Creme sectional with black and white pillows

Pillow Prep: How To Expertly Style Your Sofa

Are you struggling to find the right pillow arrangement for your sofa? Couch pillows can be tricky, but once you find the right combination it’s actually quite glorious. The right arrangement can truly elevate your room from dull to designer. Great, but I hear you, it’s still hard!

That’s why I’m going to break down a simple guide to expertly selecting & styling the right pillows for your sofa. I’ll cover all you need to know about the key elements, proper sizing, and how to style them for your couch. Sound good to you? Great, let’s get started.


Key Pillow Elements

Light blue, white, and twine accents on pillows on a white couch

The first thing you need to do when looking to style your couch with some new pillows is obviously to find the right pillows. Sounds simple enough, but there are actually a few key elements to consider when shopping for pillows. The right pillow combination will contain the following:

  • Cohesive color palette
  • Various shapes and sizes
  • Mix of textures
  • Patterns of different scales
  • Balance of colors & pillows

I’ll cover each of these in-depth to help you better understand how to utilize them for your couch.

Finding A Cohesive Color Palette

Two white sofas opposite each other with different patterned blue, white, and green pillows.

I think I mention this for decorating almost anything, but it’s absolutely fundamental in cultivating a designer look. To help you identify the right throw pillows for your sofa, make sure you first identify the color palette of the room. What color compliments your sofa? To help you with identifying a color palette, check out my guide to trendy, yet classic color palettes.

If you already have a rug in your home, perhaps pull some colors from there. Starting fresh? Identify two to three core colors you would like in that space and find pillows in those colors. If you feel restricted with only a couple of colors, open your mind to different hues of that one color that blend well together. If you’re still feeling underwhelmed, wait until we get into textures and patterns.

Textures & Patterns

Green, white, and blue pillows with various patterns and textures on a white sofa

The key to making your couch look like you snagged it straight out of a designer magazine is to bring in various textures through your pillows. This helps to add a more subtle aspect of visual intrigue while adding depth and dimension to the room. This way, even if you only have one color, or maybe even just two, you can bring in variation without overpowering the eye. The best part is, that textures don’t really have rules or limits so you can mix and match them however you want.

Patterns are a little bit more tricky because they have to have different scales in order to not compete with one another. If you have two different patterns, let’s say polka dots and florals, one must be smaller than the other. If both the polka dot and the flower are the same sizes, the patterns create a chaotic visual as they both are competing rather than complimenting. Instead, find a subtle polka dot print and mix it with a big, bold floral one to create a better balance.

Color Balance

Black, white, and grey pillows strewn over a grey sofa

As I said, you should pick two to three different colors for your pillows but there will be plenty of variation within that. As such, you need to make sure to keep the balance of those colors on your sofa. I tend to break it down into light and dark. For every predominately dark pillow, there should be a lighter one next to it to keep the balance.

Want to go even further into this? Make sure your identical pillows are on opposite sides to help balance the colors. Then distribute your other colors across the sofa. Even if you have a green pillow with white stripes and a green pillow, it’s best to put them on opposite sides if your other side has all blue pillows. Blending your colors will provide you with that visual intrigue that screams “designer.”

Shapes & Sizes

Square grey pillows with a medium length white and black pillow in the middle of a grey couch

How boring would it be if all of your pillows were the same size? It wouldn’t be any fun at all. Adding in different shapes and sizes allow you to layer and create a fun visual. Even if you keep it simple with two square pillows on either side, having one large and one smaller one allows for a beautiful layered look that creates somewhat of a triangle to your eye.

Layering sizes and shapes can be more complicated with lumbar, round, and square pillows but there are a few key pillow layouts to use on your couches. I’ve listed a few for standard sofas below:

Black lumbar pillow in the middle of two red and black pillows on a white couch
  • 22″ & 18″ square pillows on each side
  • 22″ & 18″ square pillows on each side with a 12″x24″ lumbar pillow in the middle
  • 22″ & 20″ pillows on each side with an 18″ pillow in the middle for a full look
  • 22″, 20″, & 18″ pillow on each side
  • 24″ on each side with a 14×20 lumbar in the middle

These are purely guidelines and you are allowed whatever creative freedom you would like to organize your sofa. The idea is to create visual balance on each side. If you do have one less pillow on either side. Try adding a throw blanket to the side with one less for more balance. Sectionals will be a little different with pillows, but we can cover that another day!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top