How to Decorate Your Sofa with Throw Pillows

The sofa is one of the easiest pieces of furniture in your living room to decorate. All you need are some throw pillows. 

Throw pillows are stuffed cushions intended to be used as a headrest or as decoration for the sofa. They come in a wide range of shapes, colours, and styles to fit your living room decor. 

Throw pillows can be just the accent piece you need to make your sofa stand out and look comfortable. 

We have some tips on how to decorate your sofa with a collection of throw pillows, whether you want a traditional or a modern style. You can also mix the two.

Traditional or Modern?

a designer pink chair with white throw pillows

This question influences everything about your throw pillow choice and placement. Traditional decoration plans work best if you're going for a classic look on an older sofa. It employs basic colour, a scene of order and balance, and a subtle hint of class. 

Modern design trends, on the other hand, are all about vibrancy and boldness, being off-beat, and making a fashion statement. That’s not to say one style is inherently better, but it depends on your personal preference for the living room and sofa.

Pick Your Number of Pillows

two throw pillows on a designer sofa

As we've said, traditional decorating styles emphasise order and predictable patterns. As such, you should aim to have an even number of pillows on the sofa. 

Try two or four, but no more because it will look cluttered. The pillows should be placed equidistant from one another. As an alternate placement, you can just have two pillows at each end of the sofa.  

If you're going with different sizes, have the two sides mirror one another. Two large pillows on the outside, two smaller ones on the inside.

Modern style, on the other hand, is a bit more free-form. Use an odd number of pillows, so it doesn't look too staid and formal, but you should still try to be somewhat symmetrical. 

Add no more than five pillows. For example, you could have two at the ends, two adjacent to those, and a single large pillow in the middle. Using larger pillows makes it so you don't have to worry about the area looking too chaotic. 

Mix and Match Shapes

A grey sofa with an array of pillows

Basic squares and circles make up the bulk of traditional throw pillows. They aren't usually large, but large enough so you can easily see the design and pattern. 

On the same note, to avoid things looking too same-y, don't just use pillows of the same shape as mirrors to one another. You can look symmetrical without having to create an exact mirror image. The idea is to create the illusion of balance, not to be perfectly balanced. It's perfectly fine to have a square pillow opposite a round one.

If you can find oblong throw pillows, they work well in modern design. Off-beat shapes like triangles, hearts, or other geometric patterns can work too. If it happens to be near Valentine's Day, heart-shaped pillows are just an extra measure of decor.

What’s Your Preferred Fabric?

Multiple throw pillows on a designer sofa

You should use pillows with softer fabrics for traditional styles of throw pillow decorating. These include velvet, suede, and silk. 

They're more expensive, but arguably worth the investment because of how they will look and feel on your sofa. 

Keep it interesting by adding a variety of different type of pillows. In fact, you could start a collection and switch out pillows sometimes. 

Get pillows that don't have a lot of trim, unless they're larger. Trim on small cushions isn't as visually effective as it is on larger ones.

Fabric for throw pillows using a modern decor theme should make use of materials like cotton or linen. These are cheaper, on average. 

Another thing to consider is whether you want to use trim. It isn't as prevalent nowadays, but if you use a subtle trim that's the same colour as the pillow itself you might be able to pull it off.

Have You Thought About Colours and Patterns?

two patterned throw pillows on a sofa

Traditional decor requires conservative patterns or solid colours. Preferably the pillows should match the sofa or the surrounding pieces of furniture in your living room. 

Muted, neutral tones work best because they aren't as likely to clash with existing design elements. Simple patterns, like plaids, serve as a reliable backdrop and go well with just about any sofa.

If you're decorating in a modern style, you can be a little more liberal with your colours. The same basic design rules apply; the pillows need to look good with the couch. 

Pillows with livelier patterns are acceptable. Floral or leaf patterns are good examples. In particular, the image of flowers evokes refreshing springtime images.

Mixing the Two Elements

A red throw pillow on a blue sofa

To this point, we've talked about decorating in traditional and modern styles exclusively. You can blend the two styles to make a mix all your own. 

You could put down an even number of pillows but arrange them in an organic, asymmetric manner.

Another possibility is using pillows that are made of different materials and shapes than the norm but placing them symmetrically on the couch.

Try to tie as much of your decor together as you can. Take everything in the room into account when deciding what colour your pillows should be; they may serve as an accent piece for larger pieces. 

Think of the pillows as punctuation to the artistic statement you're making with your living room. Don't be afraid to try different things; ultimately, it's your living room, and you have to be the one to decide whether you like it or not.

Blue and cream throw pillows on a designer sofa

When decorating your sofa with throw pillows, you should consider the design of your sofa and how it looks. 

A traditional-looking Camelback sofa requires a traditional-looking pillow layout. Don't just throw them haphazardly on the seat. 

Similarly, a Tuxedo design or a sectional may benefit from a little more free-spirited decorating rather than robotic rigidness of placement. 

We have a multitude of throw pillows, so get creative with your sofas today with our top-quality selection!