The following post is a paid advertising feature for Aquaclean fabrics.

Small sofas can be a total saviour when it comes to creating your dream living room. While many sofas on the market look great in the (unusually large) showrooms, getting them home can be a different story entirely. A smaller sofa works perfectly for our smaller spaces here in the UK, adding texture, colour and comfort without sacrificing space. But styling a small sofa – or any sofa for that matter – can often be challenging. While it’s always fun to play with cushions and throws, really nailing your sofa look so that it’s both inviting as well as practical can be a difficult balance.

5 Ways to Style a Small Sofa

As you probably know, a few months ago, I took delivery of the most scrumptious pink velvet 2 seater sofa. I’d wanted a pale pink sofa for literally years and so this little beauty was perfect in so many ways. Not only do I adore the soft touchable texture and colour it brings to my living room, but I also adore how hard-wearing it is. In the past, I’ve always had to pretty much cover my sofa from top to bottom with a large throw, for fear the dog’s mucky paws will ruin the fabric.

Pet-resistant Velvet Sofa

Thankfully, I no longer have to worry about that. I’ve talked about the fantastic Aquaclean fabric that I chose for my sofa and I’m working with them again today to share with you some of my ideas for styling a smaller sofa. This means I can really go to town with changing up the look of my sofa on a monthly basis (okay weekly, I have a short attention span) whenever I fancy a change and not have to worry about a massive throw covering over all that beautiful velvet. I explained the technology behind the fabric in this post but TLDR: you can get any stain out with just water – even if the stain has been hanging around for a few days!! It’s just so easy to keep clean!

My own sofa is the Meghan Fluted Back 2-seater in Aquaclean’s Harriet Rose fabric from John Lewis although there are so many different colour and fabric options to choose from and I have to say, I’m really enjoying styling my sofa these days. I’m sharing 5 different ideas with some practical tips on cushion combination and throw ideas whether you’re an all-out maximalist, love a bit of clean minimal styling or you find yourself somewhere in between.

Calming Monochrome

Calming Monochrome - Small Sofa Style in all One Colour

I know a lot of people associate ‘monochrome’ with black and white but that’s not entirely accurate. Monochrome can also refer to simply using one single base colour in varying tones, shades, saturation and hues. It’s a great way to give a space a calming feel with no bold contrasts fighting for your attention. Our corner sofa is a deep burgundy which would be a variation on the pink tones you see here.

For my monochrome look, I used the sofa’s base colour of pink and essentially ran with that for all the cushions I chose. What takes this look to the ‘next level’ is the variety of textures and shapes that are used. If you wanted something a bit more muted, you could choose plain square cushions in the same colour as your sofa but I find that may read a bit ‘flat’ and lack interest. 

Instead, look out for varying shapes and different textures that you can combine. As you can see, I chose 2 round cushions – one with a touch of contrasting piping and one small buttoned one alongside two square cushions that are big on texture – a Mongolian sheepskin and a corduroy.

If they were all in different colours or patterns, you’d get a much busier look but here, they work nicely alongside each other because they all have that single colour in common, creating a calm but still interesting small sofa look.

Wild at Heart

Wild At Heart - Styling a Sofa with Animal Print

Now you know I’m a big fan of animal print and so I had a lot of fun with styling my little sofa with a burst of leopard. The thing with animal prints is that they can easily act as a neutral but here, I decided to combine two different prints, creating a greater contrast and a bit of fun.

When combining patterns on your sofa, you’ll want to make sure all your patterns vary in size but share some commonalities. Usually, contrasting patterns work best when you have repeating colours but in this case, it’s the type of print that’s been repeated.

You’ll notice I used two matching cushions with a large-scale leopard print and a throw with a much smaller-scale print. If the sofa was much larger, I may have been able to throw a third in the mix but I think when you are working with a small sofa, it’s best not to have too much going on or it’ll feel a touch overwhelming (but feel free to add a few more to another sofa or nearby chair to pull the whole look together).

This is also a much more tailored approach to using a throw – simply fold in half or in thirds and drape across the back, letting it fall to the front of the sofa. It brings a bit of formality and balance to a more wild look!

Bohemian Maximalism

Bohemian Maximalist - layering textures to style a small sofa

I have a feeling this will likely be a favourite as I went all out with the bohemian textures and it’s just so inviting. The easiest way to give your sofa a bohemian look is to really go crazy with texture. The throw is over almost the entirety of the sofa (a good option if you’re not in love with your sofa’s colour or style!) and every cushion used adds another element of interest. 

The Mongolian fur cushion is back alongside a cheetah-print goat hair cushion and a small pink velvet cushion with gold fringing. You’ll note once again, I’ve used different shapes and sizes to add interest but stuck to a very limited colour palette with nearly everything in shades of white or cream and pink to work with the colour of the sofa. While there is a lot going on, it’s not too overwhelming for a smaller sofa size.

Minimal Styling (but Maximum Texture)

Minimal Style Maximum Texture - How to Style a Sofa without lots of cushions

This is for those of you who love a calming minimalist look (or for those who have partners who hate having 5 different cushions all over your sofa!). I’d never consider myself a minimalist but I actually kind of love how quiet and simple this sofa style is.

A single cushion, a small throw and that’s really all you need. This is also a great option if you already have a statement sofa as it allows it to shine and the accessories are just an accent.

What I would suggest, however, is that you choose your items with a measure of thoughtfulness. When creating a more minimalist look, every piece really counts and so look for items that really grab attention on their own. Here, I’ve gone for the goat’s hair cushion once more and a sheepskin throw – both add a touch of texture and interest to a minimal styling look.

Analogous Combination

Analogous Combination - How to use colour on a small sofa

Finally, my last example is using an analogous colour combination which means colours that are near each other on the colour wheel. So as my sofa is pink, I chose shades of orange and yellow as accent shades. This is another way to create layers of interest but because the colours are closely related, you’ll still get a sense of calm as your eye will find it easy to take in these more subtle contrasts. Two simple solid square pillows frame out the look, creating a touch of balance with a geometric print and a contrasting rectangular shape give it further dynamic.

Of course, it can work well with any other base sofa colour as well. If, for instance, you have a navy blue sofa, you might want to choose sky blue and emerald green for your cushions and throws. What I would encourage is to pick up at least two of the colours in a printed cushion to pull the look together.

And I’m sharing one other way to style a throw. This works well for thinner fabrics but simply fold in half and drape diagonally from the corner of the sofa, allowing it to fall to the front of the sofa. It’s a much more casual look and adds a bit of warmth to your whole scheme.

I hope you found this post helpful when styling your own small sofa. Which one is your favourite? And tell me, what’s on your own sofa? The comment box awaits!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Aquaclean for whom I’m an ambassador this year. As always, I only work with brands I love and think you’ll love too. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Swoon Worthy.


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