Much like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae, decorative pillows are the perfect finishing touch to any room in a home. If your space feels just slightly unfinished, a curated throw pillow or two could tie the entire look together.
But you can’t rely on just any old pouf to enhance your room’s design—you need to be intentional with your pillow choices and curation. If you’re unsure exactly how to decorate with pillows, take a cue (or 21) from Havenly designers, who have all the tips you need for determining the right size, texture, color, and print. Keep scrolling for the 4-1-1.
1. Overstuff your pillows
Buy pillow inserts that are one size larger than the pillow cover for that plump, luscious look you see in magazines, but rarely on your own couch. Keep the look understated and oversized to make a simple yet effective style statement.
2. Vary the sizes
When you have color, texture, and pattern to play with, it’s easy to forget that pillows come in all shapes and sizes. Pepper in your standard squares ranging from small to oversized, and add a lumbar or two for good measure. This creates a treat for the eye, as it bounces from small to medium to large pillows.
3. Keep it uniform
On the opposite end of the spectrum, cohesion is also aesthetically-pleasing when decorating with pillows. Stick to one size of pillow, and create variety with prints, patterns, and colors for visual interest.
4. Go matchy-matchy
If you only need two or three pillows in your space, consider buying identical ones for a uniform vibe. This works especially well when topping off matching accent chairs or a small loveseat — it doesn’t have to be complicated.
5. Play with texture
Texture is a great way to add warmth and visual interest to a room, especially if you’re working with a neutral, understated color palette. Velvets, bouclés, linens, chenilles, and shearlings can all work together harmoniously.
6. Add a pop of color
In a relaxing, neutral room, it’s fun to incorporate a bold pop of color via throw pillows. In a sea of beige and cream, don’t be afraid to toss a raspberry-hued pillow into the mix. Sometimes, that’s all you need to create a more personalized look.
7. Create a tonal color palette
For a beautiful ombré effect, create a tonal color palette with your throw pillows. If the room has maroon accents, opt for a range of rusty reds and dusty roses, like the above living space.
8. Embrace seasonal hues
If you’re in the habit of switching up your pillows every so often, time your makeovers with the seasons. Go for burnt orange and forest green in the fall, then switch to pale yellow and baby blue during spring.
9. Pick a theme
Pick a theme—like mid-century modern or desert bohemian—and shop for throw pillows accordingly. If you stick to your inspiration, the resulting arrangement will be cohesive, compelling, and timeless.
10. Play with pattern
Patterns punch up any space, so fully embrace them by mixing and matching a selection together. While no combination is too daring, consider sticking to an overarching motif or aesthetic to unite the look (like desert bohemian, for example).
11. Add animal print
You can also make a splash with just one graphic pattern, like a bold animal print. Never underestimate the impact of a punchy Zebra motif on an otherwise neutral bed or sofa — it will instantly draw the eye in.
12. Go asymmetric
Looking for a unique, unexpected way to decorate a small sofa or loveseat? Embrace an asymmetric look with standard square pillows on one side, and a single bolster pillow on the other. This looks especially chic when the rest of the room is very symmetrical and balanced.
13. Layer a lumbar
A lumbar pillow can magically pull together any space, especially when it’s a cozy, oversized one in the center of the bed. Here, the white lumbar tones down the plaid and bold black behind it, and ties in the neutral rug and bed frame.
14. Go minimalist
Sometimes, less is more when it comes to decorating with throw pillows. Instead of going all-out with color and pattern, stick to a minimalist aesthetic with a single tonal lumbar on your sofa. Add texture with throw blankets and furniture, and let the neutral palette breathe.
15. Embrace symmetry
When curating throw pillows for a bed, symmetry always works. Snag two of each pillow you’re drawn to and layer each pair in a pyramid of sorts, with a single pillow at the front. Fin!
16. Less is more
Oftentimes, less is more. That means you can keep it simple and top your favorite accent chair with just a single pillow that sparks joy. Consider a classic, neutral stripe, and add a hint of color with a moody navy throw.
17. Go all-out
The alternative to a single pillow? A huge pile of them. While you can certainly stack your sofa with pillows, a plush mound is especially inviting (not to mention, more practical) on a bed. With a queen or king-sized bed, you can even pull off four layers of pillows.
18. Cozy up a banquette
Pillows are a given in the bedroom and living room, but they also look great in a dining room, too. Cozy up a banquette or bench seat with assorted throw pillows for a hint of warmth and texture in a traditionally utilitarian space.
19. Add texture to an entryway
Another unexpected—yet totally worthy—spot for pillows is the entryway. If space allows, decorate an entryway bench, storage basket, or console with a throw pillow or two. Once again, this simple addition adds warmth and texture in a pinch.
20. Prioritize comfort
A good pillow moment is pretty to look at, but your pillows should also be comfortable to lounge on. Make sure you do a lay test before buying, especially when decorating your living room or reading nook.
21. Don't forget durability
Aesthetics aside, always make sure your pillows are high-quality and durable, especially when decorating high-traffic spaces like living rooms and guest rooms. Look for pillow covers that are removable and washable to ensure longevity.
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