How to Style a Sofa: 4 Simple Looks That Are Easy to Create

Do you want to know tips on how to style a sofa? There are a few key things you need to do to make your sofa look amazing and inviting like the ones you see in catalogs.

Just apply my professional tips and your sofa will always look stylish and inviting. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll nail it every time.

Sofa without any styling

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Style a sofa with these highly recommended accent pillows that Amazon reviewers swear by!

A blank canvas

A lot of people think you have to jam your couch full of pillows to make it look comfy but you actually don’t need to do that at all. If you prefer the look, that’s fine, but if you want to style your couch like a pro, don’t overstuff your sofa with pillows.

Pillows are more like little pieces of jewelry for your sofa. Changing out your pillows for the season is just an affordable way to keep your sofa fresh and stylish. Go for pillow covers, not necessarily the inserts–it’s also more affordable.

I’ll use my family room to illustrate some great sofa styling ideas. In my family room, I have a neutral color scheme. It makes styling things so much easier. The color scheme pulls in the neutrals that are in the stone above the fireplace. So here’s my blank state and tips on this look

Look 1: Between seasons

Starting from the outside in

1. Starting from the outside in

I start with my bigger pillows (24 x 24 inches) on the outside corners of the sofa. You can do the bunny chop or not–I happen to like it but you don’t need to do that.

Mixing textures and patterns

2. Mixing textures and patterns

To get a unique look, you’ll want to mix the textures and patterns of your throw pillows. I use velvets and linens. I have pillows with a little bit of sparkle in them, too. The sparkle livens things up a bit. I like pillows that tell a story. I found this small one at Ballard Designs.

Adding a throw in a lighter tone of gray

3. Have a common color

I like this throw because it’s a lighter tone of gray. When you’re mixing your patterns and textures, have a common color. My common color here is gray.

Look 2: Spring

Pillow cover with a map of Tampa Bay
Here’s the pillow that inspired this look. It’s a map of Tampa Bay and it has gorgeous greens and blues and hints of pink. Here are tips about this look:

Bulking up a pillow

1. Bulking up the pillow

I put a 24 x 24-inch pillow insert into a 22 x 22-inch velvet pillow cover to make it extremely full.

Mixing texture

2. Mixing in texture

I mixed in a cream pillow with a little bit of sparkle and some fringe to it.

Odd numbers of pillows

3. Use odd numbers of pillows

Odd numbers of pillows are typically more aesthetically pleasing to the eye but play around with the arrangement until you get it where you want. You don’t have to have an equal amount of pillows on each side.

Use smaller pillows toward the middle of the couch. Note how the Tampa map and the blue pillow are both small and situated more towards the middle.

Adding a blanket over the chaise area
I added a beautiful blanket to this arrangement. I just folded it and then softly spread it out on the chaise portion of the sofa.  

Textured pillow cover
I did play around a bit with the pillows for this look. I took another pretty textured pillow and replaced the map of Tampa with this one.

Pillow cover with a birds nest design
Pretty spring pillow design
Then I added a pretty spring pillow designed with a bird’s nest on the front and placed the blue pillow in the middle for a totally different look for spring. Here I use five pillows.

Summer pillow design

Look 3: Summer

To change this look into a summer sofa style, take out the spring pillow and replace it with an anchor pillow. I replaced the blue pillow with a light blue and gold pillow.

How to style a dark sofa
Dark sofa with light pillows

Look 4: Darker sofa

Upstairs, I have a darker sofa that I used as a canvas, too. I used different textured pillows all in the same color scheme. Use lighter colors on a darker sofa to create some contrast.

The same rules apply: odd number of pillows plus different textures, plus a blanket.

How to style a sofa

How to style a sofa

The key ingredients to styling your sofa like a pro are to start from the outside in towards the center, use odd numbers for more visual appeal, and mix different sizes, textures, and patterns but maintain a color theme.

Let me know in the comment section if you have learned a trick or two on how to style a sofa with pillows.

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Millie Millie on Jul 05, 2024
    What do you consider a lot of pillows? I counted five on the sofa, that seems like a lot to me. Everyone to his own taste, they’re the one lives in their own home.