Sometimes, we forget how much cushions can change the look of a sofa. Sure, the shape of a sofa is important, the reupholstery is important, but cushions could be the most important thing about a sofa. With a simple, tasteful change of cushions, you could breathe new life into an old couch.

The first rule to remember is this: sofa cushions don’t have to match! You’d be surprised how wild you can go without sacrificing design integrity. Sofa cushions can differ in nearly every way, color, texture, pattern and material, but they could still come together to form a beautiful harmony.

It all depends on following some simple rules:

accent cushion

1. Accent Colours

The simplest rule-of-thumb to follow when matching your sofa cushions is the accent colour. It is the oldest design trick in the book. Pick a single accent, then replicate that accent in interesting ways. A basic tip is to pick a pattern or texture for a cushion, and match it by upholstering an entire armchair in the same pattern, as in the example above.

If you’re feeling creative, you can keep the color constant. Pick out a single color and then you can play with the pattern or texture instead. Throw in interesting geometrical shapes, stripes, or even different materials like velvet or knit or fur. As long as they share a similar color palette, it will be clear that your cushion arrangement is carefully selected and harmonized, as in our own example below:

cushion accent

These cushions might have different patterns, but they share a unifying accent color.


2. Plains Go With Patterns

This next rule will teach you how to harmonize solid colors with patterns. Just like how light colors do not match well with other light colors, but with darker colors instead, so with plains and patterns. Patterns on a sofa cushion only pop out when they are against a background of solid color. They complement each other well only because they are so different.

For example, a floral pattern on a sofa cushion does not go well with a geometric pattern on a sofa. You’d have to put in some solid color to bring out the pattern. Intelligent and tasteful combinations of plains and patterns is what makes a good interior designer.

matching cushions

These cushions are an excellent example of a good harmony between a solid colour and a riotous pattern.


3. Textures Are Key

In a similar way to matching colors and types of cushions, the texture and material of sofa cushions can also be massively varied without fear of affecting the aesthetic too. One can freely combine fur, woven and velvet, very different materials, on the same sofa and still achieve a wonderfully creative, playful and rich atmosphere.

Do remember that if you choose to vary texture and material, you’d have to hold some other variable constant (like color for example), to make sure that there is still a unifying theme. If your sofa cushion arrangement has too many varied materials without a unitive principle, the design will just look chaotic and fall apart.


cushion sizesbutton cushions

4. Play With Cushion Types

There are other ways to vary your cushions besides using color, pattern, texture, or material. There are so many types of cushions out there, cushions with button arrangements or ribbons, cushions of smaller and bigger sizes and so on. Varying cushions at this level will also give you a lot of freedom to determine the design of your sofa. Check out the example below to see what we mean!:

cushion sizes


As you can tell, there are plenty of ways to get creative; from color and pattern, to texture and material, to the different types and sizes. As long as you remember the general rule that there should be a unifying theme in any arrangement, you have the freedom to be as playful as you choose when fiddling with the other variables! The most important thing is to let loose and have fun when designing your arrangement!

Fella Design is a careful curator of sofa cushions too. Although our taste is rather traditional, we’re not exempt from going totally wild with our arrangements! Find out more by visiting our cushion page.