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Cushion Styling 101

How many? What size? What colour? What arrangement?

These are the usual questions we ask ourselves here at Belhams Interiors when we are buying cushions for the store, arranging them in the showroom or styling a client’s home. Some of you have already asked us the same questions.

There are a lot of design elements in sofa cushions and chair cushions – colour, pattern, size, number.

So we’ve created a guide to help you style your sofa, chair or bed with cushions. It begins with picking out the right size. Then we will show you how to layer the sizes to create an inviting arrangement. Finally we will let you in on the secret to filling them correctly!


You want cushions to be substantial in scale without feeling overpowering or too small for the space.

The most common sizes to use are:

Anchoring Cushions:      60 x 60cm, 50 x 50cm

Layering Cushions:         55 x 90cm, 40 x 60cm, 30 x 60cm, 45 x 45cm

A 60 x 60cm cushion is often known as a Euro pillow. 

A 55 x 90cm is a size used on a bed and is known as a Lodge pillow.

We call our rectangular layering cushions ‘lumbar’ cushions. They sit wonderfully in your lower back, or along the inside of the arm of your sofa to add extra padding between you and the arm of your chair or sofa.


Next, we move on how to arrange different sizes using layering.

Anchoring pillows sit in the back and smaller pillows and lumbars sit in front.

a Single 50 x 50cm             OR             a Single lumbar

The size of your chair cushion is determined by the width of your chair.

Narrower chairs may only need a single 45 x 45cm cushion.

On your sofa, place a 60 x 60cm or a 50 x 50cm cushion at the back (in the corner,) and add a lumbar in front.

On your window seat, nook or bench place a 60 x 60cm or a 50 x 50cm cushion at the back, layer a smaller cushion 50 x 50cm or 45 x 45cm in the front.

Modular Sofa

We find modular sofas the most difficult to arrange cushions on so don’t be surprised if you do too!

Start with the back corner, adding a 60 x 60cm, 50 x 50cm and a lumbar cushion. You can add 3,4 or 5 cushions depending on the size and depth of your sofa.

On each end, add a 50 x 50cm and a 45 x 45cm. You can add a lumbar instead of a 45 x 45cm also if you want. If you have a large deep sofa you can add the lumbar as well as the 45 x 45cm. 2-3 sofa cushions is a good guide for the ends of your modular sofa.


On a Single, King Single or Double bed, you can either

Add a 50 x 50cm in the back, with a lumbar in front or, just add a single lumbar or square cushion in front of the sleeping pillows.

On a Queen, King or bigger bed, you can

Add 2 x 60 x 60cm (Euro,) a 50 x 50cm or 45 x 45cm cushion and a lumbar or;

2 x 60 x 60cm or 50 x 50cm cushions + an extra-long lumbar or;

A large lumbar or a Euro pillow (60 x 60cm)


Mix scale, pattern and texture.

Different sizes / scale  – we’ve talked about that above. Different patterns – mix large prints or a plain solid on the biggest cushion then add stripes, florals, Aztec, Shibori or any other pattern on a medium to small scale. Wool and fringes add interest. Mix your prints and distribute them evenly across your sofa or across a mix of sofa and chairs in the same room.


Last, remember to fill your pillows correctly. At Belhams Interiors we keep it simple — only feather.

For a full fit, buy the same size insert as your cover. To have a fuller, oversized look upsize your insert to one bigger than your cover size.


Our final styling tip:  add a throw to your chair or sofa. It is an added layer that is useful but also makes your room feel lived-in and comfortable.

If you have a question or would like to book an online styling appointment please contact us.

We'd love to help you!


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