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How to choose the right throw pillows

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Throw pillows are essential décor items – perfect for putting a room together, setting the tone, and introducing colour and warm comfort. Best of all, they can be swapped up when styles or seasons change. 

Ultimately, these pillows are meant to serve a function – having too many can be a bad thing if you’re sinking into them when you sit on your couch. Poorly chosen throw pillows can make your living room look drab, or messy. If you want to choose throw pillows the right way, examine their patterns, colour, size and shape before you make a final decision.


Having an eye for design is useful when selecting throw pillows, but there are a few simple rules that can help anyone with their choice. Patterned pillows can look positively stunning, especially if you choose to mix and match designs. You absolutely don’t have to have the same pattern for every pillow. You usually have more freedom with patterns and textures than you might with colour.

Having trim on a throw pillow can give your furniture a number of different looks. Regular trim can really bring life to a solid coloured or lightly patterned pillow, and light trim can add to a thickly patterned or textured pillow. Welting is a common trim technique as it goes with multiple furniture styles, while more decorative trims (rope trim, tassels, etc.) are best suited for traditionally-styled rooms.


Your throw pillows should always complement the couch they sit on as well as the wall colour and flooring by matching or contrasting colours. Colours should also work together between different pillows, even if they have different patterns, shapes or sizes. There are many options (and few rules) when it comes to the colour of your throw pillows, so long as the look is cohesive.

While patterned throw pillows can give your home a distinct look, some prefer to use solid colours. It can be challenging to place them, but it gives you the option to create flair by using different sizes and shapes for your pillows. As a general rule, solid coloured pillows tend to look best on patterned couches.


Always keep throw pillows in proportion with your seating. That means they shouldn’t be too big or too small for their position on the couch. Longer pillows are best suited to the middle of your seating, while small ones are perfect for the wings. Of course, the arrangement of your pillows is all relative to the size of your couch.

As you try to find the best possible pillow arrangement for your seating, it’s ideal to think of multiple throw pillows as a single unit, rather than going through each pillow individually. This will help you to gauge proportions with your couch, and to stay organized as you find the perfect fit for your seating.


Square throw pillows are the most common shape and are a safe bet if you’re unsure about matching a certain piece of furniture. Rectangular shapes look best centered on the couch or chair. Box pillows are thicker than other pillows by several inches, meant to add dimension to seating.

There are two types of throw pillows you may want to reconsider using – bolster and round pillows. Their circular and oval shapes are harder to match to a couch, and they tend to look dated (they were highly popular a decade ago). Use these sparingly, or not at all, unless you need the longer bolster pillow for comfort reasons.

Of course, comfort is the purpose of any throw pillow. As long as you use appropriate patterns, colour, size, and shape, you’ll find a look that brings out the best in your couch.