Throw Pillows

8 Different Ways To Throw a Throw Pillow

While my 11-year-old son likes to take our throw pillows and launch them into various receptacles around the house basketball style, I prefer they stay out of the clothes basket, hockey bin, and (Ewwww) the trash can! That said, I’m sometimes puzzled as to where and how to style my throw pillows. It’s a funny problem to have, no? A true first-world problem. But I’m going to tackle it anyway.


Throw pillows come in many different sizes. I suggest not going for anything under 16 x 16. Always err on the side of too big—two puny 12 x 12 pillows on a sofa look sort of sad. I like to have two 16 x 16 pillows on my sofa. If you want to throw one more pillow onto the couch, consider a rectangle placed right in the middle, but make sure it’s not too stiff – a nice soft goose-down fill is usually your best bet with one of these!

Throw pillows work great on beds too. There used to be a trend of covering a bed in almost a dozen different-sized throw pillows. All of which undoubtedly ended up on the floor or who knows where when it was time to climb into that over-pillowed bed. Keep your throw pillows manageable. You only need two 16 x 16 (or 20 x 20) on anything larger than a twin bed and perhaps one lumbar pillow in the middle.


I rarely purchase actual throw pillows. I have a pretty large assortment of throw pillow forms that I’ve accumulated over the years. Some are even pillows my daughter had in her bedroom years before. I make and buy pillow covers for the throw pillow forms. Down fill is nice but does need to be fluffed up frequently. Polyfill will keep its shape but can sometimes feel bouncy and uncomfortable. Go for a mix of both.

The Look

Throw pillows are a less risky way of changing the look and feel of a room. The appearance you don’t want to go for, especially in a cozy old farmhouse, is that overly decorated, overly matching, and overly pillowed one. Stiff, over poly-filled pillows perched precariously together on a couch or bed (while great for tossing basketball-style into trash cans) are rarely comfortable and often deter rather than invite someone to sit down with them.

As far as color and pattern, try to stick with a similar color palette rather than a random array, especially if you’re mixing patterns. A couple of pillows with matching prints and then one that complements looks best.

Where to Throw

They’re called throw pillows for a reason – you can toss or throw them wherever it suits you! While the sofa is a natural destination, as are beds, what are some other good spots? I like to place down-filled pillows on the back of chairs to give the sitter a little more softness to curl into. Poly-filled pillows can act as seat cushions and also work great on a hard bench. I even put a couple on the floor to offer a softer place to sit when we’re playing a board game or when all the other seating options in the room are somehow full.

In the spring, I cover a few of my pillow forms with outdoor/weatherproof fabric and use them in place of cushions on Adirondack chairs and wicker furniture outside. I even have a couple in the car that the kids use to rest their heads on when we have a long drive (which is common living in the mountains and often having to drive many miles to get to where we’re going).

Types of Fabric to Steer Clear Of

I’ve never understood why someone would make a pillow cover out of sequins, coarse fabric, or with strange beads and baubles attached to the material. Steer clear of these types of throw pillows! Throw pillows should be as soft and comfortable to sit against as an actual blanket. Go for cotton, linen, and even wool or leather. A fantastic option is a knitted pillow cover that can feel as warm as a blanket. I also love the look and feel of fur and faux fur pillows. If you really want to use a sequined, beaded, or otherwise bristly or scratchy pillow, consider placing it where no one will sit (I don’t have a place like this in my house, but maybe you do) – possibly on a bench that is just there for “looks.”

If you have any great tips for decorating with throw pillows, please share them with us in the comments below!

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