Choosing Throw Pillows for Your Sofa | The Do’s & Don’ts


Master the art of choosing throw pillows for your sofa with these expert tips. Discover the do’s and don’ts of selecting the right pillows to elevate your home decor.

The right pillows for accent chairs to enhance the overall look of a living room.
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As I was putting new pillow covers on the throw pillows in our living room last week, I made a realization.

Despite years of sharing of our home with you and my deep love of throw pillows, I’ve never compiled my throw pillow tips & tricks, do’s & don’ts all in one place! 

It’s funny how something that can seem as simple as choosing throw pillows for your sofa, can be a challenge and an art form.

There are actually quite a few things I consider before putting together the right combination of throw pillows. From coordinating colors to patterns, every pillow cover selection plays a role in creating a gorgeous, cohesive living room.

If you’ve ever found yourself overwhelmed by the endless pillow options or unsure of where to start, I’m here to help you.

In this blog post, I’m finally sharing my insider tips & tricks and do’s & don’ts for choosing decorative pillows that will transform your sofa from bland to beautiful. 

Throw pillow combination on a couch for cozy home decor in the family room.

The Importance of Throw Pillows in the Living Room

Some people might say that throw pillows are not a home decor essential, but I would have to disagree.

Yes, you can have a couch or accent chairs minus the throw pillows, and yes, you’ll still be able to create a functional seating area. However, what you’ll be missing is the opportunity to add style and a softer look to your living room. 

Throw pillows are the finishing touch that can take a boring sofa and turn it into a stylish spot you’ll be proud of and want to relax on.

Think of throw pillows as the accessories that complete an outfit. 

Just as a statement necklace can take a simple dress from drab to fab, the right throw pillows can transform a basic sofa into the focal point of the room. 

They add depth, dimension, and character to your living room, making it feel more inviting and cohesive.

Gingham throw pillow with other patterned throw pillows on the sofa.

Let’s not forget about how versatile throw pillows can be as well. 

They allow you to experiment with different colors, patterns, and textures without committing to a major overhaul of your space. 

But what I think is most important factor when it comes to throw pillows, is the sense of comfort and warmth they add to your home. 

There’s something so cozy about a couch with plush pillows. It invites you to curl up with a good book, snuggle with family members, or simply unwind in front of the tv after a long day.

Choosing the Right Throw Pillows Do’s & Don’ts

Here are my do’s and don’t when it comes to choosing the right throw pillows for your living room. I am no pillow expert, so these are all things I’ve done and then learned from either trial & error or mistakes along the way.

Remember, these are all simple things that you can easily adjust in your home, so don’t stress if you make any of these mistakes.

Don’t: Buy Throw Pillows Without Removable Covers

One of the biggest mistakes I think most of us, including myself make, is purchasing throw pillows without removable covers. 

We fall in love with a beautiful pillow and then realize later that the cover can’t be removed and washed. It’s a mistake I’ve made on more than one occasion.

There are a few good reasons why you want to invest in throw pillows with covers you can remove. 

Block print throw pillows on the sofa in the family room for added coziness.

The first might be obvious. Removable pillow covers can be washed. Which means when your pillow gets dirty, you can easily remove the cover, and toss it into the washing machine to keep the cover looking fresh & inviting.

Secondly, with removable covers you have the opportunity to effortlessly swap out covers for a quick home decor refresh. I like to change our pillow covers seasonally, which is much easier when the covers are removable. 

It’s like giving our living room a mini makeover without the hassle of buying entirely new pillows.

The right throw pillows for your couch that add warmth & comfort to the living room.

And finally, keeping multiple sets of throw pillows for different seasons or occasions can quickly eat up premium storage space. 

However, by investing in pillows with removable covers, you can simply store the covers when not in use, freeing up space in your linen closet or storage bins. 

Take it from me, this not only makes seasonal decorating easier, but also helps keep your home organized and clutter-free.

How to choose the right pillows for your couch and the best throw pillow combination.

Do: Embrace Variety

When it comes to throw pillows (or home decor in general), variety is key. 

Mix and match different sizes, shapes, textures, and patterns to create visual interest and depth. 

Neutral living room with neutral throw pillows to create a cozy room.

Start with larger pillows on the ends of your sofa to provide a solid foundation, then layer in smaller accent pillows with contrasting patterns or textures. 

If you love bold colors or playful prints, don’t be afraid to experiment. Throw pillows are the perfect opportunity to inject some personality and character into your space to make it feel right for you.

Don’t: Overcrowd Your Couch

Think less is more here.

Variety is important, but it’s also important not to overdo it. 

Overcrowding your sofa with too many pillows can make it look cluttered and unwelcoming (your significant other, children, and/or pets will start tossing pillows on the floor, I know from experience). 

Throw pillow combination on a couch for cozy home decor in the family room.

As a general rule of thumb, stick to an odd number of pillows. Three to five are typically a good throw pillow combination, depending on the size of your couch. 

Always choose quality over quantity and select pillow covers that are well-made and will stand the test of time.

You may pay more upfront for a quality pillow cover, but you will get years out of your investment. I have Pottery Barn pillow covers I bought over 5 years ago and I still love them and use them. 

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to rotate and rearrange your throw pillows periodically to prevent uneven wear & tear and keep your sofa looking fresh and balanced.

Do: Consider the Color & Style of Your Sofa

When selecting throw pillows, make sure to consider the color and style of your sofa. 

