Decorating Dilemmas : : Arranging Throw Pillows


Dear Homeagination:
I’ve just purchased a gorgeous new sofa for the living room and bought a bunch of pillows to accessorize it. I’m at a complete loss as to how to arrange the pillows to make it look pulled together. Every time I try to style them, it just seems like a big jumble of colors and patterns--far from the sophisticated look I’m after.
— Pillow Predicament in Sioux Falls

Dear Cushion Challenged:
One of the biggest stumbling blocks we’ve found in home decorating is getting throw pillows to look just right on a sofa. We’ve spoken to numerous homeowners who eventually give up the fight and toss a couple of random pillows on the sofa as a token attempt.

Today, we’ll reveal a few secrets regarding the art of pillow arranging. The main objective is to make the placement of the pillows look effortless, but as with most accessorizing, it pays dividends to be somewhat deliberate in your approach.

One of our favorite tips is to begin by starting from the outside (the sofa arms) and working your way towards the center. Use your largest pillows to anchor the ends and place smaller pillows as you work your way in. Not only does this technique make seating more practical, it also provides a sense of symmetry and balance.


Most designers go with odd numbers of pillows (as with any other type of accessorizing). Odd numbers, for some reason, are much more visually appealing, hence the “rule of three” in design. Now, if you prefer two, four or six pillows, feel free to go for it.


Don’t forget to mix colors, solids, patterns and textures to create visual interest. Just make sure your throw pillows coordinate with the other elements in the room and fit with the style of your space. In addition, vary the shapes and sizes to keep your arrangement from looking too forced. Stick in a lumbar or round pillow to jazz things up.


One last important word of advice has to do with the pillow fill. If you can, select pillows or pillow inserts that are down filled versus polyester. They have a more comfortable feel and relaxed look. They will also last longer and won’t break down—especially if you have a sofa sleeper in the family.


Hope this helps!

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