Tailor Your Sofa to Fit Your Lifestyle and Style
Jun 08
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The Art of Sofa Styling: Mastering the Perfect Sofa Look

I don’t know about you, but I think about my sofa a lot. It may be because my front door leads right into my living room, so it’s the first thing you see when entering my home. Or maybe it’s because I just love my sofa too much and want it to shine bright like the beautiful star she is. In any case, sofa styling has been top of mind for me lately, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to break down the art of sofa styling for both my sake and yours.

Grab your pens and notebooks, because this is a living room rules post you won’t want to forget. You see, I’ve learned a thing or two about crafting the perfect sofa look over the years, and I’m here to share my secrets with you. From color palettes to texture variations, we’re going to dive deep into the world of sofa styling and uncover the keys to creating a cozy, inviting, and oh-so-stylish living space.

The Five Golden Rules of Sofa Styling

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s start with the five golden rules of sofa styling that will serve as our guiding principles:

  1. Keep a Cohesive Color Palette: As you’ve likely heard me say before, maintaining a consistent color palette of 3-5 colors is the key to mixing styles and patterns successfully. This ensures your sofa styling looks pulled together and intentional.

  2. Vary Sizes and Shapes: For visual interest, you’ll want to mix up the sizes and shapes of your pillows. Think lumbar, square, and round in a range of dimensions.

  3. Add Different Textures: If you’re going with a more neutral color scheme, incorporating various textures can add intrigue without being too loud.

  4. Balance Colors Evenly: Each side of your sofa should have a nice balance of the colors in your palette. You don’t want all of one color on one side.

  5. Vary the Scale of Patterns: Patterned throws and pillows are a great way to infuse life and personality, just make sure to mix in both small and large-scale patterns.

With these guidelines in mind, let’s dive into some real-life examples to see how the experts at Sofaspectacular have mastered the art of sofa styling.

Sofa Styling Inspiration from the Pros

One of my favorite versions of Emily’s LA living room is when she was experimenting with a new rug and sofa. While she wasn’t in love with the final rug and sofa combo, the sofa itself was styled to perfection.

Why it works: The large-scale patterns are layered evenly, so neither side of the sofa is too overwhelming. The two solid but textured color pillows on each side balance out the patterns, so the overall look isn’t too loud but still visually interesting.

In another iteration of Emily’s LA living room, Velinda styled the same sofa for a Feel Good Flash Makeover, going for a more-is-more approach. But don’t worry, she still applied those five golden rules.

Why it works: The color palette is kept simple with 3 colors – gray, white, and muted blue. While there are multiple striped pillows present, each is varied in scale and texture, so there’s not too much of the same thing happening.

Moving on to another version of Emily’s LA living room, we have this gorgeous custom Lawson-Fenning sofa styled minimally with a few pillows and a throw. Emily wanted the sofa to feel clean, fresh, and purposeful, so she dialed back her styling to let the curves and shape of the sofa shine.

Why it works: The two pillows are different sizes and shapes that complement each other, while the throw blanket adds a large-scale pattern to bring in more visual interest.

In Jess’s small-space living room, she has a simple but not at all boring sofa that allows for a myriad of styling options. Going off the color palette of her living room, she peppered in pillows and a throw that would complement both the room and the sofa.

Why it works: Jess sticks to her color palette with the colorful pillows and added a large-scale patterned lumbar to create some dynamism in the space.

Styling Tight-Back Sofas: Embracing the Structural Charm

What makes tight-back sofas different? Well, they are sturdier due to the lack of back cushions, usually have more of a structural shape, and let’s be honest – they’re not always the most comfortable. And that’s where pillow styling comes in.

As Bowser says in her reveal post, the shape of this tight-back sofa is “cool and edgy, just like her.” Seriously, she is the coolest. But what do you do with such a cool and edgy sofa? I’m glad you asked.

Why it works: The color palette is consistent, and you guessed it – Bowser varies the patterns and textures among the pillows and throw while complementing the size and shape of her sofa.

This is one of my favorite versions of Emily’s LA living room because I just love how this sofa looks in her English Tudor home. It’s so simple and classic, which allows for more modern pillow and throw options.

Why it works: The deep color of the sofa makes the room pop, so the pillows don’t have to be loud. Notice that while there is scale variation, the larger one is more medium. This helps to keep the style still feeling classic. Also, that burgundy pillow is SO good. A fun, unexpected but appropriate color is always a good idea.

Sectional Sofa Styling: Embracing the Extra Space

Sectionals are obviously larger sofas, so you can play even more with pillows and throws – or keep it simple and let your sofa shine. Allow me to demonstrate.

The traditional gray sectional pictured here in Emily’s old Glendale home leaves so much room to play with colors and patterns.

Why it works: The color palette is spread out evenly, so the pillows do not seem too heavy or overwhelming. In the same vein, Emily mixed patterns that did not complicate the styling but instead complement each other.

In Arlyn’s living room reveal, this sofa is obviously a show-stopper, but that didn’t stop her from bringing in even more excitement with her pillow styling.

Why it works: Since the rest of the room is kept quite neutral, there is more space to play with pattern and color with pillow styling. Arlyn sticks to the 5 golden rules by varying patterns, implementing different size and shape pillows, and spreading them evenly across her sectional. Also, the throw draped on the end of the chaise is perfection.

This basement designed by the talented Lea Johnson is one of my favorites. The sectional is bold and colorful on its own, so Lea kept her pillows neutral in color but added more visual interest by mixing bigger, varied patterns.

Why it works: Since the sectional is the star of the show, Lea applied those 5 golden rules to ensure the pillow styling complemented the sofa without overpowering it.

Shop the Look: Curated Pillow and Throw Combos

And now, because it’s so fun, I’ve pulled together some pillow and throw blanket combos for you to shop. Whether you’re looking to create a cohesive and calming vibe or infuse some bold personality, these options have you covered.

Combination Products
1 Dijon Cotton Pom Throw, Oversized Ivory Angled Stripe Lumbar Pillow, District Loom Vintage Pillow Cover No 70, Recycled Cotton Blend Pillow with Tassels, Pico 18 Black Round Pom Pom Pillow
2 Clique White Pillow, Chunky Stripe Fringe Throw Blanket, Persimmon Mohair Pillows, Ray Pillow
3 Gigi Pillow, Boucle Faux Mohair Throw Blanket, Taupe Diamond Cotton Chenille Lumbar Pillow, Woven Washed Windowpane Pillow

Conclusion: Elevating Your Sofa to New Heights

There you have it, my friends – the secrets to crafting the perfect sofa look. By applying those five golden rules and taking inspiration from the pros, you’ll be well on your way to elevating your living space and making your sofa the star it deserves to be.

Remember, the key is finding the right balance between cohesion and variety, letting your sofa’s unique personality shine through. So go forth, get styling, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you land on that oh-so-perfect sofa look.

I can’t wait to see what you create! And if you need any more guidance, be sure to check out the wide selection of custom sofas and expert styling advice at Sofaspectacular. Happy styling!

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