How to Decorate a Room from Scratch - Decorate a Room around a Sofa


What’s your favourite style of sofa? Whether you’re in love with the Chesterfield, or you only have eyes for the most modern of designs, the sofa you choose is bound to have a large impact on the décor of your living room. So why not just decorate around it?

By looking closely at your sofa, and asking yourself a few questions, you’ll be able to derive plenty of inspiration to decorate a room from scratch. Here are our top tips on how to get started!

1. Choose your sofa wisely

Rio 2 Seater Sofa from SofaSofa Rio 2 Seater Sofa from SofaSofa

If you’re going to use a sofa as the starting point for your décor, it’s important that you take time to carefully consider what you want.

  • Find something that is in keeping with your personal tastes, rather than what is necessarily trending right now. That way, you’re more likely to still be in love with the style of your room in the months and years to come, and won’t need to replace your sofa as soon as the next trend comes along.
  • Choose a good quality sofa that has been crafted with care. A decent sofa can last for a long time, and serve you well.
  • If you’re likely to want to change the décor of your room before you want to buy a new sofa, go for a neutral colour which can work with lots of different colour schemes, such as stone, cream or beige.

2. Consider the time period

Is your sofa antique? Traditional? Modern? The time period that influences the style of your sofa can be used as a starting board for the rest of the room. For instance, an antique chesterfield would look fantastic when teamed with an old bookcase and solid oak bureau, and a modern sofa would look brilliant in a minimal setting that includes mirrored surfaces.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to restrict yourself to the time period in question. Traditional sofas can look fantastic in modern settings, against bright or pastel colours, white walls and stripped floors. However, this tends not to work out the other way around – modern sofas need to be placed in a relatively modern environment for the space to work well.

Use the time period that your sofa fits in with as a source of inspiration. Perhaps you’ll decide to transform your living room into an all-out gentlemen’s lounge straight from the 1930s; or maybe you’d prefer a more subtle approach that just uses a couple of key pieces to tie the look together.

Sarah Akwisombe offers some great ideas on how to use a Chesterfield sofa to achieve a Boardwalk Empire-esque look. “Think panelled walls, fringed lampshades, Art Deco wallpaper and leather Chesterfield sofas,” says Sarah. We can feel a mood board coming on here at the SofaSofa office!

3. Texture

Another aspect to consider is the texture of your sofa. A plush velvet footstool would work brilliantly with a chenille sofa, or in contrast to a leather settee. Play around with matching and contrasting the textures of your soft furnishings and accessories – leather with cotton, chenille with knits or velvet with shiny metallic fabric.

Adding a simple accessory in a contrasting texture can have a huge impact on your sofa. For instance, leather sofas are fantastically practical – especially if you have small children – but during the winter they may feel a little cold. Add a knitted throw, though, and in an instant, your sofa feels super snuggly and cosy.

4. Colour

The colour of your sofa is a crucial choice. Neutrals can easily be adapted to many different colour schemes by adding throws and scatter cushions, but if you’re going for something bolder, you’ll want to give it space to prevent the room from looking too busy or overpowering.

Place a bold coloured sofa against a neutral background – white walls will look particularly modern – and choose a few accessories in the same colour, such as vases, clocks or frames, to pick out the hue of the sofa. Contrasting colours will also work well in this instance. The trick is to keep the accessories minimal and bold, to ensure that the room looks fresh and modern.

5. Size

Montana 2 Seater Sofa from SofaSofa Montana 2 Seater Sofa from SofaSofa

The size of your sofa, and the room in which you’ll be placing it, will have an impact on the options available to you. Do a rough sketch of your room to see what space you have available to you – is there room for end tables on either side of the sofa? Would a small coffee table in front of it be best?

Once you’ve got an idea of the space you’ve got to play with, you can get creative. No room for end tables? Place a couple of lamps on the wall at either end of the sofa for a more ambient light in the evenings. Will the low back of your sofa reveal a large expanse of wall behind it? Time to look for some artwork to hang there.

With a little creativity and practical thinking, it’s usually possible to make your sofa work for your space. Think of your room as a brand new space, and start totally afresh, to get the best results.

6. Season

Dorchester Sofa from SofaSofa Dorchester Sofa from SofaSofa

For many of us, the season can really influence our moods, and how we want our homes to look. If that sounds like you, then consider keeping your room fairly neutral, and using accessories to herald in the arrival of spring, or autumn.

Knitted throws are wonderfully cosy in the colder months, but a lighter cotton would work best in spring. The same goes for colours – fresh brights and pastels look fantastic in spring, but when autumn rolls around, more earthy tones are the order of the day.

Choose throws and scatter cushions, and small accessories such as lamps and vases, to decorate your sofa for each season, and keep the walls and sofa fairly neutral so that you can switch things around easily and quickly.

7. Decorate practically

Elgar Sofa from SofaSofa Elgar Sofa from SofaSofa

As well as making sure your room looks beautiful, you’ll also want to make it as useful as possible. Take some time to think about how you will be using your room. Are you likely to entertain in this room often? Or will you use that large cupboard in the corner for storage?

Wherever possible, arrange the furniture in such a way that moving around the room is easy, and you can access the storage you’ll need on a regular basis without having to shift heavy items around. If you’ll be entertaining, make the room inviting to guests, with plenty of seating.

And for when you want to snuggle up on your sofa during the evening, make sure you have side tables for those cups of tea, and a table lamp to read by.

Antonia from Tidy Away Today offers some great tips on arranging furniture in a small room. “Corners are often the most overlooked parts of a room. They can come in handy for creating the illusion of more space. Put up a shelf to use (as) a bookshelf, TV stand or put room decorations on. By using up this often wasted space with the addition of corner furniture, you can free up vital room elsewhere.”


With the sofa often playing such a large role in our living room areas, it makes total sense to decorate around it. And by paying attention to aspects like the texture, colour and style of your sofa, it’s easy to create a stunning room by using it as inspiration.

Posted in DIY, Homemaking, Interior Design, Lifestyle on 10th Jul 2015


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