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Creating the Perfect Ambiance: A Guide to Choosing Decorative Pillows for Your Couch

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

color accent couch pillows

Selecting decorative pillows for your couch may seem like a simple task, but it's an essential element in creating the perfect ambiance for your living space. The right decorative pillows can add warmth, style, and personality to your sofa, tying together the overall look of your room. However, with so many shapes, sizes, colors, patterns, and textures to choose from, it can be overwhelming to pick decorative pillows for your couch. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of selecting the perfect decorative pillows for your couch, ensuring that they not only complement your sofa but also enhance the overall aesthetic of your living room.

1. Determine Your Style

Before you start shopping for decorative pillows, it's essential to determine your style and the overall design of your living room. Are you aiming for a traditional, contemporary, eclectic, bohemian, or minimalist look? Knowing your style will help you narrow down your choices and make the selection process easier.

Traditional Style

traditional style decorative couch pillows
  • If your living room has a traditional design, opt for decorative pillows with classic patterns such as florals, damask, or stripes.

  • Choose rich, warm colors like deep reds, blues, and golds to complement your traditional furniture.

  • Tassels and fringe can add an elegant touch to your pillows.

Contemporary Style

contemporary style decorative pillows
  • For a contemporary look, go for geometric patterns, abstract designs, or solid colors with clean lines.

  • Stick to a monochromatic or neutral color palette with pops of bold, contrasting hues.

  • Consider materials like leather, faux fur, or metallic accents to add a modern edge.

Eclectic Style

eclectic decorative pillows for couch
  • If you have an eclectic style, don't be afraid to mix and match patterns, colors, and textures.

  • Combine vibrant, contrasting colors and playful patterns to create a unique, visually stimulating arrangement.

  • Consider incorporating vintage or one-of-a-kind pillows for added character.

Bohemian Style

bohemian style decorative pillows
  • Embrace a relaxed, bohemian vibe with pillows featuring tribal prints, paisley patterns, or tie-dye designs.

  • Opt for earthy, muted colors like terracotta, mustard, and teal, along with plenty of textured elements like fringe and embroidery.

Minimalist Style

decorative pillows for minimalist style living room
  • Minimalist spaces thrive on simplicity, so choose solid-colored pillows in a limited color palette.

  • Stick to clean lines and avoid busy patterns or excessive embellishments.

  • Consider pillows made from natural materials like linen or cotton for a serene, understated look.

2. Selecting the Right Size and Shape

Once you've identified your style, it's time to consider the size and shape of the decorative pillows. The size and shape of your couch, as well as your personal preferences, will play a significant role in this decision.

Square Pillows

square shape decorative pillows
  • Square pillows are the most common shape for decorative pillows.

  • They come in various sizes, such as 16x16 inches, 18x18 inches, and 20x20 inches.

  • Square pillows are versatile and work well in any design style.

Rectangular Pillows

small rectangular decorative pillows
  • Rectangular pillows, often referred to as lumbar pillows, are great for adding visual interest and support to your couch.

  • They are available in sizes like 12x18 inches or 12x24 inches.

  • Lumbar pillows are particularly useful for providing extra comfort and lumbar support.

Bolster Pillows

decorative bolster pillows for couch
  • Bolster pillows are cylindrical in shape and can add a unique touch to your couch.

  • They are ideal for traditional and contemporary styles.

  • Bolsters come in various lengths and can be placed at either end of the couch for a symmetrical look.

Round Pillows

  • Round pillows can create a playful and unexpected element in your decor.

  • They work well in eclectic and bohemian styles.

  • Round pillows come in different sizes, from small 12-inch cushions to larger 18-inch options.

Oversized Pillows

  • Oversized pillows, typically 22x22 inches or larger, can be a statement piece on your couch.

  • They work best in larger living rooms with ample seating space.

  • These pillows can serve as focal points or anchor pieces in your decor.

3. Coordinating Colors and Patterns

Choosing the right colors and patterns for your decorative pillows is crucial in achieving a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing look. Here are some tips on coordinating colors and patterns:

Color Coordination

color coordinated decor pillows
  • Start with a base color that matches or complements your couch or the overall color scheme of your living room.

  • Introduce accent colors from your room's decor, such as curtains, rugs, or artwork, into your pillow selection.

  • Consider using the 60-30-10 rule, where 60% of your pillows are in the dominant color, 30% in the secondary color, and 10% in an accent color.

