Your sofa deserve hero status in your living room, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be left pristine and unadorned by so much as a bolster cushion. That approach removes at one stroke the chance to give your decorating a little oomph with some well-placed accessories, and there are all sorts of good reasons to pair your sitting-room star with a few attendant items of furniture. Let us explain.
Must-have: the scatter cushion
A selection of beautiful cushions can bring colour and a little va-va-voom to your sofa. An elegantly simple frame like that of the Koala sofa, which comes in décor-friendly storm grey or midnight blue, gives you the perfect base to unleash your inner stylist. A few suggestions:
• For impact, avoid a row of same-size-and-style cushions and add a mix of patterns, shapes and fabrics. Theme with a common colour to give the whole look a sense of cohesion.
• Try layering on cushions in the same hue but with different textures for a stunning but subtle aspect; touches of metallic thread or sparkly sequins never went amiss in a tone-on-tone look.
• Look for feather-filled cushions, which have a more luxurious appearance than the too-uniform look of polyfilled ones.
• Aim for an informal sprawl rather than a regimented row, and don’t feel you have to karate chop each one. What did they ever do to you?
Must-not: too many cushions
The golden rule is comfort. If you feel squashed – or worse, have to offload a few cushions to fit on the sofa yourself – that should be a hint to take the less-is-more route to accessorising.
Must-have: the throw
There’s a lot to love about a well-placed throw – not least because it can be snuggled into when the evening has grown a little chilly. But a pretty throw has decorative kudos too, adding texture and softness to a plain piece of furniture or a dash of colour to a neutral base. The throw lowdown:
• Fine knits like merino, or throws fashioned from rich fabrics such as silk or cotton velvet, have a wonderful tactility and drape beautifully, making them perfect to sling elegantly over a sofa arm or across one corner of the back.
• Chunkier knits, faux fur or heavier blanket styles lend themselves well to a more formal arrangement, folded neatly over one arm, tucked over the back or spread along the seat – which has the added benefit of helping to keep your seat cushions pristine for longer.
• Fringing, pretty pom-poms and metallic thread are an on-trend bonus (not necessarily all at once, but if embellishments float your boat, why not?).
Must-not: a fabric frenzy
There’s no point in hiding your furniture in a welter of woven blankets. One artfully draped throw or at most, a couple of light ones layered together, will deliver colour without chaos.
Must-have: supplementary furniture
While your sofa can stand alone as a key piece, its premier purpose is to provide you with a comfortable place to relax, and that means adding in a few items to make it a place you love to be. Decide how you’re going to use it:
• Gathering with family and friends to watch TV? Invest in a coffee table for movie snacks. It’s important to get the proportions right so the pieces work together. A good rule of thumb is to look for a coffee table that’s about two-thirds of the sofa length and around the same height as, or a little lower than, your seat cushions. If in doubt, map out the size of your chosen table on the floor with sheets of newspaper or a drop cloth before you commit.
• Lounging with a cuppa? A piece with broad, flat arms like the Koala sofa can accommodate a mug on a slim tray, but if you’re worried about knocking it off, add a side table that is a few inches shorter and sits slightly lower than the sofa arm.
• Curling up in the corner with a book? Add a reading lamp. An arched or angled style lets you position the lamp base behind or beside the sofa so it has less visual impact, but still allows light to fall on the page. If you prefer a table lamp, make sure it casts sufficient illumination to read by, and beware of choosing one that’s too tall or broad for your side table.
Must-not: pack it in
Your sofas can do all sorts of decorating jobs – setting the style of your space, directing foot traffic, defining the living zone in an open-plan area – so look to position them accordingly. If you have space, pull the sofa forward off the wall to give it breathing room, and avoid surrounding it with small bits of furniture, which will make the room look hemmed in and cluttered.
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About the writer
Jane Parbury spent several years devising, crafting and editing the features in Home Beautiful magazine, both in print and online, before making a South Coast sea change and embarking on a freelance career. With wide experience as an editor and content producer for homes and lifestyle publications both in Australia and the UK, she lives and breathes all things interiors.