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Everything You Need to Know about Sofa Cushions

  • Cushions
  • how to guide
  • style
  • tips
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Ed Hawes
Sofa cushions guide

When it comes to choosing and arranging sofa cushions, there’s no one size fits all rule. It takes a fair amount of trial and error to get the perfect aesthetic and the right level of comfort you’re aiming for.

Many underestimate the functionality of sofa cushions and often see them as a nuisance. But, cushions are a fantastic way of livening up an old sofa, tying the general style of the room together and providing extra comfort and cosiness.

Discover how to choose the perfect cushions for your sofa as well as how best to arrange them and what popular cushion styles to try.

How to match cushions to the sofa

Modular linen sofa

The colour, texture, size and style of the cushions you choose will all have a big impact on your living room decor. So, it’s important to take everything into consideration to make sure the whole scheme will work well together.

What colours should I choose?

Before choosing the colour of your cushions, first, consider the colour of the sofa and the room. If you have a neutral coloured room, then choosing cushions of the same colour but in varying shades can have a striking effect. Tone-on-tone colour schemes offer a clean, calm and collected style that screams sophistication. Of course, bold, contrasting yet complementary colours can also work extremely well as these colours will really make the sofa stand out.

How do I use bright colours?

If neutral colour schemes aren’t your thing and you’d prefer to go for bright colours for a dramatic, visual effect, the most important thing to ensure is that the colour contrasts well rather than clashes. Navy and orange, dark grey and mustard, silver and purple, green and pink are all excellent examples of contrasting colours that will create a statement in your living room. You can also play around with a block colour cushion and some patterned cushions too, to really make an impact.

What textures and patterns should I choose?

Choosing textured or patterned cushions is a great way to add interest to a room and to your sofa. However, you’ll want to try and avoid using lots of different patterns otherwise this can end up looking cluttered and confused. Instead, look at the existing patterns already in the room and build from there, choosing one theme to run through your accessories.

The same goes for choosing textured cushions, you don’t want too many that clash. A knitted style cushion paired with a smooth cotton cushion, or a faux fur cushion paired with a plain linen cushion, will help your sofa to stand out more, rather than an array of multiple different textures.

How to plump cushions

Once you’ve got your cushions, you’ll want to make sure they are perfectly plump before placing them on the sofa. Plumping your cushions is something that you should do at least once a week, otherwise they can droop, sag and end up looking messy.

  • Vacuum - first, you’ll want to vacuum the sofas to pick up any dust or dirt collected on them. Using the vacuum on them will also help them bounce back into shape as the vacuum will help to loosen and separate the fibres.
  • Plump - take the cushion in both hands, pick it up and drop it on the floor, repeatedly until the filling is evenly distributed again. 
  • Arrange - once the cushions are plumped and looking brand new again, arrange them as desired on the sofa, sit back and enjoy!

How to arrange cushions on a sofa

There are many ways you can style and arrange cushions on a sofa and it’s entirely down to personal preference. If you’re going for a minimalist style, then placing two identical cushions in the middle of the sofa side by side will create a simple, chic look. If you want a cosier look, then you can’t go wrong with the classic balanced arrangement, placing cushions in a symmetrical fashion along the back of the sofa. Or, if you want something a little more relaxed, grouping cushions together in odd numbers such as 3s or 5s, to one side of the corner will help to make your living room look less formal.

To make your cushions look more inviting and stylish, you can also try the chopped method. Don’t worry, this doesn't mean literally chopping up your lovely cushions! During the plumping process, use a karate-chop motion with the side of your hand to create an indent in the middle of the top of the cushion. This will give them a unique v-shape appearance that may be more visually pleasing than a standard straight edged cushion.

Cushion arranging takes a lot of trial and error and involves stepping back every now and then to get a bigger picture. Our top tip would be to place the largest cushions closer to the arms and then work inwards as they get smaller, you can then finish off with an accent cushion in the middle.

How many cushions are too many on a sofa?

The amount of cushions you have depends on the size of the sofa. We’d recommend 2-4 cushions on a 2-seater sofa, 3-6 cushions on a 3-seater sofa, 4-9 cushions on a corner sofa and 1-2 cushions on an armchair. If you have any more than your recommended amount, you may find that you can no longer sit comfortable and need to remove some cushions. When buying a sofa, make sure to check if it already comes with some feature cushions, like our Model 02 sofa, so you know how many extra to get.

For more tips and advice take a look at how to dress your sofa which includes throws, ottomans and a variety of fabrics.

Thinking about investing in a new sofa? Take a look at our comfortable, contemporary, fabric sofas.

Sofas Shop cushions

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