top of page

Styling Throw Pillows

How do you pick throw pillows? Which throw pillows should I get? How do I know which throw pillows to buy? How many throw pillows should I use? Which patterns should my throw pillows be?

These are questions that interior designers hear all.the.time. Throw pillows seem to really stump people, and I totally understand why. There is a fine line between too few and too many. It’s also difficult to know which patterns, shapes and sizes best fit your décor. So, lets take a deep dive into the world of throw pillows for your living room.

First, some general guidelines and my thoughts on a few things:

  1. Throw pillows (like most home accessories) are most aesthetically pleasing in groups of odd numbers. This isn’t a hard rule, as you’ll see below, but it’s something to keep in mind.

  2. I believe that you can have too many throw pillows. Personal experience has shown me that too many pillows will lead to piles of them on the floor, which makes the room look cluttered an messy. When you are deciding which pillows to purchase take a moment to really think about how many will actually get used and stick to that number.

  3. In my house we have a rule about pillows that kind of goes along with point number 2-if they aren’t soft enough to lay our faces on, they aren’t coming in. My husband initiated the rule years ago but over time I’ve really come to agree with him. I have kids, tripping over their toys is enough, I don’t need to be stumbling over piles of elaborately beaded pillows as well.

  4. Pattern mixing is the quickest way to add personality to your sofa. Afraid to try it? Start with this super simple formula… large stripe + medium plaid + small polka dot. Keep them all in the same color family and you’ll be good to go!

  5. Vary your pillow shapes and sizes! Your pillows shouldn’t look like you grabbed them all of the shelf at the same time, even if you did. Mix them up a little bit. Try and 18x18, a 16x16 and a 12x20 all together!


The style of seating in your living room is going to determine the quantity and sizes of your pillows, so let’s check out a few different choices:

The loveseat

Loveseats are usually 52-64 inches long and, generally speaking, seat 2 people. I usually style loveseats with 3 pillows, 2 squares and a lumbar. If your loveseat is of average size and height start by looking for 2 18x18 pillows and a 12x20.

The sofa

Sofas are one of the places that I break they “groups of odd numbers” rule. I use 4 pillows on sofas, 2 on each side. If you want a very classic look try 4 square pillows, 2 in the same pattern, 18x18, and 2 in a different pattern, 16x16.

The sofa with a chaise

Is it a sectional or is it a sofa? Well, that depends who you ask, but when a sofa has a chaise I prefer to add a 5th pillow to the mix, and vary the shapes a little more. On the non-chaise side try either a square and a rectangle pillow or 2 squares in different sizes. On the chaise side use all 3, 2 sizes of squares and a smaller rectangle.

The Sectional

When styling an L-shaped sectional, I add 7 throw pillows to my list. 2 18x18 in 1 pattern, 3 16x16 in a second pattern and 2 lumbar pillows in a 3rd pattern. I place one of each in the corner, a 16x16 and the second lumbar on the arm of the shortest side and the 18x18 and last 16x16 on the arm of the longest side. If the sectional has a cuddler instead of an arm I will use 3 pillows on that end as well.


Now that you know how to style your upholstered living room furniture, perhaps I will share my guide for throw pillows on a bed next! What size bed do you need new pillows for? Not worried about beds? If you could ask me anything about your home, what would it be? Comment below!

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page