If you have a light, neutral colored sofa, stay away from plain white pillows and instead use throw pillows with pops of color and patterns. 

On the other hand, if your sofa is already bold and colorful, choose more subdued pillows that complement rather than compete with the existing color scheme. 

Decorative pillows on a white couch in a country cottage farmhouse living room.

And always consider the style of your sofa. Is it modern and sleek, or traditional and cozy? 

Choose throw pillows that align with the overall look, style of the space, and your home decor.

Don’t: Forget About Comfort

Yes, throw pillows are used for decorative purposes, but they are also about comfort!

After all, you want your sofa to be a cozy spot for lounging and relaxing, right?!

Patterned decorative pillow on a window seat in the family room.

Choose pillows with soft, plush inserts that provide ample support. 

My family prefers the coziness of down inserts, however you do have a few different options when it comes to the fill of your inserts. 

Polyster Filled Pillow Inserts

Polyester filled inserts are my least favorite, however they are a common and affordable option.

Made from synthetic fibers, polyester fill pillows are lightweight, hypoallergenic, and machine washable, making them a practical choice for everyday use.

These pillows offer medium firmness, which can be a little stiff for me but they will maintain their shape well over time.

Download Your Free Throw Pillow Cheat Sheets

Down Filled Pillow Inserts

Down filled throw pillows are the best option in my opinion and are known for their luxurious softness & plush feel. 

Made from the soft undercoating of duck or goose feathers, down clusters create a fluffy and resilient pillow that molds to your head and body for personalized comfort. 

Down pillows have a long lifespan and can maintain their loftiness with proper care. However, it’s important to note that down filled pillows may not be ideal for those with allergies to feathers or down.

Down Alternative Pillow Inserts

For those seeking the softness of down without the allergens, down alternative pillows are an excellent choice.

Typically filled with synthetic fibers such as microfiber or polyester clusters, these pillows mimic the feel of down.

Down alternative pillows are hypoallergenic which is great for allergy sufferers.

While they may not offer the same level of plushness as authentic down pillows, down alternative inserts still provide excellent comfort and support.

Shop Our Favorite Pillow Inserts

Do: Size Up Pillow Inserts

One thing to keep in mind when selecting pillow inserts for your pillow covers, is to size up. 

While it may be tempting to choose inserts that match the dimensions of your pillow covers, look for inserts that are slightly larger to enhance the look and feel of your throw pillows.

Family room throw pillows on a traditional white couch for extra coziness.

Sizing up pillow inserts is an easy way to ensure that your throw pillows appear plump, full, and inviting rather than flat and sad. 

So, what pillow inserts are the right size?

Aim for inserts that are 1-2″ larger than the dimensions of your pillow covers on all sides. For example, if you have a 20″ square pillow cover you’ll want to use a 22″ square pillow insert.

Pro Tip: Fluffing your throw pillows regularly is a great way to help maintain their shape and loftiness. Give them a good shake and punch to redistribute the filling and keep your pillows looking plump and inviting.

Don’t: Neglect Proportion

When it comes to throw pillows, size does matter.

Square pillows in a neutral color palette in a cottage farmhouse family room.

Use square pillows that are at least 20″ in size or larger for a more substantial and balanced look on your couch. 

Pillows smaller than 20″ can get lost and appear insignificant, whereas larger pillows make a statement and provide better support for relaxation. 

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Do: Mix Textures & Patterns

One of the easiest ways to add visual interest and depth to your sofa is by mixing different textures and patterns in your throw pillows. 

Rather than sticking to one monotonous style, embrace variety with contrasting textures and patterns to create a dynamic and inviting look.

Block print & gingham decorative pillows are a great way to add visual interest to a couch.

Incorporate a mix of cozy knit and soft linen pillows to create a feast for the senses. 

In addition to mixing textures, play with different patterns. Whether you like classic stripes, gingham, or block print florals; a mix of patterns adds personality and charm to your sofa.

Avoid overwhelming your space by balancing large scale patterns with smaller ones. 

Remember when mixing textures and patterns to maintain a cohesive color palette to tie everything together. Choose throw pillows in complementary colors, so that each pillow contributes to the overall aesthetic of the family room.

Botanical block print pillow on a white sofa in farmhouse home decor.

My Favorite Places to Shop for the Best Throw Pillows

These are a few of my favorite places to shop for quality, affordable throw pillow covers:


Look for these things before making a pillow cover purchase…

  • Check the dimensions of the pillow cover to ensure it will fit your pillow insert snugly. Measure your pillow insert and compare it to the dimensions of the cover.
  • Consider the closure type of the pillow cover whether it’s a zipper, envelope closure, or button closure.
  • Pay attention to the material of the pillow cover. Look for cozy fabrics that are easy to clean and maintain, such as cotton or linen.
  • Review the care instructions for the pillow cover to ensure it’s easy to clean. Check if it’s machine washable or if it requires special care like dry cleaning.
Cozy throw pillows of different sizes for the sofa.

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I look forward to sharing more of my home with you and inspiring you to have a well loved home! Follow me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and

xoxo, heidi

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The right pillows for accent chairs to enhance the overall look of a living room.
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  1. You have the most gorgeous pillows! Love the patterns and colors. I use down filled. Any hints on keeping the feathers from poking out and stabbing us in the back? First world problems. 😉 Great post.

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