Pattern Mixing

decorative pillows with pattern
  • Mixing patterns can add visual interest to your couch, but it requires a careful approach.

  • Choose one dominant pattern that serves as the focal point and complements the overall style.

  • Pair it with a smaller-scale or simpler pattern for balance.

  • Include solid-colored pillows to break up the patterns and create visual breathing space.

Texture Variety

texture variety in decorative pillows
  • Incorporating different textures can make your couch more inviting and cozier.

  • Consider pillows with textures like velvet, silk, faux fur, or knits.

  • Mix smooth, shiny textures with rougher, matte textures for contrast.

4. Balance and Symmetry

Achieving balance and symmetry in your pillow arrangement is essential for a harmonious look. Here's how to create a balanced arrangement:

Even Number vs. Odd Number

  • Decide whether you want an even or odd number of pillows on your couch.

  • Even numbers (e.g., 2, 4, 6) create a more symmetrical and formal look.

  • Odd numbers (e.g., 3, 5, 7) can create a more relaxed and casual vibe.


  • Place larger pillows on the outer edges of the couch and smaller ones toward the center.

  • If you have a pair of matching pillows, consider placing them at opposite ends for balance.

  • Experiment with different pillow arrangements until you find one that pleases your eye.

5. Consider Comfort

While decorative pillows are primarily for aesthetics, it's essential to consider comfort, especially if you and your guests will be using the couch regularly. Here are some comfort-related factors to keep in mind:

Pillow Fill

  • The fill material affects the comfort and shape of your pillows.

  • Common fill options include polyester, down, feather, and foam.

  • Down and feather fills provide a plush, luxurious feel but require regular fluffing.

  • Polyester and foam fills offer more support and retain their shape well.

Pillow Density

  • The density or firmness of the pillows can vary.

  • Choose a density that suits your comfort preference, whether you prefer a soft, squishy feel or a firmer, supportive one.

Pillow Covers

  • Consider removable, washable pillow covers, especially if you have children or pets.

  • Pillow covers with zippers or buttons make it easy to clean and maintain your decorative pillows.

6. Personalize with Accents

Once you've selected the primary decorative pillows for your couch, you can personalize the look further with accent elements:

Throw Blankets

pairing decor pillows with throw blankets
  • Drape a coordinating throw blanket over the back or arm of the couch.

  • The texture and color of the blanket can complement your decorative pillows.

Throw Pillow Covers

throw pillow covers

Throw pillow covers are an excellent way to add a layer of personalization and versatility to your couch decor. They allow you to change the look and feel of your couch seasonally or whenever you want to refresh your living space without purchasing entirely new pillows. Here's how you can use throw pillow covers as accents:

Seasonal Updates

  • Rotate throw pillow covers to reflect different seasons and holidays. For example, you can have festive covers for holidays like Christmas or Halloween and switch to lighter, brighter covers for spring and summer.

Color Accents

  • Introduce new accent colors into your living room by using throw pillow covers in different shades. This is an easy way to experiment with trending colors or update your decor to match the changing seasons.

Pattern Play

  • If you have a penchant for patterns but don't want to commit to permanent pillows, throw pillow covers offer a solution. You can mix and match covers with various patterns and designs to achieve the desired look.

Texture Variety

  • Just like with your primary decorative pillows, you can use throw pillow covers to introduce different textures. Swap out covers made of materials like faux fur, linen, or silk to create visual and tactile interest.


  • Consider having custom throw pillow covers made with monograms, family names, or meaningful quotes. This personal touch can make your couch decor truly unique and special.

Washable Convenience

  • Throw pillow covers are typically easy to remove and wash, making them a practical choice if you have pets or young children. You can keep your couch looking fresh and clean with minimal effort.

Mix and Match

  • Don't be afraid to mix and match different throw pillow covers to create an eclectic and visually dynamic look. Experiment with contrasting colors, patterns, and textures to find a combination that appeals to your style.

Store Extras

  • Since throw pillow covers are compact and easy to store, you can keep a selection of extras on hand. This allows you to switch up your decor whenever inspiration strikes or when you want a change of scenery.


In conclusion, selecting the right decorative pillows and throw pillow covers for your couch is a creative and personalized process. By considering your style, size, color, and texture preferences, you can effortlessly elevate the aesthetics of your living space while also enjoying the convenience of easy updates and seasonal changes.


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