Living Space: The right throw pillows can make your room design shine

By Kathryn Weber
Oct. 24, 2013 at 5:24 a.m.

Just the right throw pillows can make a room.

Just the right throw pillows can make a room.

You notice it as soon as you walk in a room - that amazing throw pillow that seems to pull together the whole design of a showroom, that splendid garden room you saw on the local home tour, or your neighbor's screened porch. Simple throw pillows can make a difference in whether a room works or not. Of course, they need to do more than look good; pillows must be comfortable, too.

The basics

As accent pieces, throw pillows are a great way to change your decor easily and inexpensively. As seasons change, throw pillows can create a new look in a room and reflect the changing season.

But throw pillows are more than just adornments; they often serve a purpose. Large throw pillows, like European squares, are great for sitting up in bed to read, watching TV or simply leaning against on the floor in the family room. Small pillows can make deep sofas and chairs more comfortable to sit on or for a snooze on.

If you use throw pillows frequently, look for ones that are both comfortable, stylish and durable.

Shape, size

When the only concern is appearance, your throw pillow options are endless. As for size, the standard on throw pillows for sofas is 18 inches. Larger example, 24 inches and up, are more casual and can be tossed in a basket for easy grabbing in the family room.

Shapes matter, too. Rectangular shapes look sophisticated and are especially nice for deep seating, propped at the small of the back for extra comfort. Mixing sizes and shapes adds visual interest and style.

When it comes to design, sticking with solid colors for large pillows and patterns on smaller ones will keep your collection from becoming too busy or distracting. Solids are also good choices when a sofa or bed covering is busy and choose patterned pillows for solid sofas and coverlets.

By the numbers

A key rule of thumb for decorating is to use odd numbers for contemporary styles and even numbers for traditional styles. On a sofa, though, a nice mix is four pillows with a rectangle in the center.

On a bed, go for a variety of sizes, such as European square, standard bed pillow in a sham, standard bed pillows and a nice long bolster or two small rectangles.

Can you have too many pillows? When making the bed becomes a chore or people start plucking pillows off the sofa when they want to sit down, your inventory is over the top.

Comfort counts

Because throw pillows are typically used for comfort, the right filling and fabric texture can make the difference between a pillow that's used and one that's tossed aside.

In the bedroom, varying textures is a great way to add comfort and interest. From nubby chenille to soft wool or mohair, fabrics that are distinctive look stylish and feel terrific.

Quality feather pillows are wonderful options but pricey. Foam offers more support and lasts longer. Choose the fill for the feel you prefer.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website,



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