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Grab your pens and notebooks because this is a “living room rules” post you won’t want to forget. Now that you have your basic guidelines, let’s take a look at past EHD projects and dissect how to execute how to style a sofa like a dang pro:

If you remember this version of Emily’s LA living room, then you might already know she was experimenting with a new rug and new sofa–trying to find the perfect match (which is not an easy task let me tell ya).

Why it works: The large scale patterns are layered evenly so neither side of the sofa is too overwhelming. The two solid but textured color pillows on each side and balance the patterns out so the overall look isn’t too loud but still visually interesting. Here, Velinda styled the same sofa for a Feel Good Flash Makeover and went with a “more is more” approach proving that pillow combos are endless as long as those 5 golden rules are still applied.

Moving on to another iteration of Emily’s LA living room, we have this gorgeous custom Lawson-Fenning sofa styled minimally with a few pillows and a throw. Why it works: The two pillows are different sizes and shapes that complement each other while the throw blanket adds a large scale pattern to bring in more visual interest.

Here in Jess’s small space living room, she has a simple (but not at all boring) sofa that allows for a myriad of styling options.

Brady’s living room is cool, eclectic, and neutral which he so effortlessly exhibits in his sofa styling.

Why it works: Brady kept his styling rather neutral so he complemented his color palette by adding in A LOT of texture. It is a tear-jerker and the whole space is so special and personal (Sara designed it for her mom for mother’s day–it’s SO SWEET).

Well, they are sturdier due to the lack of back cushions, usually have more of a structural shape, and (let’s be honest) they are not always the most comfortable–and that’s where pillow styling comes in. Why it works: The color palette is consistent and (you guessed it) she varies the patterns and textures among the pillows and throw, while complementing the size and shape of her sofa.

This is one of my favorite versions of Emily’s LA living room because I just love how this sofa looks in her English Tudor home.

Why it works: The deep color of the sofa makes the room pop so the pillows don’t have to be “loud”. Considering the size of the sofa and its firm structure, Sara implemented four oversized pillows to create a warm and inviting look (and p.s. There are tons of styling options that would make sense here because of its classic shape and black finish.

Why it works: Again, the color palette here is neutral and simple so the pattern mixing is where the real action comes in. The traditional gray sectional pictured here in Emily’s old Glendale home leaves so much room to play with colors and pattern. This sofa is obviously a show-stopper but that didn’t stop her from bringing in even more excitement with her pillow styling. Why it works: Since the rest of the room is kept quite neutral, there is more space to play with pattern and color with pillow styling.

Arlyn sticks to the 5 golden rules by varying patterns, implementing different size and shape pillows, and spreading them evenly across her sectional. This basement is one of my favorite reveals we’ve published on the blog, designed by the wonderfully talented Lea Johnson.

Emily has talked about the pros and cons of this sectional before, but the one great thing about it is styling can be kept minimal and intentional.

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