How to match cushions to your sofa: a style guide - Lifestyle AU
How to match cushions to your sofa: a style guide

How to match cushions to your sofa: a style guide

When you’re redecorating your living room there are many things to take into consideration. Lounge suits, curtains, rugs, lighting, shelving - the list goes on. Cushions are some of the smaller features and do at times get overlooked, remaining a missed opportunity. However, they can be a marvellous design asset, especially when coordinated with the sofa they’re placed on.

Words by Yohei Guy

Knowing exactly how to match cushions to your sofa can be challenging. Many people do so without much thought, not realising the potential that exists when done well. Thankfully there are some basic fundamentals you can follow to create a look that adds a great stylistic element to your home decor.

Modern sofa and cushion styling at the Weave Home

Sofa cushions: the basics

Before getting into materials, styles, and other details involved in picking the right cushion collection, you need to have a grasp of the basics. Otherwise, your understanding of how and why things work will be lacking.

Firstly, cushions are something that can enhance your living room without breaking the bank. There are of course designer cushions that are absolutely stunning and well worth the purchase, but equally, there is a place and purpose for simple cushions with solid colours too.

Sofas are rarely sold with cushions which is why they often become an afterthought once you’ve had a new one delivered. This isn’t necessarily a problem as there’s an amazing range of cushions with diverse designs meaning there’ll be something suitable no matter what kind of sofa you’ve bought.

Cushions can correct mistakes, drawing attention away from a sofa style or colour that doesn’t work on its own. Larger cushions can also be used to cover old stains or wear and tear, negating the need for a full sofa replacement.

Related article - 13 fantastic home decor trends for 2022

Hem Sofa Collection with seamlessly matched cushions

Sizes and styles

When it comes to cushion styling you need to consider sizes, shapes and types. For living rooms or bedrooms where sofas tend to live, decorative cushions are typically preferred.

Here are the four different varieties of decorative cushions:

  • Throw cushions
  • Bolster cushions
  • Lumbar cushions
  • Box cushions

Throw cushions are normally square, rectangular, or triangular. They are also thick and wide. Bolster cushions, on the other hand, are long and cylindrical which are great for neck and back support.

In comparison, lumbar cushions are the perfect balance between being practical and stylish. Even though they are often used when travelling you can also use them with a nice fabric with amazing results on your sofa!

Finally, box cushions don't always come in a box shape and can be found in round designs. As for the size of these styles, the average pillow ranges from 18 x 18 inches to 20 x 20 inches.

Cushions that complement their surroundings at Bona Vista - Photography: Chris Warnes

Common sofa cushion fillings

Although some sofa cushions might look incredible with your home design, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are comfortable to sit on and comfort is an important factor when it comes to cushions.

Therefore, thinking carefully about the filling and material is vital. Overall, there are five different fillings that are commonly found which are:

  • Foam
  • Hollow-fill fibre
  • Feather
  • Polyester
  • Batting

For sofa cushions the most popular choice is foam. This filling gives comfort and helps maintain the shape of the cushion over time.

Creative and contrasting cushions at Halo on Mount

How to match cushions to your sofa

Creating a coherent design for your home can be challenging especially if it's your first time or you're struggling to come up with a theme.

Discovering the perfect sofa cushions is about several elements. You need to consider a colour palette, how many cushions you want, the size and shape and the arrangement when selecting your new cushions.

It might seem like a lot of details to remember but once you start getting through them, step by step, you’ll find an end result starts to take shape.

1. Colour palette

The best way to determine your colour scheme is by examining the room where the sofa is and looking at other furniture and decorations. You want to pick a colour that matches these features in a harmonious way. Many people often choose the same colour for the curtains and cushions as a way to create cohesion within a living room.

You might also want to pick some cushions that are the same colour and others that contrast. For instance, you can use dark tones like black with lighter tones such as white or yellow.

2. Quantity

Of course, the number of sofa cushions you'll need will depend on the size of both the cushions and the sofa. The larger the cushions the fewer you’ll need with the inverse being true for sofa size.

For a 2 seater sofa, we would recommend 2 - 4 cushions as a maximum. Any more than that and the sofa starts to get too full and busy.

For a standard 3 seater sofa you can usually accommodate anywhere between 3 - 6 cushions. Even numbers can help you achieve symmetry while odd numbers bring their own eclectic style.

For large corner sofas, you could stretch this to a maximum of 9 cushions, mixing and matching colours and patterns to create a truly unique assemble.

Marnie 2x3 Corner Sofa contrasting colours beautifully from Maker&Son

3. Sizes and shapes

People often choose a pair of the same size cushions and another pair of different sizes. This helps create depth and texture, especially when introducing patterns too.

Shapes can also be used in multiple ways either to complement the design style of the room or as a way of drawing attention to themselves.

4. Arranging Sofa Cushions

Cushion arrangement is extremely important when it comes to successful sofa matches. The best-matched sofa cushion combinations can go horribly wrong if they are scattered in a nonsensical way.

The traditional look, which still works today, is to put two matching cushions at either end of a standard 2 or 3 seater sofa.

However, if you're looking to create a modern feel then you can be more liberal with your arrangement. Some like to arrange and layer cushions of different sizes in the middle of a sofa as a means to create depth and draw the eye. Others prefer the uniformity that an equal-sized lineup can bring.

Alternatively, you can try the 3:2 arrangement with three cushions at one end and two at the other. This is particularly effective when playing with different patterns and textures.

Excellent cushion arrangement on the Naviglio Sofa using patterns, texture and shapes

5. Textures and materials

Texture and material choices are plentiful when it comes to cushions with the likes of leather, wool, velvet, and linen to consider. Mixing and matching these light and heavy materials is another way of creating visual depth and interest, especially when you also leverage this against the texture of your sofa.

It can be a great form of contrast too which can make both sofa and cushions stand out as features in your living room.

Exquisite patterns showcased by James Dunlop Textiles

Enhance your sofa with beautiful cushions

As you can see there are some simple but stylish techniques and strategies you can follow when deciding how to match cushions to your sofa. Following these fundamentals, you can have some fun being adventurous and daring to achieve a look that is unique and fitting to you.

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