Throw pillows are a great way to add color and personality to your living room. They’re one of those finishing touches that takes your space from strictly utilitarian to more lived in and considered.
But you can’t just buy some throw pillows and move on. Once you have them, it’s necessary to thoughtfully arrange them on your sofa. You might be thinking, “How hard can pillow decorating be?? It’s just a couple of pillows!” However, the proper arrangement for throw pillows on a sofa is actually one of the design dilemmas most frequently brought up by customers. So many people feel uncertain about how to combine colors and patterns, not to mention how to arrange them on their sofa!
Well, today we’re breaking it down for you. We’ll walk you through everything you ever wanted to know about how to arrange throw pillows on a sofa—and give you a few living room design ideas along the way!
Picking Your Pillows
First, let’s talk about picking your pillows. You don’t want a random hodge-podge of throw pillows—you want to create a curated collection that has a cohesive color palette, a mix of patterns for visual interest, and varied sizes for depth.
Choosing a Cohesive Color Palette
When choosing a color palette for your sofa’s throw pillows, you can really choose any color family that goes with the rest of your living room’s decor. Just make sure you keep all of the throw pillows in a similar color tone, whichever color you choose. When choosing throw pillows, start by grounding the color palette with a dark hue, and work toward lighter shades in the color palette while mixing in patterns that echo similar colors.
We love the idea of using blues as an “active” neutral. While blues add nice pops of color to your space, they’re flexible enough to be a neutral on the color spectrum while also allowing you to mix different shades of blues together in one arrangement.
Vary the Scale of the Patterns
Once you’ve landed on a color palette, make sure you don’t just go with a bunch of solid-colored throw pillows. Rather, add some patterns to the mix. And not just one! You can mix multiple patterns within the same throw pillow arrangement. Just make sure you vary the scale so that they aren’t competing with each other. Large patterns mixed with smaller scale patterns create a balance within the composition.
You can also explore mixing organic patterns—like shbori, ikat, and tie-dye—with more geometric patterns for an interesting and eclectic mix.
But, in all this, remember to use color to help ground your scene. That’s why it’s so important to first land on your color palette, as this will help guide what patterns you consider! Color helps enhance the patterns—so choose darker, deeper patterns for the throw pillows on the outside of the arrangement and lighter, more decorative patterns for the inward pillows.
Arrange Pillows By Size
This, of course, leads us to the next step: actually arranging the throw pillows. While the scale of patterns should be considered in the arrangement, so should the size of the pillows themselves. This may seem obvious, but as you arrange pillows, put larger pillows in the back and smaller or lumbar pillows in the front.
The largest pillows should always be on the outside, but you can play around with medium and small interchangeably on the inside for a more personalized look. However, the smallest throw pillows generally fit best on the very inside of the arrangement. You can also explore using lumbar pillows to help create a solid “middle” in your sofa’s composition.
Finally, consider working with an odd number of pillows, which will help with visual balance. For example, putting two throw pillows on each side of the sofa, and then layering three in the middle will help the composition feel effectively balanced.