October 05, 2021 4 min read

Sofas are like opinions and belly buttons – everyone’s got one. And arguably, they’re one of the hardest working pieces in the home. From entertaining to Netflixing, reading to snoozing, there’s rarely a day they’re not working hard for our comfort.

But in most cases, they’re a substantial investment and when sofa boredom strikes, swapping it out for a new one is often not on the cards.

So what do you do if your lounge is feeling a little lacklustre but you’re not ready to upgrade? Simple: youupstyle instead. Here’s how.

1. Create a clean slate

Tempting as it might be to just cover up and ignore what lurks within your lounge, don’t.

Remove everything from the sofa and grab that upholstery attachment your vacuum cleaner has never worn before. First vacuum the back and seat cushions, then take those off and vacuum the base of the lounge. Whatever sins have been hiding there, suck them up.

If your back and seat cushions have washable covers, throw them in the machine and let them dry in the sun. If your inserts contain feathers, plump them up before replacing the covers and putting them back on the base.

You’re feeling better already, right? 

2. Get in the mood

Your clean slate is now your blank canvas. And according to Sally Paterson and Renée Hawkins fromHeliconia Interiors and Design, this is where people can start to feel overwhelmed by options. The remedy? A mood board.

“It’s important to think about what kind of mood you want to create,” says Renée. “Is it cool and coastal? Warm and cosy? Vibrant and fun? Interiors magazines, Instagram and Pinterest are great tools here. Create a simple digital or physical mood board and start feeling into that vibe.”

Our tip: be realistic. If you have a light coloured linen lounge, avoid landing on ‘dark and moody’ as your new look, yeah?

3.  Create your colour palette

This follows on closely from point 2 as colour plays a key role in creating a mood.  Remember we’re re-styling, not re-designing. So, look at what already exists within the space and note the colour of your lounge upholstery, walls, flooring, artwork and window furnishings. Build your sofa’s colour palette from there.

Blue, green and white were the answer when styling this soft grey sofa set against the deep blue cabinetry. Image: Heliconia / Simon Whitbread

Blue, green and white form the perfect palette for a soft grey sofa set against deep blue cabinetry. Image: Heliconia / Simon Whitbread

“We recommend sticking to 2 or 3 colours mixed with neutrals,” advises Sally.

“If you want a softer look, opt for muted colourways. If it’s more of a rich aesthetic you’re creating, then you can afford to introduce some darker colours to achieve that.”

Our tip: if you find colour choices overwhelmingDulux has a plethora of ready-made colour palettes that can provide inspiration and help you narrow down the choices.

4.  Cushion time

Welcome to where the magic happens. There are several things to consider when making your cushion choices.

How many cushions do I need?

Sally and Renée say the optimum number of cushions depends on the size of your sofa.

“For a sectional or modular sofa, opt for 2-3 cushions in each corner, and keep the colour palette balanced across the whole sofa,” says Renée. “If your sofa is a 2 or 3 seater, place 2 on one side, and 3 on the other.”

The perfect number: arrange 3 at one end and 2 at the other on a 3-seater like this. Image: Heliconia / Simon Whitbread

The perfect number: arrange 3 at one end and 2 at the other on a 3-seater like this. Image: Heliconia / Simon Whitbread

Should I opt for block colours or prints?

Again, it depends on mood.

“For a cosy, layered vibe, select a combination of pattern – for example, a floral, a check and a stripe,” advises Sally. “It’s the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to some of the beautiful prints and patterns are available, whether that’s something subtle, or a couple of real showstoppers.”

Don’t be afraid to mix prints. Seen here (L to R): Ink Spiller Home cushions in Flora Bluewater, Terrazzo Blush and Aster Teal.

Don’t be afraid to mix prints (L to R): Ink Spiller Home cushions in Flora Bluewater, Terrazzo Blush and Aster Teal.

For a more minimalist vibe, Sally advises erring on the side of solids and simple stripes but mix up the textures – for example, a mix of linen and leather cushions.

“For this type of look we love using ‘weathered’ textures and finishes that provide subtle layers to the sofa and reference other features of the room such as  artwork and occasional seating. This provides a visual balance, as opposed to vivid hues and loud contrasts.”

Renée cautions against being too ‘matchy matchy’ with your cushion choices. “Tell a story with different patterns and textures across the range of cushions, particularly on a large sofa. If you keep the palette consistent you can mix pattern with confidence,” she says.

Cushion selections should reflect  the colours in surrounding elements such as artwork, flooring, other furniture and greenery. Seen here: Ink Spiller Home cushions in Palm Mustard (left) and Aster Teal (right).

Cushion selections should reflect  the colours in surrounding elements. Ink Spiller Home cushions in Palm Mustard (L) and Aster Teal (R).

What size cushions are best?

When it comes to size, don’t be afraid to mix things up, while working with the scale of your lounge. A deep and sumptuous 4-seater can accommodate larger cushions than a slimline 2-seater.

 The Heliconia team recommends including a larger cushion at the back and  a slightly smaller cushion in front. Then punctuate the look with a lumber style if space and scale allow.

 When it comes to inserts, their advice is simple: “Always go for as plump as possible!” 

5. Add a throw

For the final touch to your upstyled sofa, add a beautiful throw rug. They add texture and interest and also have a practical side. Who doesn’t love bingeing their favourite show snuggled under a chunky knitted throw?

It’s good to keep a couple on hand to change things up seasonally. Light cotton in summer, something heavier in winter.

So there it is – the no-nonsense guide to escaping sofa boredom. Happy styling 😃

About the Ink Spiller Home cushion collection. 

About the Ink Spiller Home cushion collection.

Ink Spiller Home cushions are Australian designed and available in all our signature prints. Measuring 55 x 55cm, they’re perfect for mixing and matching with other cushion sizes. The linen cotton blend covers have sturdy zipper fastenings and are machine washable. All our cushions come complete with super-plump luxe feather inserts and they’re shipped free anywhere in Australia.Shop the collection now.