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How to Decorate With Throw Pillows Like a Pro

How to Decorate With Throw Pillows Like a Pro
By RST Brands
December 23, 2020

If you think about it, throw pillows are quite aptly named: They look amazing while they’re nicely perched on your sofa or king-size bed. But then it’s time to actually sit down, and so you nonchalantly throw them off to the side. (As if you didn’t just drop half of your paycheck for the whole collection!)


Which raises one big question: Are throw pillows worth it?

In that light, throw pillows may seem a bit superfluous, we’ll give you that. BUT—that doesn’t take away from their power to totally elevate an otherwise hum-drum space.

Toss them aside, you may. But when they’re otherwise doing their job of looking fabulous, you know they’re worth every penny. 

So here’s the next question or three: How do you style pillows on a couch? And do throw pillows need to match? How many should you have?

Learning how to decorate with throw pillows can seem, well, more complicated than picking out a rug or buying some potted plants. But with a little research—which we’ve done for you, lucky duck—you too can be a throw pillow pro. Check out our guide below to learn all the trade secrets.

Picking Pillows

Before you go anywhere near the pillow aisle at your favorite home decor store, you’ll want to narrow in on what you’re looking for.


What’s the color scheme of the room? Do you already have other textures going on with the decor? Do you need patterns to bring interest to the design? Here’s how to spot your ideal throw pillow (or seven) when you see it.

1. Color

The color of your pillows depends on the scheme you’ve already established in the room. Ideally, your pillows should bring in colors from a rug, piece of art, or throw blanket. This is your chance to accent the space with something bold—so get loud! It’s just a small square of fabric, so you can always change it out if you get tired of it. But if you’re seeking a more calming aesthetic, you can stick to subtle neutrals, too.

2. Pattern

Throw pillows are also a great opportunity to play with patterns. While striped wallpaper or a floral couch may be a lot to take in, a few patterned pillows give just the dash of intricacy to make a design feel more playful or complex. If you’re feeling really daring, you can even mix patterns—just make sure to balance small patterns with big ones, and keep the patterns within the same color scheme.

3. Fabric

Fabric choice is often overlooked when it comes to throw pillows, but this can play a big role in the overall feel of the space. Velour throw pillows tout luxury and sophistication, while fringe and fur give a more bohemian vibe. One or two tweed pillows could be the perfect touch for a refined room, and durable spill-proof pillows are ideal if your little ones will inevitably be coloring, munching, drooling, and living their best kid life. 

4. Proportion/Size

The golden rule of throw pillows: Go BIGGER than you imagine you need to. Because there’s nothing to make a designer cringe like a few wimpy-looking little pillows on an enormous couch or king-size bed. Another perk? Big pillows allow you to get away with buying fewer pillows, since they pack a bigger punch. However, you will want to balance out the large-scale pillows with one or two smaller pillows. (A long, thin lumbar pillow is always a winning match!)

Arranging Pillows

You’ve pondered, you’ve sketched, you’ve researched, and you’ve conquered the throw pillow aisle. Now it’s time to arrange! Wipe that sweat off your brow—we know you’re excited about this part. It just takes a few key principles to make this step as easy as flying through a season of Real Housewives in one night.

1. Symmetry and Grouping

Classic design calls for symmetry of your throw pillows, meaning you arrange 2-3 pillows on each side of the couch, or an even number of pillows across the front of your bed. But modern design is all about kicking convention to the curb.

Say goodbye to Stepford Wives and hello to easy, carefree living. It may sound complicated, but all this really means is that you’re styling your pillows in uneven numbers instead of in perfect symmetry. Yep. Who knew your throw pillows were capable of saying so much?

2. Negative Space

Throw pillows can quickly transform a boring room into something much more visually interesting. But we’re not going for laser show levels of excitement here. You want to give the eye some “breathing” room by adding negative space to the design. This means leaving room between pillow groupings and leaving some space on the edge of the bed.

3. Mixing and Matching Patterns

Step up your living room game by mixing rich, high-contrast patterns with favorite textures

If you’re incorporating patterned pillows in the mix, make sure you disperse them evenly among the bunch. Patterns look best when accompanied by a solid-colored pillow or pattern of a different scale. For example, a large floral print pillow could be styled next to a smaller-scale floral print.

4. Fluffing

Now for the final step that gives your throw pillows that professional touch. Get ready for some fun: It’s fluffing time. Your pillows will probably come out of the store looking a little flat and a little sad. But toss them in the air and give them a few punches, and they’ll be full of life and cheer once more.

Furniture Ideal for Throw Pillows

You ran out and bought all those pillows, so hopefully you have some idea of where you’re going to put them. But if you need some inspiration, we’re on it. Here are some furniture pieces that just beg for a throw pillow or two—or three, or seven—who are we kidding?

1. Sofa

The sofa has always been a popular place to showcase a few throw pillows, and for good reason. This long, rectangular piece can look a little boring without some pops of color and pattern to break it up. Arrange two pillows in one corner if you’re going for a minimalist look, or go the opposite direction and line the whole thing with a spectacular array of pillows.

2. Loveseat

Loveseats are much smaller than the typical sofa, but many of them still look a bit lonely without a decorative piece to brighten up the seating area. For best results, dress up the loveseat with a few pillows that complement the ones you’re putting on your sofa.

3. Sectional

Ah, the sectional. So cozy. So practical. So enormous. If you’re looking for a way to tie your sectional into the rest of your design, throw pillows are the way to do it. As with the sofa, your sectional is dying for something interesting to break up the long, continuous design of the piece.

4. Bed

Whether you’re sleeping in a king-size bed or a twin, a few throw pillows can really tie the look together. Bonus: Throw pillows are also a practical design element for your bed, since you can use them to prop yourself up while reading a book or watching TV at night.

Shop for Furniture Today

When you’re learning how to decorate with throw pillows, it’s easy for things to snowball. So maybe you’re just scrapping the furniture you have and ready to start fresh. We’re not here to judge. In fact, we think you’re onto something brilliant!

There’s nothing like interior design to brighten your mood and make you feel more comfortable at home. Shop RST Brands today to find the finest quality sofas, sectionals, and beds that will be the perfect accompaniment to those fabulous throw pillows.