For some, throw pillows can be seen as an afterthought but believe it or not, they can make a big difference within a space. Whether you're looking for a throw pillow to add to your design or just to add some more functionality to your space, I want to help break down the basics such as sizes, shapes, colors and more when shopping for throw pillows.
Sizes, shapes, colors, designs and more
The easiest place to start when searching for your throw pillows is by the size you need. This will then tell you the colors, designs and fabrics offered. The standard sizes for your typical couch pillows would be 16" X 16", 18" X 18" and 20" X 20". If you have a much larger sofa (one with a higher back/deep seats) then you may want to try 22" X 22" or 24" X 24".
If you're looking for a change but your pillows are still in relatively good conditions, try replacing your pillow coverings. It's sometimes cheaper than having to buy a new pillow insert and covering.
If you need to measure your pillow coverings, measure them while the cover is off of the pillow and laying flat on a surface and measure the width and length. Take the measurements along the seams from corner to corner and almost always round to the nearest whole inch if needed.
If your pillow coverings don't come off but you want a new covering, pull the top two corners as tight as you can next to the tape measure to create as straight as a line as you can. If you can't get a complete straight line you could add a half an inch if needed.
A shape that isn't boring and doesn't go out of style would be your basic square. They are a reliable go-to style that's simple and easy but can be turned into a focal point.
Another would be a lumbar pillow (typical size 14" X 22" but can be bigger). That's the long and skinny, rectangular pillow that usually goes in the middle of a couch or on a chair, think of these as your centerpiece. And yes, it does offer some support for the lower back area if you need it.
Another is bolster pillow (typically 20" wide and 7" diameter). They are similar to a lumbar pillow but these ones are a cylindrical shape vs a rectangle. Because of the shape these can be seen as more formal with the traditional structure. They can be put on a chair for a solo moment but most of the time they are placed as a centerpiece for a bed.
Then of course we have the fun shaped pillows or what I like the call the wild cards! These are the pillows that are just a fun piece to have, such as a stars, circles, diamonds, hexagons, flowers, etc. I see these pillows as having fun whether it's the shape or color. If you want star pillows as your centerpiece on your couch then I say go for it!
Colors and Designs
Look around your space. What color(s) speaks to you? If you still aren't sure, look at the artwork within the space, pick a color(s) you want represented in the space. Or if you've had one color for x-amount of years, maybe it's time to switch it up! Throw pillows are a great way to bring in color without having to go crazy. To accomplish a cohesive look I recommend having a tier set up with your pillows.
Typically, we do 4 square pillows (2 on either side of the couch) and 1 lumbar pillow in the middle (sometimes, but not always, depending on the shape of the couch), but you can do whatever you'd like. For the 4 square pillows, 2 of the pillows will be your base color, this is usually colors that fall into neutrals, grays, tans, etc. You can figure this out by either basing it off of your couch, wall color, floors, etc.
For the other 2 pillows these are typically the design pieces. These are the ones that you want to bring the new color/texture/design into the space. I recommend that 2 of the pillows have some kind of design to it. This helps add a fun element into the room and a great eye catcher. For the lumbar pillow, remember this is seen as a centerpiece, I like to get a mixture of the 4 pillow colors within this pillow if possible.
Fabric is a personal matter. I recommend going to a store and physically touching pillows if you can because something may irritate your skin. Some basic fabrics are:
Cotton: Durable, easy to wash and casual. Ideal for homes with kids or pets.
Velvet: Good for adding warmth to a space.
fur/faux fur: Can be seen as a luxury piece to some and used as an accent. However, not always the most durable and often needs to be dry-cleaned only.
Linen: Similar to cotton, low maintenance, and lightweight. (Cousin fabric, jute).
Wool: Can either be from cable-knit to needlepoint this fabric adds a wintry warm look and feel.
Where to Buy Pillows?
Pillows can get expensive so I recommend shopping around. You can buy pillows almost anywhere now a days, such as: Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Goods, Hobby Lobby, West Elm, CB2, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Serena & Lily, Anthropologie, Wayfair, Etsy, Amazon... The list goes on and on! (also, don't forget to look within your local area)
I hope these tips helped break down the basic knowledge of pillows as you search for your new designs, shapes, colors and more within your space, whether brand new or doing a quick refresh.
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