What’s the secret to a comfortable, cozy AND beautiful sofa? Pillows! Every designer loves pillows (what’s not to love?) but the art of mixing and matching sizes, colors and patterns can be a challenge. Here’s some advice on how to select the perfect pillows.
One of the simple ways to spruce up your living room is to change out the throw pillows. Since the seasons are changing and winter is coming, it’s time to swap out your light, airy summer look for a warm, cozy and comfortable winter feel. With a neutral sofa as your background, you can create a myriad of looks with different pillows and blankets 1. Its just that easy!
There are two important things to consider when buying/styling throw pillows:
- Size of the sofa/chair – it dictates size of the pillows.
- Number of pillows –we love odd numbers; its visually more interesting!
As a general rule of thumb, start with the largest pillow at the back of the sofa and build on it with smaller pillows. Typically, 2” size increments work best for layering pillows (for example, start with a 20” square and move your way in with an 18” pillow).2
Standard sofas measure between 72-89 inches wide 3. For standard sofas, the best pillow sizes are 22” and 20” squares. Start with a 22” pillow on both ends of the sofa and move toward the center. Next, select a 20” square pillow and so on. Lumbar pillows between 11-14” high and 19-22” long are best suited for standard size sofas. To achieve a comfortable and cozy look, you can layer the pillows in a few ways:
► Option 1: Use a 22” square pillow on each side/end of the sofa and a 20” square pillow in the front of each 22” pillow. Try a lumbar pillow in the center or on in front of the two pillows on one of the sides. Total of 5 pillows.
► Option 2: Mix it up a little – select five pillows of varying pattern, color, size and shape, arrange them on both ends/sides of the sofa, one in a group of two and one in a group of three. This will create more of a natural or Bohemian look. Total of 5 pillows.
For a standard sized sofa, a total of 5 pillows should be sufficient to create a full/cozy look. You can opt for more pillows if you are going for a maximalist style. Or, just use pillows for a minimalist look.
Smaller Sofas & Loveseats
Smaller sofas/ loveseats measure less than 72 inches wide. For smaller sofas or loveseats, the best pillow sizes are 20” square and 18” square. The best lumbar pillow sizes are 10-13” high and 17-18” long. Since it’s a smaller sofa, one or two layers of pillows is the best choice. And, a 3-5 pillow combination would be best. These pillows can be arranged in the following ways:
► Option 1: Select 20” square pillows, one on each side/end of the sofa, with a lumbar in the center or off to one side (as shown in the image below). Total of 3 pillows.
► Option 2: Try 20” square pillows, one on each side/end of the sofa with an 18” square pillow in front of the 20” square pillow, on one side only. Total of 3 pillows.
Longer/deeper sofas are deeper than 26” or greater and sofas that measure over 90” long. Deeper sofas are great for bigger pillows. The best pillow sizes for deeper or longer sofas are between 20” – 24” square. The best lumbar pillows to pair with these are between 13”-15” high and 20”-22” wide. Deeper sofas can take up to 3-4 layers of pillows, depending on your taste and style.
Start with 24” square pillows and move toward the center of the sofa with smaller pillows. With up to 3-4 pillow layers, the combinations are endless. Some of the tried and tested layering options are as follows:
► Option 1: If you’d like to keep it simple, select one 24” square pillow on each side/end of the sofa, a 22” square pillow in front of each 24” pillow and one lumbar pillow in the center, or on one of the ends (as shown in the image below). Total of 5 pillows.
► Option 2: Select one 24” square pillow on each side/end, a 22” in front of each 24” pillow and one 20” pillow in front, on just one side/end. Total of 5 pillows.
► Option 3: A four-layer pillow option, select a 24” square pillow for each end/side of the sofa, place a 22” square pillow in front of each 24” and a 20” pillow in front of each 24”. Then, select a lumbar for one or both ends of the sofa, depending on how deep the sofa is. Total of 7-8 pillows.
Styling a sectional is very similar to styling other sofa types. The only addition would be the corner/ middle section, which would require additional pillows. Select a 22” square pillow for both sides/ends with a 20” in front of each. In the middle section, try one 22” square pillow, one 20” square pillow and one lumbar pillow (as shown in the image to the right).
Low Back Sofas
If you have a sofa with a lower back, we recommend going one size smaller for each pillow option. When in doubt, a 20” pillow is universally pleasant and flattering for most sofa sizes and heights.
For a side chair, a single lumbar pillow or a single 18”-20” pillow works best. Just note the width and height of your chair so the pillow will fit properly (as shown in the image below). Consider buying an additional lumbar pillow or 18”-20” pillow when selecting them for your sofa in order to tie all the elements together. Adding a throw blanket on the arm, is a great addition. This is true for all sofas, regardless of size, as well.
For help selecting pillows and accessories, contact Talie Jane Interiors at 1-855-TALIEJANE (855.825.4352).
Article by Akshaya Sivasankar for Talie Jane Interiors