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How to style cushions – it's easy when you know how

Sometimes it’s good to throw out the rule book, but in the case of cushions there are a few to follow… 
How to style cushions – it's easy when you know how

What’s a sofa without a gorgeous cushion arrangement? Not only do cushions add an extra element of comfort, but they offer you to the chance to ring the changes. Think of them as the jewellery of the interior’s world – allowing you to dress up or dress down your home as the mood takes you.


Surprisingly, it can be rather overwhelming when it comes to choosing cushions. Is there such a thing as too many? Does size matter? Casual or formal? The list is endless, so we thought it was worth exploring a few cushion styling guidelines. We don’t normally like to dictate at Linwood, but we hope that by following a few soft furnishing rules you’ll be able to arrange cushions like an interior designer.

No1: How to arrange cushions on a sofa

Omega Velvet | Linwood


The first big question… how many cushions? Sofas are designed for sitting and too many cushions can create a comfort-free zone, so proceed with care. However, don’t skimp; there’s nothing worse than just one or two cushions on a sofa – it just looks mean spirited, unless you are trying to make a minimalist style statement. On the above Omega velvet sofa, we choose a classic mix of large cushions (50cm by 50cm) and added smaller cushions for the front. Mixing and matching different sized couch cushions in such a fashion creates interest and stops it looking to formulaic.

Close Encounters/Velvet Cushion/Linwood

Another option is to place cushions in the corner; it’s a classic look but one that has stood the test of time. Either choose the same design or use block-coloured cushions to anchor bold prints for a more interesting cushion arrangement. The opposite end of the sofa will simply be a mirror image. If you prefer something more lived-in, try moving them away from the arms and grouping them in odd numbers rather than pairs – this works particularly well for curved sofas. And sometimes less is more… when dressing an armchair or loveseat one beautiful cushion in the centre is all you need.


No2: Mix colour and pattern

Linwood Cushions

Our velvet cushions celebrate two things Linwood is renowned for: colour and pattern. Use different combinations to create different moods and remember the great thing about a cushion is you can move it easily. Lots of different cushions can look fun mixed up on a plain sofa – turning a blank canvas into a work of art – but what looks like a casual, thrown together look always has a common style thread. Here, cushions – from top, clockwise: Fawkes, Java, Bukhara  and Fez (now discontinued) – look stunning because the palette is similar in tone, each design is piped and all our made from the same material, velvet. If you follow at least two of these suggestions, it will allow you to have fun, safe in the knowledge your choice of cushions will work as a whole.


No3: Arranging different shapes and sizes

Ruffled Cushions/Linwood

If you love formality, then choose cushions in similar sizes and finishes but for a more relaxed lived-in feel, play around with different shapes. Mix square and round cushions in a colour palette of bright hues in the same fabric and even throw in different textures – linen and velvet always look interesting together. For an assorted cushion arrangement such as this, you don’t have to have perfectly plumped cushions; it looks much more inviting if they feel ‘thrown’ together. Effortless style, that only requires a little effort.

No4: Don’t ignore cushion inners

Otto Cushion | Linwood

The importance of the correct cushion inner should never be underestimated. All our cushions, from Otto shown above to the other designs within our new collection, have feather fillings to ensure they are super comfy. To plump your cushions, add a 'karate chop' in the centre to create a crease – it will make them feel lived in and loved. And while we are being practical, let’s touch upon placement. Cushions should be placed on their bottoms not on their corners, and always with their zips hidden. It may sound rather pedantic, but as with many things in life it really does make for a more balanced cushion arrangement.


No5: Cushion co-ordination

Elba Linen Cushions/Linwood

Select shades of cushions that match your existing scheme to create a sense of calm. For this cushion arrangement, we choose matching cushions from our new Elba linen collection to complement the existing window seat. All our made from a slubby linen fabric and are tonally similar, even though some are more vivid than others. If you have a sofa covered in a semi-plain fabric or a pattern, a plain cushion is always the smartest option – there’s no need to over complicate things and you don’t want to distract from the natural beauty of your sofa. There can only be one star of the show, after all.


 No6: Bedroom scatter cushions

The Wave | Linwood


Now, we aren’t suggesting that you have hundreds of bedroom cushions – nobody wants the hassle of arranging lots every morning, but one or two scatter cushions can transform a scheme, creating a smart, balanced cushion arrangement. Keep things simple – the neutral palette of off-whites is the perfect palette for a bedroom, but the addition of The Wave cushion in Mineral stops things becoming too safe. Taking its inspiration from an archive document, this velvet cushion has an elegant tonal design featuring undulating waves.


Kimono Dreams Cushion/Linwood


If you favour a little more colour, consider our new velvet cushion, Kimono Dreams (Blaze). Unlike sofas, bedroom cushions don’t serve any real purpose apart from being decorative, but a well-dressed bed looks so beautiful and enticing. If you do opt for cushions on your bed, think about a nearby basket you can throw them into each evening – it will protect them and stop you tripping over them if you get up in the night.

No6: Little extras

Double Dragon Cushions/Linwood

Cushions most obvious role is to make you feel comfortable, but they also need to be the best version of themselves. The flourish of a fringe or piping always creates a richer feel. Here’s our recently launched Double Dragon cushions are adorned with a bespoke trim that draws your eye to the stylised dragons.

Double Ruffle Cushion/Linwood

And just look at these two cushions. The addition of the two ruffles injects a pleasing flourish, which instantly moves plain to pretty.

Whichever way you choose to style your cushions, don’t underestimate the power of the perfect cushion arrangement. Cushions offer an easy update: adding colour, pattern, and interest within seconds. It’s worth the effort, as we all know, one of the joys of life is relaxing with the newspapers or watching a favourite film at the weekend with lots of extra-large sofa cushions for support.

Linwood’s cushions, which are all designed and made in the UK, are now available to buy online



How do you group cushions together? Arranging cushions on your sofa can transform your living space. There are no hard and fast rules but for a relaxed look, group cushions on one side. Use the 2-1-2 rule for a formal arrangement: two large cushions at the ends, one smaller in the middle, and two on either side. Positioning two cushions to one side creates a casual vibe. Opt for an odd number of cushions to add visual interest. Mix textures and patterns for a unique touch that enhances both comfort and style.


How many cushions should you put on a 3 seater sofa? For a standard three-seater sofa, we would suggest three or four for a balanced cushion arrangement. As a rule, uneven numbers feel relaxed, whereas even numbers are more formal.


Where do cushions go on a 2 seater sofa? On a 2 seater sofa, place two larger cushions on each end to create balance and comfort. You can also add one or two smaller cushions in the centre for added style and depth. The arrangement can vary based on personal preference and the sofa’s design.


Can you have too many cushions on a sofa? Yes, it's possible to have too many cushions on a sofa. While cushions add comfort and style, too many can make the sofa look cluttered and reduce seating space. Aim for a balance that enhances comfort without overwhelming the sofa’s design. 


How do I choose a cushion combination? Cushions shouldn’t dictate the look of a room; they should subtly enhance items within your existing decor. You don’t need to make everything match but is there one design element that stands out: the colours of a painting, or a bright table lamp? Pick up these colours when you choose your cushions, it will help the room feel more cohesive.