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How to Arrange Cushions on a Sofa

Words by Emma Hughes

October 19, 2023



How to Arrange Cushions on a Sofa

A sofa is not complete without cushions. Whether you’ve just bought your dream sofa or you’re looking to inject some life back into your living room, cushions are a simple but effective solution to elevate a space.

Knowing how to arrange cushions on a sofa is a fine art and can lift your room from simple to extraordinary in just a few flourishes. Whether you’re creating a cosy nook to retreat to on a winter evening or curating an inviting space for guests to sit and relax, cushions add personality and depth to a seating area.

This guide will detail our top tips on sofa cushion arrangements to really bring your home to life.


How many cushions should you put on a sofa? 

There’s no ‘right’ number of cushions to adorn your sofa with. Whether you like to build cushion forts on the weekends or keep things minimalistic, deciding how to arrange those cushions on a sofa is a personal choice.

It can be tempting to overload your sofa with those squishy pillows – after all, there are so many gorgeous designs out there. But, while this will undoubtedly create a cosy nest, it can be a little overwhelming. As a general rule of thumb, you should add a maximum of three cushions to a two-seater sofa and up to nine for a large corner sofa.

For a ‘lived-in’ feel, place two cushions in one corner of your sofa – resulting in the perfect target to sink into after a long day. Don’t be afraid to play around with cushion size to create some depth. You could opt for a few larger cushions and a couple of smaller ones to add interest and dimension to the space.

When displaying large amounts of cushions, try arranging them in pockets. Have pockets of two or three cushions at either end of your sofa – and even one in the middle – for a cosy but calm effect. This way you can still fit four to nine cushions (depending on your sofa size) in an uncluttered and clear way.

Go one step further and get creative with an accent chair. Either add a single cushion for a balanced aesthetic or layer a couple of cushions to make the seat even more inviting.


Five ways to arrange cushions on your sofa

There are an infinite number of ways to arrange cushions on your sofa to create an inviting space. From keeping things neat and uniform to throwing order out the window and embracing maximalism, the possibilities are endless. These five suggestions are based on a two-seater sofa, but feel free to use your imagination and adapt for any size sofa that works in your space.

1. The three-cushion chop

Enter the three-cushion chop. Place three square cushions on your sofa in a row – one at each arm and another in the middle. Then, use your hand to make a chopping motion at the top of each cushion to create an indent. This will help to plump up the cushion and create a more relaxed and slouchy shape.

2. Rule of thirds

Even numbers can feel more formal, so why not mix things up? The rule of three states that things look more eye-catching and appealing in odd-numbered groups. Instantly add interest with an odd number of cushions in different sizes and shapes – like two rectangle cushions and one square

3. Three’s a crowd

Create the illusion of space with two cushions at one end of the sofa and one by itself at the opposite end. Not only does this create an interesting contrast, but it also draws the eye across the sofa – making it look longer.

4. Play around with texture

Spice up your cushion arrangement by adding a variety of textures. Think faux fur, woven designs or all-over boucle to add some excitement. These warm textures will also work wonders when creating a cosy reading nook to retreat to in the evenings.

5. Think about print

Another great way to add interest to your sofa is by experimenting with different cushion prints. Why not mix and match for an eclectic look? To prevent your space from looking jumbled, keep your colour scheme consistent and choose prints in the same colour. You could alternate patterned and plain cushions along the length of your sofa for a neat and polished feel.

How to arrange cushions on a corner sofa

A corner sofa offers a little more room to play with. Thanks to the extra space, you can get away with bundling on a few more cushions.

Use the sofa shape to your advantage and create a cosy spot in the corner with a collection of comfy pillows. Add in a throw to take your ultra-inviting space to the next level.

For a maximalist look, fill the entire length with plush cushions – so every spot on the sofa is a good one. You could even create layers with different cushion sizes and textures to really bring your space to life.

Or for a sophisticated and uniform feel, place several of the same cushion evenly along the sofa.

Frequently asked questions

How to choose cushions for a sofa?

Consider the colour, size and shape of your sofa. Typically, the larger the sofa the more cushions you may need to effectively fill the space. You will also need to select colours that complement the sofa and work well in your living room.

What cushions go with a grey sofa?

When working out your cushion combination, consider what colours go with a grey sofa. For a modern look, feature mustard yellow cushions to really bring your space to life. Or go for navy and teal cushions for an elegant and calm oasis.

How many cushions do I need for a 2-seater sofa?

For a two-seater sofa, aim for a maximum of three cushions to create an eye-catching and inviting spot.

How do you make cushions look good? 

Opt for an odd number of cushions to your sofa – three works a charm. Having a central point to a group helps to give your eyes something to focus on - we’re thinking a bold design or a striking texture alongside some plain cushions.

What cushions should I choose for a leather sofa?

A leather sofa provides the perfect base to experiment with textures. If your sofa is a darker colour, add cream boucle or white faux fur cushions to contrast with the sleek leather. Opt for heavier cushions to avoid them slipping off the sofa.

What size cushions should I have on my sofa?

The cushion size that you choose should be in proportion to your sofa. On a two-seater sofa, you may find that just two 50cm by 50cm cushions are enough. Experiment with different size cushions to see what works best for your space.

Discover further sofa inspiration

Take a look at our other sofa guides to help elevate your living room:

Browse our extensive collection of sofas and cushions to curate your perfect sofa set up with Barker and Stonehouse.

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