Four Rules to Follow When Choosing Sofa Pillows

With as many options that are out there with selecting throw pillows, the process can be a tad overwhelming. We decided if we can get anxious when selecting fabrics to create our pillow covers, you must get just as anxious trying to figure out which ones to purchase.

We figured why not create a guide that you can use as a rule book when buying your next set of throw pillows as the season or trends change? We don’t want to totally dictate what your style should be, so we have narrowed it down to four rules to follow when choosing your couch or sofa pillows.

Woman thinking of paint chips with One theme, one scheme in black text. Decurban blog art for "Four Rules to follow when choosing sofa pillows"

Rule 1: One Theme, One Scheme

Rule number one is an unspoken rule, but to us it’s the most important. Figure out what color scheme you want to go with and stick to it. One theme, one scheme. If you need inspiration on a theme, we wrote an excellent blog piece breaking down the fundamentals of color schemes in our blog piece, “Understanding Color | The How to Select Finishes That Work Well Together Guide for Dudes or Non-Designers”. If you don’t understand how colors work together or what the proper nomenclature is, that piece is a great start. Once you understand the fundamentals of color schemes and select what your color scheme in your living space, game room, or den is you have to think of shapes of pillows. Which brings us to rule number two.


Symmetrical buildings with Keep It Symmetrical text centered. Decurban blog art for "Four Rules to follow when choosing sofa pillows"


Rule 2:  Keep it Symmetrical

Rule number two is keep your decorative pillows symmetrical. What you do on the left, do on the right. Otherwise it tends to look Hodge podge and mismatched. I get it, you want to be different, and I totally respect that. However, there’s a fine line between being different and being sloppy. Seriously, no one will respect you if your pillows are asymmetrical. I am kidding about everyone not respecting you but most people will never revisit your home or office and relax on your couch again if the whole time they are thinking, “what the eff were they thinking when they decided on this lame pillow assortment?” Which brings me to my third rule about pillow placement.


Descending boxes with pillows should descend in size going into center of sofa in black text. Decurban blog art for "Four Rules to follow when choosing sofa pillows"


Rule 3: It's descending order

Rule three, it’s descending order, symmetrically. The pillows get smaller as they go into the center. Guests tend to sit on the edges of the sofas therefore your largest pillows should start at the ends and gradually get smaller as they go into the center. Depending on if you have a three-seater sofa or a two-seater sofa we recommend a 20/20/16 for the three-seater and a 20/16 for the two-seater. Meaning if you have a three-seater sofa going left to right should be a 20” x 20”, 20” x 20”, and then a 16” x 16” for both sides. If it’s a two-seater do 20” x 20” and then a 16” x 16”.  Now you are wondering what type of pillows should be where, aren’t you? Great question. That brings me to my fourth and final rule.


1 large pattern, 1 small pattern, and 1 solid in black text. Decurban blog art for "Four Rules to follow when choosing sofa pillows"


Rule 4:  3 for 3 or 2 for 2

Rule four is the 3 for 3 / 2 for 2 rule. It isn’t hard to get carried away when selecting your decorative pillows to where you make it a complete disaster. When you are furnishing a three-seater sofa you want to follow the rule of 1 large pattern, 1 small pattern, and 1 solid. When it’s a two-seater you can select any of the two. I typically go with 1 large pattern and 1 solid. It tends to please the eye more than the small pattern. Let’s do a quick review to make sure we got this.


Select a theme and coordinate your scheme. Keep it symmetrical or no one will ever come over again. Size does matter. Largest pillows on the outside and they descend inward toward the middle and ascend back out again on the other side, symmetrically. The rule of three for three / two for two. One large pattern, one small patter, one solid. Your three-seater sofa should have a 3,2,1,1,2,3 pillow placement. When it does, your guests will totally want to come over for the tea on your sofa and couches every day.


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