March 21, 2023


Delighting home maniacs

How to dress a sofa, according to a stylist

How to dress a sofa, according to a stylist

Photo credit: Photo: Caroline Arber Styling: Ben Kendrick
Photo credit: Photo: Caroline Arber Styling: Ben Kendrick

From Country Living

Learning how to dress a sofa may be a small part of home decoration – but follow these simple ideas and yours will soon become a colourful, stylish focus in your living room.

1. Introduce pattern and colour

Opt for a plain, or neutral fabric for the upholstery of your sofa. Grey or taupe are good practical choices, they don’t show the dirt and are accepting of all sorts of other tones, allowing you to change the decoration in a room easily.

Plus, you can easily ring the changes by adding cushions, throws and accessories to create comfort and interest and make the look unique to you. Look for textiles with plenty of texture or opt for colour and pattern. This is easier if you repeat other shades in the room, for example picking up on the colour of an upholstered chair, or a wall colour.

Alternatively pick one fabric for a decorative cushion and pick out colours within this design for the other textiles you use. A loose-covered sofa will appear more relaxed, can be dry-cleaned or even machine-washed (check instructions) – whereas an upholstered piece can appear more formal, smart and traditional.

2. Choose the right fabrics

Another way to display your favourite fabrics is by mixing together different styles – checks, stripes, weaves, prints and patterns, for example, all together on one sofa. Choose a linking colour or style to make this work. For example, the dark grey Gower sofa (pictured above) from the Country Living Collection exclusively at DFS has been dressed with a mix of botanical printed designs which pick out other colours in the room; whereas the blue plaid wool sofa (one of our designs for the Gower) has a varied assortment of cushion styles which pick up the heathery tones in the wool plaid.

3. Go with the throw

A throw is a good way to break up the blank expanse of a sofa, as well as introduce more texture to a room. If you are going to use a throw to cover the whole sofa it needs to be a really good size. A sofa covered with a throw will always look relaxed but can look messy unless you are prepared to re-arranged it frequently. A machine-washable throw is ideal, will save your upholstery and be a great choice if you have pets that are allowed up onto furniture.

An old-fashioned linen dust sheet makes a good washable throw as do heavy vintage French linen sheets. You can find these in specialist textile shops or antique markets. Add colour and texture with faux flowers, stylish prints and lots of textiles.

4. Make upcycled cushions

If you have a penchant for old textiles – make them up into cushions that can be mixed together on a sofa. This is a good way to display, and use them – like the vintage floral ones above. You could back them with plain linen to make the fabric go further or use a similar-weight linen fabric to back the antique or vintage textile to strengthen it.

DFS is proud to have created this exclusive furniture collection with the team at Country Living. Inspired by some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes around the UK, the stunning range combines contemporary fabrics with luxurious comfort and timeless designs, each one made in Britain.


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