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How To Style Couch Pillows

| Team Tumble

It may sound easy, but styling couch pillows as part of your DIY home decor makeover can be a tricky task. For starters, there are a variety of pillows that can make their home on a couch, including lumbar pillows, throw pillows, and variations which all come in different sizes. Across those pillow types are a myriad of pattern and texture variations that can create a diverse, yet cohesive, interior design aesthetic. 

If you’re curious about how to style couch pillows within the broader context of your living room design concept, this guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of how to build not only a cohesive design for your living room but how to elevate that design through couch pillows. A little can go a long way when it comes to design, and couch pillows are the perfect way to unite your living room through pops of color and texture. 

What Number of Pillows Should Be on a Couch?

While there isn’t a magic number, it’s generally understood that odd numbers work best when

arranging pillows on your couch. Start by placing an odd number of pillows with your neutral pillows on the outer corners, and begin working your way in.  

Incorporate the varying pillows atop your neutral pillows that provide an aesthetic grounding point. Try not to overpower the couch with too many pillows, however, as you want to maintain a commitment to providing comfortable seating opportunities that look sleek and inviting. 

What Colors Work Best for Couch Pillows?

When deciding which solid colors or patterns work best for your couch, the first question you want to ask yourself is whether you want to introduce new colors into your interior design or maintain your color palette. With neutral pillows, you’re likely going to be working with the existing colorway of the living room and couch, but with accent and throw pillows you can bring in pops of color. 

If you have a new couch that is a different color than your existing living room color palette, then pillows that connect the colors to your living room would be helpful. 

Which Is the Right Pillow for Me? A Few Simple Tips

With so many different kinds of pillows to choose from, it’s important to know what kinds you’re working with so you can build a cohesive design across your living room. Whether you’re working with a smaller loveseat, a daybed, or a sectional sofa, here are some design tips when selecting which pillows to place on your couch. 

Neutral Pillows

Whether you’re selecting pillows, wall colors, textile colors, or a new design aesthetic, you always want to start with a base. Without a strong foundation, your interior design won’t have much to lean on, so it’s important that you begin with the basics. Neutral pillows are generally the most consistent size pillows on your couch, being larger than lumbar pillows and sometimes smaller than an accent pillow. 

Selecting neutral pillows that not only connect the pillows to the couch but incorporate the color palette on the couch to the entirety of the living room is critical. Choose different tones and variations on your central color to build depth into your neutral pillows while still retaining a consistent theme. 

Lumbar Pillows

These pillows are smaller than your neutral and accent pillows and are generally a more dense consistency. Lumbar pillows are designed to support the lower back when seating, but aesthetically they provide a really nice horizontal accent to the more square or larger pillows that may already be on the couch. 

Oftentimes, lumbar pillows take on a more decorative form and can be the perfect way to introduce a pop of color, a fringed pattern, or a vibrant design to an otherwise neutral couch. Additionally, lumbar pillows can connect through pattern and color to other design elements in the room, like the wallpaper or living room rug

If you are committed to keeping things more neutral, then add accents through texture and pattern. You can build depth across neutral tones like white, gray, beige, and tan through a variety of textures including fur, fringe, stripe, or plaid. Another way to add consistency across your room design is to match pillows with existing designs in the room, like this vintage textured rug from Tumble

Styling Throw Pillows and Accent Pillows

Once you’ve established your color scheme for your family room through your neutral pillows, and added some variation with your lumbar pillows, you can add more by incorporating accents and decorative throw pillows. These are primarily decorative elements, and can really cinch a couch design with just one or two added elements. 

While lumbar pillows are accents, especially if you’re incorporating them as a new color or texture, an accent pillow’s primary function is to provide an accent to the existing pillows. As such, consider what color might really pop against your neutral tones. Can you find a color existing in some of your wall hangings, artwork, or rugs that might provide a jumping-off point to introduce some color?

If you’re not interested in accenting with bold color combos, consider what textures and patterns might be incorporated to introduce variation. Mixing patterns by weaving in chic animal prints, faux fur pillows, leather pillows, fringed moments, or beaded pillows is a successful way to introduce accents without bringing in more color. 

The Bottom Line 

With so many decorating ideas to choose from, it may feel like a daunting task to decide how to style your couch pillows. With some inspiration and intention-setting around your living room design and color palette, you can skillfully style couch pillows. 

With your interior design running from rug to ceiling, couch pillows provide the connective threads across the colors and textures of your living room. Select varying pillow sizes and pillow patterns, find places to add pops of color, and connect your pillows not only with your couch, but with other elements of your living room such as artwork, coffee table, and rug to create visual interest. Styling couch pillows is more than just selecting pillows to go atop a couch, it’s about cinching an aesthetic effortlessly through color and form. 


How to Choose the Perfect Throw Pillow | The Spruce

Home Decor 101: How to Choose and Style Sofa Pillows | The Turquoise Home 

How to Create a Neutral Color Scheme | The Spruce

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