6 secret tricks stylists use that can make any sofa look more expensive

Upgrade your sofa with these simple styling tips

A living room with a light sofa with patterned cushions
(Image credit: Sofa.com)

If you’re looking to elevate your living room set up, one of the best starting points is what's more often than not the focal point – the sofa. 

And believe it or not, it doesn’t require buying a whole new sofa or having the best sofa to work with. All it takes are some clever tricks that come recommended by interior stylists as top tips they regularly use to make a sofa look expensive, stylish and more considered. 

Sofas can be one of the bigger investments you'll be make in your home which is why clever accessorising and strategically positioning of existing furniture can save you a lot of money when upgrading the look of your space. Here's how the professionals do it...

How to make a sofa look expensive 

Even if you’ve opted for the best sofa bed or a luxe corner sofa when picking your living room seating, it can be further elevated by a few simple tricks.

‘Making a sofa look more "expensive" is a great way to enhance the look of your space without having to spend a lot,’ says Sam Sutherland, interior stylist at Flitch.

Gisela Lancaster, head of buying at Sofology, adds, ‘You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your sofa look more expensive. The simplest way to add a touch of luxury is to invest in quality finishing touches.’

1. Layer cushions and throws

Bridgerton 3 Seater Chaise

(Image credit: Sofology)

Piling on several scatter cushions and adding a sumptuous, chunky throw to your sofa is sure to create a luxurious look.

‘Add plush, well-designed throw pillows, cushions and blankets, in rich fabrics like cashmere and faux fur,’ advises Juliette Thomas, interior designer and founder of Juliettes Interiors.

‘Begin by investing in high-quality accent cushions and throws crafted from sumptuous-looking fabrics like silk or velvet,' says Sam. 'Strategically layering them will add the effect of opulence, texture, and extravagance.'

But it’s not just the material that’s important when it comes to choosing the right cushions. ‘The inner of your cushions is more important than you may think - a full, plump looking cushion looks much more expensive,' explains Victoria Foster, interior stylist at ScS. 'Having multiple cushions feathered out on a sofa also adds to this - I’d suggest around five cushions for a three-person sofa.'

On the topic of the perfect throws, she adds, ‘Try to opt for a thick fluffy throw in a white/cream colour if you have a brightly coloured sofa, or alternatively opt for a shade that will tie your whole room together if you have a more neutral toned sofa. This year has seen a huge rise in popularity of layering neutral textures, so opt for a selection of cushions and throws in contrasting textures like boucle or jute.’

2. Create an enclosed space

A living room with a light sofa with patterned cushions

(Image credit: Sofology)

Making a sofa look more expensive is not always about adding things. But rather being strategic with positioning. Creating an enclosed seating area by moving the sofa, side tables and rug will make the layout seem more considered and defined.

‘If you have a few pieces of furniture to play around with in your living space, such as a sofa, a chair, and a rug, and enough room for different arrangements of the furniture, try to position them close together to make a smaller living area within your room,’ recommends Victoria.

‘Angle the chair more towards the sofa and use a rug and any side tables, plants etc to purposely define the space, rather than having all the furniture flat against all four walls. This way it gives the illusion that the sofas are a decorative piece, within a well-defined arrangement.’

3. Add a large rug

Bluebell 3 seat large chaise

(Image credit: Sofa.com)

One of the best living room rug ideas is adding a large rug and placing your sofa on top of it. This will frame and highlight the seating area, making it appear both larger and more considered.

‘Framing multiple seating pieces around an extra large rug is a great way to instantly make your space look more expensive and give a clearly defined area for the living space,’ says Victoria.

But if a very large rug is outside of your budget, you can opt for a bit of optical trickery.

‘If you lack the floor space or budget for an extra large rug, try positioning the front feet of your sofa on top of your rug to give the same illusion, allowing your sofa to be the star of the show and still give a luxurious feel,’ Victoria advises.

4. Pull sofas away from the wall

Slim Tiffany Corner Sofa

(Image credit: Sofa.com)

Similarly to creating an enclosed space with your furniture, pulling a sofa away from the wall is a very effective and often used trick to arrange furniture in a small living room.

‘You can achieve a dynamic and sophisticated look through repositioning your sofa. Make it the focal point of the room by pulling it away from the wall, ensuring that you don’t overcrowd the space around it with additional furniture,’ says Gisela from Sofology.

‘A huge living room isn’t always essential to be able to separate your sofa from the walls, all you need is to be able to bring it away from the wall by around 30 centimetres to give the same effect and make the sofa look more expensive,' adds Victoria. 'If possible, position shelves or a console table directly behind to add dimension to the space.'

5. Light with care

Larsen 3 Seat Sofa

(Image credit: Sofa.com)

There are several living room lighting ideas that can make your sofa look more expensive. From smaller table lamps on either side of the sofa to an arc or floor lamp, all is fair game as long as you don’t skip on it altogether.

‘Lighting is key to an overall polished effect so make sure to illuminate the area thoughtfully with stylish floor or table lamps to create an inviting ambience,’ advises Sam from Flitch.

‘Beautiful interiors often revolve around symmetry and balance, so if your room allows it, position two matching small side tables on either side of the sofa and place a lamp on top of each to perfectly frame the sofa,' adds Victoria from ScS.

‘If you lack enough space on either side for tables, try placing a tall floor lamp behind the sofa, or an arc lamp. Alternatively, two equally spaced wall lights behind the sofa will give it harmonious symmetry and a sophisticated feel too.’

6. Adding statement pieces

A living room with a velvet sofa and statement wall with artworks

(Image credit: ScS)

Making one thing appear more luxurious is often about what it’s paired with. So you may have an inexpensive sofa but as long as you pair it with a striking coffee table or a captivating artwork, you can make it look more luxe.

‘This will command attention and enhance the overall elegance of the space,’ explains Sam.

‘You can also try placing stylish accent tables next to the sofa, in marble, glass or metal, for an elegant and upscale look,' adds interior designer Juliette.

And that’s how you can make a sofa look expensive as if you were an interior stylist yourself! 

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.