Like so many things with your interiors, it all comes down to how you feel, and what you personally think works best for your space. (They’re much like fitted sofa covers in that regard.) Sometimes it’s just a matter of experimenting a bit, and standing back to see what you think of the effect as a whole.
We realise that’s all a bit vague in terms of actual advice though, so if you’re stuck for a place to start, here are a couple of guidelines that could give you a solid jumping-off point.
It’s what’s on the inside that counts
Sometimes, the lessons from heartwarming family films can be applied to interior design too. Although we’ll admit the lesson applies a little more… specifically in this context. You don’t need any specialist knowledge to suss out that the filling inside your cushions is a huge influence on how squishy they are. So, your choice of filling will probably be largely determined by whether you’re planning to use your cushions for decoration, or for extra comfort, or a combination of the two.
If you’re thinking more of decoration, then a foam or synthetic wadding filling (both reasonably common) helps them hold their shape better, so you can use them as reliable extra visual touches. The flipside to that is that they don’t look as inviting or comfortable as natural fillings like feather or down. These latter ones create a much squishier and more comfortable surface for homeowners, family members, and guests. They take a little more investment, but for many people they’re well worth the cost. The choice is up to you!
Give them the chop
Don’t worry – we’re not suggesting you take a pair of scissors to your cushions. (Perish the thought!) In this context, ‘chopping’ cushions refers to a specific way of shaping them. If you take a moment to picture a cushion, you’re probably picturing one in a square / diamond shape, right? And that’s probably how you’ll plump them up on your sofa.
Now, you can ‘chop’ them with a karate-chop motion, using the outer edge of your hand. That creates a V-shaped indent in the top of the cushion, which ends up making them a lot more comfortable and inviting. As you’d expect, it works best with cushions that have feather fillings or down fillings, because they’re a lot more malleable.
The 2-2-1 technique
This is one of the most popular – and effective – ways to arrange cushions in almost any interior, so it’s probably a good one to try! It basically involves working from the outside in, so that you end up with a neatly symmetrical display that has a single cushion in the centre. Start by placing two cushions on the furthest sides of your sofa, ideally with each one resting against the arms. Then, place two matching ones next to them further in, with their edges slightly overlapping the first pair’s. Finally, place a single accent cushion in the centre. It’s a beautifully intuitive display that’s highly versatile, so if you’re ever in doubt about what works for your space, it’s a good one to fall back on!
Best of all, it provides a great template for you to be as creative as you like. For example, you can use cushions of different sizes, shapes or colours to provide an extra bit of visual interest. (A distinctive design for the centre cushion always works a treat.)
Are there any alternatives?
One of the reasons that the 2-2-1 technique is so widely used is that it strikes an excellent balance between formal and informal. If you’re looking for a more formal look, you might want to try using even numbers of cushions instead. As a general rule of thumb, even numbers tend to be regarded as more formal. A large part of that is because the symmetry of even cushions provides a more organised and regimented look, one that’s perfect for providing a feeling of balance in a more formal setting.
On the other hand, odd numbers of cushions tend to be seen as more relaxed and laid back (whether we realise it or not). It’s that sense of being slightly imperfect, slightly off-kilter, that makes it look even more natural and welcoming. If you’re looking for a particularly cosy look, you might want to consider grouping them up on one side of the sofa, which can give a distinctive sense of extra personality to the space.
Another option, which we’ve briefly touched on above, is to consider different shapes. Square / diamond shaped cushions tend to be the default option, and the ones we’re all used to seeing in other people’s homes, but they’re far from the only choice. Circular cushions can be a curious and appealing option, as they can help break up the lines of a room, helping it to feel even softer and more relaxed.
And here’s one final (super important) tip for you – don’t be afraid to break the rules! As we touched on above, everything we’ve been talking about are just good guidelines to get you started. When it comes right down to it, you’re the one who’s going to be living in the space everyday, so you’re the one best placed to decide how you’d like it to look.
Looking for a bit more inspiration? Why not check out our post on how we can expect living rooms to change in 2022?
Or if you’re thinking about new sofa covers to match any new cushions, we’ve got plenty of those too! In fact, here at Cover My Furniture we provide a fantastic range of sofa covers, chair covers and more in a wide variety of colours to choose from, encompassing everything from red and orange to blue and yellow – and plenty more!
If you’re having trouble making a decision, or you’re looking for something in particular, don’t hesitate to let one of us know. You can get in touch using the contact form on our website, or through our Facebook or Instagram. We’re always happy to hear from you!