If you’re new to the world of pillows, you might think all pillows are basically the same — a cover, some fluffy fill, and maybe a frill or two. But the truth is, there’s tons of variability to pillows, from fill (which ranges from utterly flat to delightfully overstuffed) to fabric (which runs the gamut from basic poly-blend to luxurious, hand-woven textiles. But before we get into the nitty gritty of fabric and fill, let’s cover a few pillow basics.
Bigger doesn’t always mean better
If you’re going for a dramatic look, you might gravitate toward a more imposing pillow — but a too-big piece can dwarf your furniture and overwhelm a room. Instead, style your pillows thoughtfully and pair them with a just-right piece of furniture.
- Standard sofa, nook, or bench: 22” pillows + one lumbar, or a 24” pillow for an oversize look
- Love seats: 20” or 22” pillows + 13”x22” lumbar
- Standard occasional chair: 20” pillows or a single lumbar
- Larger occasional chair: one 22” pillow
Mix, match, repeat
Whether you’re drawn to a simple canvas or a bold, multicolored look, there’s a method to mixing and matching pillows. As a rule of thumb, odd numbers of pillows make for an inviting, effortless arrangement. Start with 3 pillows for smaller sofas like loveseats, and 5 pillows for larger sectionals. An even number of pillows (like 2 or 4) can create a serene sense of symmetry for a more traditional look.
- Opt for smaller quantities of large pillows over a bunch of small pillows
- Style sofa corners with 2–3 pillows of varying sizes
- Create a complementary palette with a mix of textures and colors
- Make sure each pillow has one or two colors of the same hue to create a cohesive (but not matchy-matchy) look
- Unexpected colors and patterns add character—risks lead to the best looks!
When it comes to color schemes, keep in mind you can create uniformity (or variety!) with more than just hues. If you like a more monochrome style, group together neutral-colored pillows with varying textures to pique visual interest — or pair velvet or linen pillows with a cotton sofa cover. Dark loveseat? Start with a light colored pillow and go from there. Light sofa? Build your look with a darker pillow. And if you’re ever struggling to assemble a color scheme, draw inspiration from the tones and textures you already have in your room.
Still not sure where to start? Pick a pillow you love and let that be the focal point. We recommend starting with a 22”×22”, then layering a 24"×24" pillow behind it, and finishing the triptych with a lumbar.
Always (always) fluff your pillows
To keep pillows at peak plushness, learn to fluff like a master.
- To start, hit both sides of the pillow — first left and right, then top and bottom.
- Next, toss your pillow onto a flat surface and pat the front side until ideal fluffiness is achieved.
- Then tug on opposite corners for a clean, defined edge.
- Finally, prop your pillow on your furniture piece and gently karate chop its center for a sleek designer finish.
Keep zips hidden
This small step goes a long way to maintaining a polished pillow look. And the best part is, it’s easy to do! Just conceal the zipper-side of your pillows by nestling into couch folds or hiding behind smaller pillows. Voila! Pillow perfection.