Throw pillows add color, depth, visual interest and softness to a room. Before purchasing pillows, consider your lifestyle and family. If the pillows are being placed in a family room with young children, buy pillows in rugged, sturdy fabrics that can stand up to use. Denim, corduroy, or cotton/polyester blends, for example, would be good choices. If the pillows are for a more formal living room, velvet, silk and satin will do well.
Consider the room as a whole before shopping for pillows. How many do you need? What size and shape will work best with your furnishings? What colors should you look for? Do you want a modern look, or a more traditional look? These are a lot of questions for what are relatively small, inexpensive objects, but throw pillows can have a major impact on your room and deserve careful selection. You want to think of them as individual members of a group, so the pillow on the chair doesn't have to match the pillows on the sofa, but it needs to relate to them in some way to give the room a cohesive, polished look.
Size matters, at least when it comes to pillows. You should buy pillows that complement your furniture, neither too large nor too small. You should look for balance, so that the pillows don’t look skimpy nor do they overwhelm the furniture. With the exception of very formal, traditional rooms, an odd number of pillows works best - one for a chair and three or five for a sofa. A couple large square pillows, 18 to 24 inches on a side, with either one or three smaller pillows on a sofa looks better than a larger collection of smaller pillows.
Consider the fabrics you already have on your furniture and then look for pillows that contrast. Linen against silk, or shiny fabrics against fuzzy creates tactile contrast and adds warmth to the room.
If you want a modern look, then you already know that odd numbers of pillows work best. A few big pillows work better than a larger assortment of smaller pillows. Your color palette should be limited, fabrics should be smooth, and patterns should be geometric, if you like them. If you want a lot of color, then pull them from a piece of art in the room.
If traditional is more your style, then symmetry and balance appeal to you. Two or four large pillows on opposite ends of the sofa work well. One set can be large squares, while the second set can be smaller squares or circles. Consider buying pillows in silk or velvet, and add some contrasting fabrics for visual interest. The larger pillows can have a busy pattern and the smaller pillows can have a simpler print or a coordinating solid. The larger pillows can have big trim, if you like, helping them to pop, while smaller pillows should have very simple trim, if any.
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Throw pillows are just about the easiest accessory you can add to your home, and yet add so much to your decor. For relatively little expense, they can add visual appeal, warmth, color and interest to your entire house. They can even be switched out seasonally and stored, adding freshness to your decor with almost no effort. Give yourself permission to have fun with them.