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How Many Cushions Should You Really Have On A Sofa?


A key element of choosing a sofa can be the furnishings you choose to go with it. These can be existing ones you have a particular fondness for, but usually involve cushions as a new purchase that can really bring colours to the fore or make a bigger feature in a subtle and clever way.


Cushions are a great, cost-effective soft furnishing that allow an element of expression and sometimes carry a theme more than you would dare to do with the sofa itself. In that sense, cushions are an important feature, and certainly they are flexible and allow you to adapt your interior design to suit changes in fashions, trends, tastes and even changes in season and mood.

Your choice of cushion design can present a formal theme or allow you to be more eclectic in your designs, but it is important to maintain a solid colour base which allows you to go off on tangents of other colours and patterns but retain a central theme, which is usually the colour of the sofa. How many cushions are right for a particular sofa is of course down to personal preference, but there are some hard and fast rules that will help you to determine where you have maybe gone too far, or where you could make a couple of subtle additions to really make an impact.

Basic rules of choosing cushions for a sofa

Generally speaking, if your children or guests disappear into a sea of cushions as they recline onto a sofa, or cushions are then projected in all angles onto the floor, you have probably gone too far. Likewise, you can make too much of a feature of cushions on a sofa. If you notice that guests feel awkward or are hesitant in sitting down, your intricate cushion arrangement may have gone off the scale. They may joke that they don’t want to upset your wonderful hard work by sitting on it, when that’s exactly what they mean. So what is the perfect amount?

On a regular sofa there are usually three ways you can arrange cushions. A minimalist look, such as two cushions on a two-seater sofa or three on a three-seater etc, can be effective if the cushion designs and colours are strong. In this sense, the cushion design is perhaps more important than if you have a lot more cushions, and it can have a real impact in a very effective way.

When you start to add cushions you need to strike a balance. Three cushions on a two-seater sofa, for example, allows you to stick to a base colour theme but also introduce new colours, which might match other features in the room, such as a vase, a lampshade or a floor rug. This can be sized-up to use five cushions on a three-seater sofa, and so on. A third way to use cushions is to create a symmetrical effect, with maybe two matching cushions on each end of the sofa and a single one in the middle. This still allows you to introduce new colours and make the sofa the central feature of the room in terms of furniture and design.

When to stop adding cushions to a sofa

On a larger corner sofa you of course have more scope, but by and large the same rules apply. A minimalist look might involve five cushions, a balanced look might involve eight, while a symmetrical look might use ten or more.

After this, it really is down to personal expression. You can have mis-matched cushions arranged in a way to suit you, if you have an eclectic streak, but you should be wary of cushions with clashing patterns which shouldn’t be paired, but might work okay at separate ends of the sofa. In this sense, it is easy to become a little obsessive over arranging cushions to maintain a look that works design-wise and is also tidy!

So, how many cushions should you really have on a sofa? Well, it’s your preference but we hope we have given you a few tips here for what to do 🙂

Author: Iain Cowsill

Hi! I'm Iain, owner of Nabru self assembly sofas. Established over 15 years ago, Nabru is the UK's leading name in quality self assembly sofas, sofa beds and corner sofas. Our sofas are guaranteed to fit through your door! Shop our range of sofas at www.nabru.co.uk today.