How To Style A Sofa In Your Living Room

It’s the centrepiece of the living room and gets a lot of use, so choosing a sofa that looks good and feels cosy is important. But don’t underestimate the potential that styling can bring – a sofa will look bare without accessories and over cluttered with too many.

It’s all about finding the perfect balance, and it goes beyond throws and cushions, although these accessories are good places to start. To achieve a cohesive look, think about the surrounding area, such as plants, floor lamps and a rug, for example. Here are 9 ways to style your sofa like a pro.

Adding a throw or blanket on your sofa is not only handy for cosy evenings, but it can add a pop of colour to your scheme, or if it’s neutral, can soften the overall design. During spring/summer, choose patterned thin throws to energise a room, and swap for a chunky wool throw in autumn/winter.

‘You can either drape it around the top of the sofa or on the arms to create a cosy feel,’ says interior designer Vanessa Arbuthnott. ‘It is a great way to bring in an added texture and perfect for snuggling up on winter nights,’

You could also place your throw over the seat cushions – this can help to preserve the cushion fabric as well as providing protection from dogs, cats and children.

How To Style A Sofa In Your Living Room

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‘You can transform your sofa by layering in new cushions –it’s the ultimate easy update,’ says Sarah Keady, House Beautiful‘s Style Director. ‘Mix different texture and fabrics together with accessories to add interest to your sofa and keep it all super tactile.’

If you opt for patterned cushions, then cluster together groups of geometric pillows, for example. Place each one on each sofa cushion for a look that is well thought out, suggests Vanessa. Place some colour block pillows in between to really brighten up the room.

Also, different cushion shapes can trick the eye, it all depends on how you place them. ‘Use a rectangular cushion in front of two square cushions as this gives the illusion of different height levels,’ says Vanessa.

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Adding a medium or large plant to the side of the sofa balances your space and creates a natural and light ambience. ‘Try and opt for a vibrant all green plant as it soothes the eye and provides a modern yet balanced look,’ suggests Vanessa.

To really frame your space, invest in a tall indoor plant. We especially love these low maintenance varieties: Swiss Cheese Plant, Kentia Palm and Areca Palm.

‘Introduce a tall plant for height and spread, like a Kentia Palm or a Fiddle Leaf Fig which sit so well behind a sofa or in a corner with the right light. To make more of a feature, add a collection of different plants in varying heights – plants like Philodendrons and Monsteras love growing alongside one another, so experiment placing them together,’ explain the plant experts at Leaf Envy.

libby sofa, house beautiful collection at dfs

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A lighting feature on the other side of your sofa will frame the look and help you create an inviting lighting scheme. Look for a floor lamp to add height and choose warm bulbs to add a cosy feeling. If your sofa is more on the neutral side, then invest in a brightly coloured lampshade.

‘Lighting is so important in living rooms – use task lights to create a cosy corner as the evening draws in, ideal for a reading nook,’ says Sarah.

gubi 9602 floor lamp, nest

GUBI 9602 Floor Lamp, Nest


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Like you would with a bedside table in your bedroom, bookend your sofa with an end table or side table. ‘A side table next to your sofa is great to keep everything within arms reach whilst you relax,’ says Sarah. ‘It doesn’t need to be big, just enough for the essentials like a cuppa and the remote control.’

Caesar Side Table from By Boo, Cuckooland


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A coffee table is a living room essential and is often centred, placed directly in front of the sofa. They’re brilliant places to stack books and show off flowers, and ideal for the remote control, newspapers and magazines. If you’re also working with a side table, ensure the space isn’t too cluttered.

denmark coffee table, arteriors

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Rugs are a great way to add some texture or pattern in your space and bring all of your furniture together. You might prefer to have a soft and sumptuous rug directly in front of your sofa; perfect for sinking your feet into at the end of a long day! If possible, avoid ‘the floating rug’ look – this is where you have a small rug in the middle of the room touching no furniture. Instead, choose a large rug which enables you to place it underneath the sofa, or at least for the sofa feet to sit on the perimeter of the rug.

ligne roset living room with pukka sofa, armchair, footstool, table, rug

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Footstools, pouffes and ottomans perfectly complement a sofa (especially if it’s a matching set) and some, dependent on its size, work great for seating extra guests. Some footstools come with storage features so are perfect for stowing away magazines, throws, blankets, and the like.

house beautiful darcy sofa at dfs, corner sofa

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If you have space above your sofa ensure you optimise it, as this is your focal point which pulls people’s gaze towards the sofa. This could be your favourite artwork or a cluster of family photos. ‘It can be a nice touch to fill some wooden frames with a few bold colours which mirror your sofa colours and coordinate with your theme,’ says Vanessa.

‘The sofa is often the investment piece of your living room so give it the love it deserves by framing it with your favourite prints,’ adds Sarah.

Whatever you choose, go for an arrangement which is symmetrical and visually appealing. ‘It may sound obvious, but how you frame, mount or display your artwork can change how you see it. A smaller artwork or photograph can instantly be made twice the size simply by getting it reframed with a mount and a new contemporary frame,’ says Elinor Olisa Barikor, seasoned art expert and co-founder of, an online gallery which has just partnered with to launch an exclusive collection of limited-edition wall art.

‘Another trick is to try painting a square or rectangle directly on the wall (a sample pot from a DIY store should be enough) and hanging your artwork over a colour block to make it truly pop.’

reuben sofa degree art, sofacom

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