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How to style a sofa. Nix’s top tips and techniques for bringing a sofa to life

How to style a sofa. Nix’s top tips and techniques for bringing a sofa to life

At Nicola Harding & Co, we love to create cosy and inviting seating areas that joyfully blend colour, pattern and texture. For us, it’s an opportunity to really have fun in a scheme. So, when it came to creating our own collection of upholstery, textiles and cushions we wanted to provide a toolkit of sorts that allows you to effortlessly create the perfect sofa at home. Read on for our top sofa styling tips.

Nicola Harding sofa design styling cushions NiX

Inject colour with cushions

The sofa is typically the largest piece of furniture in a room, an investment piece that, if well made, should last as long as 15 years. We love colour at Nicola Harding & Co, so it may surprise you to read that we’d actually suggest playing it relatively safe with the colour of your sofa and using cushions to add colour and texture instead. 

“If the sofa is a colour that is a bold contrast with the wall colour, or if it’s a dark colour, visually, it's going to take up a lot of space,” explains Nix. “Whereas if you have a slightly more demure colour or colour that blends in with the wall colour, then – in a smaller room particularly – the sofa will appear to take up less space. I would suggest choosing a mid-tone – a mid blue, mid pink or a mid green because actually, that’s the most forgiving – more forgiving than a dark colour. Then have fun with cushions.” 

Our cushion collection includes square, rectangle and bolster cushions that can be made to order in velvets, linens and NiX checks and stripes. We’d suggest choosing cushions in a mixture of these fabrics to create a balanced blend of texture and colour that will give your sofa a little more depth and add interest to your space.

“If you want to create a very calm sofa, then have minimal contrast amongst the cushions, just make it about texture and tone,” advises Nix. “If you want it to be more lively, introduce more texture with our checks and stripes. We actually have a very subtle, fine-ticking stripe in the collection, which from a distance, reads as a plain fabric, so it just adds a subtle extra dimension. If you want to be bolder and more playful, then our big Checkmate fabric packs more punch.”

Nicola Harding sofa styling interior design furniture NiX upholstery

Mix and match upholstery

When it comes to choosing fabric for the sofa itself, we sometimes like to combine two fabrics – one for the seat and another for the frame. This not only serves to soften the appearance of the sofa but it’s also practical – you can select a more hardwearing, stain-resistant fabric for the seat, and something a little less so for the frame. “I think it makes it a bit more relaxed, and less blocky,” comments Nix. 

You may have noticed that none of our sofas come with loose cushions. This is so there's scope for you to play around and really make your sofa your own with your choice of cushions. “Cushions are such a massive part of styling a room,” says Nix. “They create that sense of ease and comfort that makes you want to sink into the seat. It enables you to really personalise it, play with it and make it your own.

Bigger isn’t always better

In a living room, the sofa is generally the largest piece of furniture, so the eye is naturally drawn to it. For this reason, it’s easy for it to dominate. We would advise carefully considering the proportions of your space to avoid selecting a sofa that is just too big. 

“Generally, people want to sit at either end of the sofa,” observes Nix. “Even on a large sofa, you don't necessarily get many people wanting to sit in the middle. I would advise having two smaller sofas and one large sofa with lots of lighting around it.”

“We've thought really carefully about the depth of our sofas so that they comfortably allow you to sit back and relax,” she continues. “It's a common mistake to pile on too many cushions so that you’re forced to perch on the edge of the seat because there’s nowhere to sit, We've been really careful to get that perfect depth so that you can sink into the cushions and be really comfortable. We’ve also been obsessive about the squishiness of our cushions – you know, sometimes you get those very foamy cushions that you sort of bounce off? Ours are feather and down, so you this doesn’t happen, you can really sink into them.”

NiX by Nicola Harding, How to style a sofa

Perfect your lighting

Lighting is a great way to set the mood around your sofa scape. If your sofa is against a wall, position our Focus wall or floor lights at either side of the sofa so that you can angle the light to fall on the upholstery. This will create an inviting setting that beckons you in. 

If your sofa is in the middle of a room, position a console or desk along the back of it and set two table lamps at either end. “This really frames the sofa sand stops it from looking like it’s floating in the room,” explains Nix. 

For example, our Dolittle sofa works really well alongside a console set with two table lamps thanks to its arched back that is gently angled on either side. Alternatively, you can pull up a side table with a Ditsy table lamp on one side and a To the Point floor lamp on the other to pool light on fabric and create a cosy spot for reading.

Above all. Have fun when styling your sofa. We are firm believers that rules are made to be broken and the best interior is the one you feel most at ease in. And remember, please do share and tag your sofa pictures, we love to see how you are making your home with NiX.

About Nicola Harding & Co.

About Nicola Harding & Co.

Nicola Harding & Co is a London-based interior design studio that creates places, not spaces. Rich in atmosphere, our interiors are refined and reassuringly familiar, reflecting and serving the people that use them.

About Nicola Harding & Co