Much like paint or area rugs, throw pillows can change the look and feel of your room without breaking the bank. Think of them as jewelry, in that you can change them up for a new look at any given moment and when they’re in use, they add that extra something to what you already have, i.e. the furniture. It’s easy to get pillow happy, as for the most part, they’re relatively inexpensive, but take these suggestions into consideration to help your room feel finished.
Size matters! Think about the size of the pillows in relation to the size and shape of the furniture they’re being placed on. If they’re too big, it makes sitting down awkward when there’s not much seat cushion left on the sofa because your throw pillow is oversized. The go-to size for pillows is generally 18-inch square, which fit most situations. Go larger, with 20-inch or 24-inch pillows, if you want a cozier feel. If you’re working with uber-modern, low back furniture, 16-inch pillows are usually your best bet.
Texture is a great way to add another decorative layer to a simple piece of furniture. Most people tend to buy larger pieces of furniture, like sofas and chairs, in neutral colors or simple patterns. By adding textured elements onto minimalist pieces, you can bring contrast and visual interest to a once boring look.
Another great way to elevate a basic sofa or chair is by adding pillows that pack a colorful punch. Whether you stick with a solid color or multiple colors, the effect can be quite cheerful and can completely change the look and feel of the space. If you’re not sure what colors to choose, take a look at the artwork in your space and pull colors from it as inspiration.
Now, it’s easy to go overboard when it comes to throw pillows so try to dial it back a little if you find yourself having to remove pillows just for people to sit down. For a chair, it’s a good idea to stick with only one, but if you have a standard sized sofa, three to five is probably about the most you want to use to achieve a polished look.
Besides color, pattern is going to be the next thing to catch your eye as you’re probably going to focus on it every time you enter that space. Decide whether you like bold patterns or simple, minimalist ones, or perhaps something abstract. No matter your personal favorite, you’ll be able to select from just about anything you can imagine, so think about what kind of statement you want to make.
As for quality, try to get the best that you can find within your budget. Consider things like the fabric the pillows are made from and if they’ll last over time, as well as what filling they’re stuffed with. Cheaper filling might start to look lumpy over time and not be able to hold its shape. Test it out by pressing on it and then fluffing it up to see if it bounces back.
Caroline Williamson is the Managing Editor of the modern design blog Design Milk. After getting her BFA in photography from SCAD, she moved to Los Angeles and completely submerged herself into the world of design. If she had any free time, she'd spend it painting, drawing, and maybe taking a nap.