How To Select Throw Pillows

Design Tips from Sarah Stacey

With the fall season starting this weekend, we can look forward to nesting, parties, and out-of-town guests. Fortunately, you can quickly and easily spruce up a space for both the expected and the unexpected.

One of my favorite ways to add color and pattern to a room is by adding throw pillows to sectionals and sofas. And with just a few basic rules you can pull together a successful throw pillow arrangement – with the right sizing and pattern mix. Here’s what I do for my clients:


Throw pillows should be large. If you have a sofa with a low back, the pillows should be about the same height. For example, if the back of the sofa (from the top of the seat cushion to the top of the back) is 16”, your largest pillow should be at least 16” x 16” or even 18” x 18”. If the back of the sofa is tall, like around 26”, a good size is 20” x 20” or 22” x 22”. They will be large but not overwhelming.


When making a throw pillow arrangement of varying sizes, a good rule of thumb is to go in increments of 2”. So if your larger pillows are 20×20, the next size down should be 18×18.


The fabric in your pillow assortment should have a similar color palette, undertone, or a common color to tie them in to each other. The secret to coordinating fabrics is to always choose pattern combinations that vary in scale and in white space.


I pulled a mix of traditional and bohemian style throw pillows from Loft Home. Try your hand in the fully-interactive magazine app for iPhone and iPad. Mix and match patterns and find a combination you like best, then see which combination I chose at the end of the article. Download Citygram Austin in the App Store by clicking here.

This article originally published in The Compose Issue of Citygram Austin Magazine [September 2013].
Download the FREE mobile issue designed specifically for your iPhone or iPad in the App Store today.

sarah-stacey-citygram-austinSarah Stacey

Interior Design Columnist
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Sarah Stacey is the lead designer at Sarah Stacey Interior Design — a design firm with a clean, playful, contemporary aesthetic that creates fun spaces for every member of the family.

Sarah has a true knack for craft – with an ability to incorporate unique, handmade elements into her designs.

Find more of her work at Sarah Stacey Design

Photography: Chris Perez