Dressing your sofa with cushions

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It’s time to say farewell to any cushions that don’t fill you with joy. If your current additions came with your sofa, once belonged to an ex-partner, have been half-eaten by a dog, are centuries old or clash with existing furniture, turn things around by replacing each one with a striking design that will instantly change the look and feel of your room.

The search for the perfect set often starts in the textiles department of an interiors store. In this scenario, it’s easy to feel like an overwhelmed child combing a sweet store, as your eyes dart over the endless rows on offer. With so many fabrics and colours to choose from, how do you know which ones are the best fit not only for your sofa but your entire scheme?

Let us take you through the steps of selecting cushions for your sofa, helping you find the perfect pieces for your two or three-seater and revealing how to style them like an interior designer. So, sit back, relax and read on for tips on arranging cushions, colour-matching advice and so much more.

Choosing a cushion style

What colour cushions will match your sofa?

Before comparing fabrics and contemplating whether you want pom-poms or not, decide on your colours. Personalise your palette by sitting on your sofa and making a visual record of the surrounding shades. Your cushions don’t necessarily have to match your sofa, in fact, if you want to add impact it’s better to opt for contrasting colours. Tie your scheme together by selecting tones that are echoed in accent pieces such as rugs, ornaments and wall art. As these hues already feature, chances are they are the colours that are the most ‘you’. If you’re needing further inspiration, download a copy of the design colour wheel. Shades that are opposites on the wheel are complementary colours whilst ones that are next to each other are called ‘analogous colours’. These colours match well and are particularly effective when grouped in threes.

Take a look at our cushion arranger, where you can try out colours and styles by mixing and matching over 200 different designs to find the perfect combination.

What’s the best fabric for your sofa cushions?

Prefer decorating with neutrals? Spice things up with unique fabrics instead; it’s difficult to over-do tactile materials. When playing with texture, first consider the feel of the room. Jute and stonewashed linen cushion covers result in a living space that is both rustic and relaxed. Conversely, silk and velvet pieces are the epitome of glamour and make a sitting room appear more put-together; even if your scheme is in desperate need of a spring clean, it will still look sophisticated with such elegant cushions on display.

How to mix and match patterns

How many patterns should you introduce to a room? Well, this all depends on how dramatic a look you are wanting to create. If you’re searching for bed cushions, lean towards low key and subdued designs in calming tones. There’s lots of scope for experimentation in the sitting room; combine as many large-and small-scale patterns as you like. To pull focus in a scheme, take a printed or embroidered cushion cover, choose a featured colour and pair it with a plain cushion cover in the same shade, creating a contrast.

Changing your scatter cushions every season

Change your cushion covers each season and acknowledge the fabrics and colours you choose. It’s common to find covers and pads sold separately, which gives you plenty of options; it can be quite inconvenient to have to buy the cushion pad included. If you like to change your cushion covers seasonally, you won’t need these extra cushion pads, they will just take up storage space.

Spring to action

If you’re getting your scheme ready for spring, introduce some block-printed cushions and designs clad in light cotton. Flowers and botanical motifs are also prevalent at this time of year. Spring is all about embracing the outdoors once again and bringing more colour into your life, and there’s little that reflects this seasonal change more than a fun floral print. Florals come in so many different forms; our collection includes everything from abstract leaf patterns that explore the use of negative space to pieces hand-embroidered with delicate silhouettes.

Summer loving

The majority of our cushions are made from linen or cotton in light and tropical tones, which look good all year round. However, breathable fabrics such as these are particularly suited to summer when you don’t want your sitting room to appear too heavy. Instead, turn up the heat with pretty Ikat fabric cushion covers woven from pure silk. Not only are Ikats dyed the most stunning shades, but they are crafted by hand on narrow looms, resulting in a hazy, incredibly textural aesthetic.

I don’t be-leaf it

Autumn requires rich fabrics and luxurious layers; from the sumptuous textures of velvet, faux fur and leather, to jewel-toned colours and glimmering candlelight. It’s a season where glamour reigns supreme and one way to observe this is by introducing hand-made embellished cushions to your scheme. If your sofa, bed or armchair feels a bit flat, then an embroidered cushion will provide the final flourish to finish the look.

Winter is coming

In the colder months, velvet is an obvious choice thanks to its soft and luxurious feel. The cotton velvet blend we use features a small percentage of synthetic material, and whilst we would usually object to a material that isn’t 100% natural, we have found that this particular fabric is more hard-wearing making it a very practical choice for interiors.

How to arrange scatter cushions

How many cushions should you put on a sofa?

There isn’t really a right or wrong number when it comes to dressing a sofa with cushions (except zero cushions, of course). Pile them high to make your sofa look as enticing as possible. It’s better to lean towards more rather than less; you’re looking to create a sofa you can’t wait to sink into after a long day.

Take the piece of furniture into account when creating your arrangement; look at all the colours and patterns you have to work with before making a decision on how to style them. The strongest cushion doesn’t necessarily always have to go at the front and it’s worth playing with scale; use different sized cushions and add an extra dimension to your arrangement by placing a small cushion in a complementary colour in front of a large one.

Modular and corner sofas require more cushions so that each section features a burst of colour. Classic two and three-seaters only require a few at one or each end, depending on whether you’d prefer a symmetrical or asymmetrical layout. For a small 2-seater sofa, perhaps stick to three cushions maximum. For large 3-seater sofas, why not try a mix of square and rectangular cushions? You don’t have to have an even number of cushions; they don’t have to be styled near the arms of your sofa, either.

It’s worth consulting an arranging tool when choosing a layout or taking photographs instore of your favourite cushion and sofa combinations. Once you’ve found an arrangement you like and purchased your cushions, ensure they remain in prime condition by regularly plumping them and replacing the pads every few years. If your cushions are looking a bit limp, plump them up by introducing a cushion pad one size bigger than the cover. Banish limp corners by ensuring you push the corners of your cushion pad right into the corners of the cover.

If you feel you could do with a little more inspiration, take a look at our guide to adding colour with cushions. If you’re near one of our stores, why not pop in to see the cushions we have to offer? There will always be someone on hand to offer advice and help you find the perfect combination.

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