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How to Style Throw Pillows

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

A new season is upon us! And you know what that means?? New throw pillows!

If you’ve been following us for a while, then you know the homes we’ve staged in Cincinnati and you know about our love of a good throw pillow. As home stagers, we’ve decor consulted, rearranged clients’ existing furniture, and even hulled in our own inventory. But one decor item that we're sure to always include in every home staging job we do are throw pillows. It’s one of the easiest ways to add an instant pop of personality to a bedroom or living room.

Polishing off your space with throw pillows gives you the ultimate design versatility. But there are four important points to consider when selecting the perfect pillow set: size, color and pattern, texture, and shape. In this blog we’re going to highlight how to style throw pillows in the bedroom and living room.

Throw Pillows for the Bedroom

an image of a well-designed staged bedroom by Nest Home Staging and Design showcasing how to style pillows
photo from a Nest stage job in Mariemont

Let’s start with the pillow layering basics. A general design rule of thumb is to place the largest throw pillows in the back and then go down in size with each additional layer you add on. To start you want your biggest layer of throw pillows to fill out the back of your bed (to the width of the headboard). On a king size bed, three pillows in front of the sleeping pillows will do the trick. A standard size that gets the job done is 24 x 24 inch.

Design Tip: Size of the pillow can vary widely depending the headboard and the size of the bed. You never want your throw pillows to be higher than the headboard.

master bedroom styled by Nest Home Staging and Design
photo from a design styling client job

Now for the next row. Add two smaller pillows about 20 x 20 inch in size for the next layer. If you’re feeling adventurous, go for a third full row of throw pillows over one small decorative pillow. These can be 16 x 16 inch or smaller. If you go the decorative pillow route consider an unusual shape like a rectangle, round or cylindrical to add visual interest.

Symmetry is well suited for the bedroom. It’s meant to be a place of rest and relaxation so you want to keep the decor calm and balanced. We like to alternate throw pillow rows of color and pattern with texture (like in the main picture in this section). If you want your space to be grounded keep your largest row of pillows neutral and let the smaller, decorative pillows be more boldly patterned or colored. This way you still get a stylish, yet uniform look.

Design Tip: Feel like jazzing up the bedroom decor? Don’t be afraid to buy a throw pillow in a color or a pattern outside of the bedding set. As long as you can pull in the color through the room with other decor items you’ll still have a well styled space.

Your Guide to Sofa Styling

high-end living room with modern contemporary decor staged by Nest Home Staging and Design
photo from a Nest stage job in Walnut Hills

When staging a home, one of our favorite things to do in the living room is mix and match patterns and textures for a more personalized look. Decor styling isn’t about cookie-cutter design, it’s about creating intrigue to keep the eye engaged. And throw pillows on a sofa create the perfect design vignette of other decor elements in the room like color and texture.

Neutral sofas are in right now, and that presents the perfect opportunity to experiment with vibrantly colored and boldly patterned throw pillows without making a significant design commitment.

Some things to consider when selecting throw pillows for the living room:

  1. Scale is extremely important when mixing color and pattern. We encourage you to play with proportion and shape. If you include three different pillows, then think to include three different print scales. Your largest pillow should have the largest print, your medium pillow should have a medium print, and so on. Why? Otherwise you’re patterns and colors will begin competing for the eye’s attention rather than compliment one another.

  2. Room use is a factor for pillow fabrics and filling type. Fine fabrics such as silks and faux furs (like the pillows in the main image) won’t do well in high traffic areas, and are better suited for sitting rooms or areas that don’t get as much use from family or furry friends. For those living rooms that do get a lot of activity, down pillows provide the most comfort. Synthetic fillings will hold their shape better, but aren’t nearly as comfortable.

  3. Texture provides a great visual interest as a monochromatic alternative. If you want to stay with a more monochromatic scheme, mix up textures and shapes to add instant chic style without drawing attention away from other design elements in the room.

Here are some highlights of well styled sofas from past home staging jobs and design styling clients.

Design Tip: Well, more of a cleaning tip. When purchasing throw pillows look to see if the cover is removable. You’ll notice a zipper at the seem or buttons up the back. Not only will this save you if something gets spilled (which it will with a house full of kids), but it’s a budget-friendly way to switch things up season to season.

Decor Styling Consultation

Have you recently moved or need to freshen up your space? While we’re still accepting home staging clients for the fall, we also offer home decor styling services. We'll work with your existing pieces and source decor to create a beautifully styled space!

Thanks for reading!

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