa a real feast for the senses is home fragrance. From the flickering of a deliciously scented candle to the instant transformation of a room spray spritz – scent is everything, and will make all the difference to your living room vibe. Go cuddled-up and cosy with a spiced autumnal fragrance, or give yourself a nature-powered mood boost with something fresh and earthy.
header image credit: @zephs_house