Throw pillows create an inviting atmosphere while also adding style and design to any room.  They come in an endless variety of patterns, shapes, colors, and textures, which add interest to any space and allow you to further express your style in your home.  It’s sometimes puzzling as to where and how to style decorative throw pillows but we’ll give you some helpful tips here.

SIZE – Throw pillows come in many different sizes. I suggest not going for anything less than 16 x 16. Always err on the side of too big—two puny 12×12 pillows on a sofa look very sad.  I like to have two 18 x 18 pillows on my sofa along with a couple more at 20×20 and/or 22×22, depending on the size of the sofa. If you want to throw one more pillow on, consider a rectangular lumbar or even a round pillow.  Make sure your pillows are not too stiff – a nice, soft goose-down fill (sustainably sourced, of course!) is usually your best bet with any of these.

Of course, throw pillows work great on beds too. We’re moving away from the trend of covering a bed in a dozen different sized throw pillows, all of which undoubtedly ended up on the floor or who knows where when it was time to climb into that over-pillowed bed. Keep your throw pillows manageable.

FILL – I never specify throw pillows with polyester fills.  They lump up and feel bouncy and uncomfortable. Down fill or a down/poly blend is the way to go.  Down fills do need to be fluffed up and given a good karate chop in the middle to give them their best look.  On leather, you must use a down fill so that it will stay in place and not slip down onto the seat cushion of the sofa.

THE LOOK – Throw pillows are a great way to change the look and feel of a room without much risk at all. Don’t go the overly-decorated and overly-matched route. Also, stiff, poly-filled pillows perched precariously together on a couch or bed (while great for tossing basketball-style into trash cans) are rarely comfortable and often deter rather than invite someone to sit down with them.  As far as color and pattern, try to stick with a similar color palette rather than a random array, especially if you’re mixing patterns. A couple of pillows with large prints, a couple with smaller scale prints and then some that complement all of them will look best.

WHERE TO THROW?  They’re called throw pillows for a reason – you can toss or throw them wherever it suits you!  While the sofa and beds are a natural destination, what are some other good spots? I like to place down-filled pillows on the back of chairs to give the sitter a little more softness to curl into. You can even put a couple large throw pillows on the floor to offer a softer place to sit while playing a board game or when all the other seating options in the room are taken. 

TYPES OF FABRIC TO STEER CLEAR OF – It’s difficult to understand why someone would choose a pillow cover made out of sequins, coarse fabric, embroidery or with strange beads and baubles attached to the fabric and put it in a place where it would get a lot of use. Throw pillows should be as soft and comfortable to sit against as an actual blanket. They should be able to hold up to seat traffic.  Go for cotton, linen or even wool. A fantastic option is a knitted pillow cover that can feel as warm as a blanket. I also love the look and feel of faux fur pillows. If you really want to use a sequined, beaded or otherwise bristly or scratchy pillow, consider placing it where no one will sit, possibly on a bench or accent chair that is just there for looks.

Decorative pillows can really enhance your room.  Just like window treatments, rugs and art, these tiny gems add a great deal to any space.  They are well worth the price, easily changed out, and will give you a real bang for your buck!


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