1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. How to Decorate
  4. Your Guide to Cushions on Sofas: Styling, How Many, and More
grey tufted sofa with tan leather cushion and blue and white geometric cushion

Your Guide to Cushions on Sofas: Styling, How Many, and More

How many cushions should be put on a sofa? It seems to be the eternal question plaguing man, woman and child since the dawn of time. Or, since we all kept getting told different things from different people/publications.

The bad news is that I’m adding myself to the list of people to give you their opinion on just how many cushions should be put on a sofa. The good news is that I’m a qualified and working interior stylist and decorator. So I reckon I at least have that going for me!

Let’s dive right into solving the conundrum below. And do drop me a comment further down to share your thoughts.

phoebe sofa from amart furniture in soft grey fabric and floral cushion designs
Loving this relaxed arrangement from Amart Furniture.

How many Cushions should be put on a Sofa?

What you might find disappointing about this post is that I’m not going to give you an exact mathematical formula to solve this cushion conundrum. That’s because I don’t believe it’s the right approach to figuring this out.

There’s a much easier way to determine what a good amount of cushions is, and it all comes down to mood. I bang on about this all the time but it’s a really important factor to think about.

Considering how you want your room to feel plays a big part in how many cushions you’ll put on your sofa.

So think about it:

Is your room cosy and relaxed, more structured and formal, a minimalist dream or a bright and playful zone for having fun in? Seriously, figuring this out first makes the whole process a lot easier.

And if you wanna know how many cushions you should put on your bed, I have the answer here.

beige tribal pattern sofa in rustic living room with matching cushions

Cosy and Relaxed

This is my personal preference when it comes to a sofa in a living room. If you’re of the same thinking, then a ‘more is more’ approach is the way to go here.

What you want to do is put a lot of cushions on the sofa but in a colourway similar to the tone of your sofa. This soothing approach ensures the mood is cosy and comfortable, but that your eye isn’t too over-stimulated by cushions with too much pattern.

If you want to know the best types of cushion inserts to pull this look off, this post has your back. But for a cosy and relaxed vibe, feel free to run cushions all the way along the back of the sofa like in the image above. Don’t you wanna dive right into that sofa?

tufted blue velvet sofa with white faux fur cushions in living room

The Formal Sofa

A formal living room is likely to have a sofa that is firmer and with cleaner lines. You want to keep this look and feel going by ensuring you select the right cushions and the right amount of them.

A more formal setting requires less cushions, but they have to be striking in some way (like a cushion with contrasting piping, or made from velvet or faux fur like above). Putting two on either end of the sofa brings symmetry to the setting and is immediately in keeping with the vibe you’re trying to pull off.

Over-stuffing with two many cushions in a space like this will make it feel too relaxed and chilled. Keep it symmetrical but plush and you’re onto a winning strategy.

Style Tip: Larger, block coloured cushions should sit at the back of an arrangement, while smaller or patterned cushions should sit to the front. Also avoid matching both sides exactly.

minimalist cushion styling on light grey sofa with black pendant light

The Minimalists Dream

As I detailed in this post, I’m not into the minimalist’s way of living. But I don’t mind keeping certain aspects of a home pared back. If you’re of a similar mindset, a minimalist sofa is the way to go.

In this instance I’d put no more than three cushions on the sofa. Keep it fairly subdued in colour, free of pattern, and allow the filling to be fairly flat too. This isn’t about creating an eye-catching moment. It’s about bringing a small amount of additional comfort to the sofa.

In some instances you might opt to leave one end void of a cushion at all. You’ll also want to have them placed fairly effortlessly for an easy, uncontrived look.

PS if you love the cushion look above, see more of it here at In Bed. It’s an awesome store.

art club concept black and white cushions on pink sofa in living room

Bold and Playful

There’s nothing better than a sofa decked out in bright tones or bold pattern. If you’re into a playful living room aesthetic, you can choose cushions in varying sizes, shapes, colours and prints.

The key to getting this look right is to ensure you don’t over-fill the sofa. Choose block coloured cushions to sit at the back, and some patterned ones to sit in front of them. Do this at either end of the sofa, and introduce a throw in a bold tone or chunky texture for some added fun.

Round cushions are a nice idea here too, as are ones with tassels and other embellishments. Allow a few to dominate the configuration at either end of the sofa. And then have some calmer colours and smaller sizes to keep things calm too.

If you love the space above from Art Club Concept, you can replicate the look of it here.

how many cushions to put on a sofa

How do you do it?

What’s your opinion on how many cushions should be put on a sofa? I’d love to know how you approach this issue in your own home. Also let me know which of the four vibes above is your fave.

This post includes images and/or videos of Metricon display homes and events, reproduced with permission. © Metricon Homes Pty Ltd 2016.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

Related Posts​

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

Latest Articles