How to Pick Perfect Throw Pillows

Who doesn’t love a great throw pillow mix? The little accessories have the power to complete a room and add sophistication and coziness (not mutually exclusive!) to bedrooms and living rooms of all styles. But choose the wrong throw pillows and your put-together room looks sloppy and haphazard.

Living Room by Caitlin Wilson Design

Before you pick up that gorgeous throw pillow that you fell in love with, consider these tips to master the mix.


The pillow filling is important. You don’t need to go with high-end goose down (especially if you plan on sitting on them!), but don’t choose the cheapest, lowest-quality fill – it will get lumpy and shapeless)


First, consider the pillow size your furniture can handle. For standard couches and chairs, the best size is generally in the 16″ to 18″ range; oversized (24″+) pillows are lounge-worthy and cozy in larger rooms and sofas, but will overwhelm most typical pieces of furniture.

Family Room by Sealy Design Inc.
Try a mix of sizes and shapes for visual interest, especially if they’ll be layered. A hard-to-mess-up combo: two larger solid (smooth or textured) or lightly-patterned pillows, an oblong for the center of the couch, and two contrasting patterns in a smaller size than the larger pillows.
Living Room by Ann Lowengart Interiors
Living ROom by Welch Company Home + Design

Most decor aficionados prefer pillows in odd numbers – one, three, even five on larger pieces of furniture. But you may like symmetry better, so go with whatever feels right to you. If you do decide to choose symmetry, be sure that they’re actually symmetrical – two identical pairs on either side of the couch, for example.

Living Room by Tobi Fairley Interior Design
And yes, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing” when it comes to pillows. Don’t overdo it! A good rule of thumb – if you have to move them to sit down, you have too many.

(Like this, though the pattern mix is epic.)

Living Room by ibrahim radwan

This is the tough part. Your pillows should pick up on the colors of the room, but some neutrality works well too, especially in heavily patterned pieces. If you’ll be choosing pillows for more than one piece of furniture in the same room, ensure that they coordinate – they don’t need to be the same, but pretend that they’ll be next to each other when you choose them to make sure that the whole room is unified and polished.

Living Room by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs


Living Room by Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors
Don’t be afraid to get different patterns – if they have a unifying color scheme, pattern type, or theme – but if you don’t have an eye for decor (some people can just make it work), you can’t go wrong with a pattern and a solid (or subtler pattern).
Living Room by Anna Lattimore Interior Design
Photo credit: Stephanie Wiley Photography
Don’t forget about texture – a textured solid offers more visual interest than a plain solid, with less risk of clashing. Try suede, linen, velvet, fur… something to contrast with the texture of your sofa to prevent sliding.
Family Room by Rebekkah Davies Interiors + Design
Bedroom by LDa Architecture & Interiors
Now get out there and choose your throw pillows with confidence!