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How to Choose Throw Pillows for a Sofa Update

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Is your sofa in need of a style update but your budget is limited? One of the best ways to inject style into a space is through throw pillows. I have seen drab brown couches brought back to life through a few new pillows and today I'm sharing all my tips.

Use larger pillows

First things first, you need to consider the size of the pillows. If you're shopping at TJ Maxx then chances are you will only find 20" pillows. I'm actually a big fan of stores like TJ Maxx and HomeGoods but they have their limitations. The key for making your couch look expensive is sizing up. My rule of thumb is having a least two to three 24" pillows. This is especially key if you're wanting to update a brown couch that has a bland upholstery. Stores like Target have widened their assortment to include larger pillow sizes but you may have to search for "euro" pillows in order to find them online.

Down filled throw pillows

Have you bought pillows in the past that look stiff? The number one reason that designer pillow displays look more upscale is because they use a down fill. Now, if you see the prices on a down filled pillow versus a Target pillow there will be a noticeable difference. But if you're going for a plush, soft feel my favorite hack is to buy pillows with a zipper from Target and then using a filling from West Elm to replace the polyester. This should save you from full designer prices but will give a posh look.

Mix patterns

Pillow stories become more interesting when there is a mixture of patterns, colors and textures. Don't be afraid to pair that plaid with a stripe. Throw pillows also can take a space to the next level when the patterns pull in colors from different elements in the room. This is especially key if your couch is a color you don't particularly love. In the picture below, the large sage pillows pull colors from the rug and neutralize the brown couch. The middle pillow has stripes that coordinate with the brown tones yet the white makes it less overwhelming.

Pillow sets that work together

While the tips for choosing pillows can be helpful, I also thought I'd share some practical pillow pairings that could work in a variety of spaces. The chart below divides the pillows by style groupings and a variety of sizes. All the pillows in each row work together for a cohesive look. For a normal 86" couch, I'd recommend two 24" pillows, one or two medium pillows and one lumbar.

  1. Sage Pillow ($30) Target

  2. Linen Embroidered Pillow ($18) H&M

  3. Floral Lumbar Pillow ($22) Target

  4. Woven Striped Neutral Pillow ($30) Target

  5. Mohave Lines Pillow ($50) Crate & Barrel

  6. Rust Tribal Lumbar ($99) Burke Decor

  7. Bobble Weave Pillow ($50 for cover) West Elm

  8. Jemma Woven Plaid ($80) Crate & Barrel

  9. Pebble Cove Lumbar ($58 just for cover) Serena & Lily

Don't let an older couch stop you from updating your home. Invest in some pillows and you'll be shocked by the change!



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