How To Style Your Sofa


Embrace Colour and Pattern

Just as you might update your wardrobe with the changing seasons or trends, you can do the same with your living space by introducing new cushion and throw designs. From plain and textured cushions to bold, colourful and embellished designs, cushions provide endless possibilities for styling your sofa and are a perfect way to express your personality without the expense of a complete room makeover.

 Know the Basics

A neutral sofa makes the perfect foundation for an interior scheme. If you want to style your sofa like a pro there are some key points to remember. Firstly, take into account the size of your sofa as this will be a guide for the number of cushions you'll need. Also, consider the style of your sofa as this will influence the arrangement for your cushions. If your sofa is plump and comfortable, an informal and eclectic grouping may work best with a layering of textures to help your sofa look inviting and cosy. A more structured shape may suit a more tailored and formal cushion arrangement.

Whatever your style, there are some key guidelines that interior stylists follow when dressing a sofa. The basic principle of styling with cushions is to keep either with pairs or groups of 3, 4 or 5, placing the larger cushions at the back and smaller sizes towards the front. Multiple textures create depth and interest so select cushions in your chosen colour palette with mixed and contrasting weaves. Layer alternate designs of cushion so you have a larger scale pattern next to a plain or textured cushion and bring the more beautiful detailed designs to the front to attract the eye.

Find a stylish cushion arrangement to suit your sofa

Whether you want to create an informal ambience or a more tailored look, when it comes to placement of cushions on your sofa, there are a number of arrangements you can use to create an aesthetically pleasing result. This will also of course, depend on your budget and how many cushions you feel you need.

1. Paired Cushion Arrangement

This is the most simple way to style your sofa. Place two cushions in the same design in the centre of the sofa with a visually pleasing gap between them.

Featured Cushions: Blooma Navy, Grey and Ochre

To take this look further, choose two complementary designs and place the cushions in pairs with the smaller cushion in front of the larger one on either side of your sofa.

Featured Cushions: Camilla Blue, Grey and Ochre, Matt Velvet Dove Grey

2. Eclectic Cushion group

This look is all about texture and multi layered sofa styling. When selecting cushion designs think about the scale of the patterns - a large, medium and a small scale pattern will help produce an interesting and well balanced arrangement. Although you would think this is the easiest option for styling your cushions, for the look to be successful it's advisable to keep to a common theme. This could either be the colour palette or a common visual quality such as natural linens or sumptuous textures and velvets.

Featured Cushions from left to right: Matt Velvet Navy Blue, Angus Duck Egg, Florence, Little Leaf Wedgewood Blue, Arizona Blue, Matt Velvet Navy Button Cushion, Florence Boudoir cushion

3.  Balanced Cushion arrangement

This is one of the most visually appealing ways of styling your sofa as it focuses on the use of symmetry.  A balanced cushion arrangement provides an opportunity to play with colour, pattern and texture as the symmetrical arrangement harmonises contrasting fabrics. Here you may also want to consider introducing different shapes of cushion such as bolsters or circular cushions whilst keeping to the symmetrical theme.

 Featured Cushions: Matt Velvet Navy Blue, Renaissance Navy, Matt Velvet Beige Bolster Pillow

4. Separated Trio Arrangement

Using a group of 3 cushion designs, place the largest cushion at the back of the sofa, then add the medium size cushion in front of that and the smallest cushion at the very front of the group. Mirror the group on the other side of the sofa for a tailored look. 

For a slightly more casual arrangement, mix up the fabrics and placements on the left and right side groups whilst using the same designs to keep the arrangement balanced.

Featured Cushions: Palm Leaf, Linea Teal, Matt Velvet Fern Green

5. Alternating Patterns

Another easy to create style, this look uses 2 or 3 complementary cushion designs. Beginning at both ends of the sofa, layer one design on top of the other towards the middle, alternating between the cushion designs.

 Featured Cushions: Camilla Purple, Pink and Grey, Matt Velvet Blush Pink

Be your own interior designer

Don't be afraid to experiment when styling your sofa - cushions and throws are an easy way to embrace trends or add pops of colour to an otherwise neutral scheme. Consider using different sizes of cushions to break up the traditional square cushion style. If you're on a limited budget, re-use cushions you already have and add in some new complimentary designs, changing the arrangement to instantly create a fresh new look.

McAlister Textiles make styling your sofa easy as we offer all our unique fabric designs in a range of cushion styles and sizes, which are made to order to ensure the highest quality. Swatches are available for each fabric design so you can plan your perfect cushion combination for your sofa from your sofa.


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