The Easy Way to Choose Throw Pillows

You know what can be tough? Picking out throw pillows! On top of ALL the choices, they can be expensive. No pressure, right? There are so many combinations and ways to mix patterns it can be overwhelming to choose throw pillows.

And, who wouldn’t want perfectly coordinated throw pillows, like in this room designed by Mark D. Sikes? Don’t worry. Today, I’m sharing my tips for choosing throw pillows to help you nail it every single time.

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Mark D. Sikes living room
Mark D Sikes

First thing’s first. I buy most of my throw pillow covers on Etsy. I like that it’s easy to find pillows made from designer fabrics, and I don’t necessarily mind paying a little extra. With that being said, I know spending that much on a pillow isn’t always feasible. No worries—these tips will help you nail choosing throw pillows no matter what your budget.

Start with a Main Star

The first pillow you want to choose is going to be the main star. I suggest a chintz or Chinoiserie pattern. If your budget allows, I would splurge a little here. This pillow is going to set the color palette for the rest of your pillows. You’ll want two main star pillows—I like using 20”x20” pillows.

Althea fabric
Althea by Lee Jofa

Select Your Background Pillows

Next, choose one of the the dominant colors from your star pillows. In this example, I’m going to pick the blush pink. Green would also have been a safe choice. You’ll want to find two pillows (I prefer 22”x22”) in this color. You don’t want anything too busy. I would suggest plaid, stripes, or small block prints. You could also do a solid fabric with a nice trim. If you’re feeling stuck, Betwixt by Schumacher is a great fabric choice that comes in lots of colors. Just search for “Betwixt Pillow” on Etsy. For my example, I am going to use the Samarinda Ikat pattern from Scalamandre.

Pink ikat Schumacher fabric
Samarinda Ikat by Schumacher

Add Something Fun (Optional)

If you want to add another layer of personality to your pillows, this part is for you. You’ll want to add a lumbar or other small pillow in a third fabric. One wicked easy method is to use a tiger print pillow in chenille, silk, or velvet.

Scalamandre Lee Tigre fabric
Le Tigre by Scalamandre

Another method is to choose one of the accent colors from your main star. In my example, the dark pink is a good option. If doing this method, look for something bold like an ikat, a large scale print, or a cheeky needlepoint pillow. I like the Versailles pattern from Schumacher in Raspberry.

Schumacher Versailles fabric in raspberry
Versailles by Schumacher

Put It All Together

Now it’s time to arrange your pillows! Put your background pillows on the outside. Add your main stars in front of them. Finally, add your lumbar pillow to the middle.

Guide to choose throw pillows results

That wasn’t so bad, right? Following these steps makes it so much easier to choose throw pillows with confidence. Also, once you have a feel for mixing pillows, it’s easy to start to experiment a little more with combinations of both pillow sizes and fabrics.

Another Example

Ok. I promised this guide would work for different budgets. But, I used all designer fabrics in my example. Let’s look at a combination using non-designer pillows.

For a main star, I’m going to start with this pillow from Overstock.

Pink and green Jacobean pillow

For my background pillows, I am going to use green. I like these gingham pillows.

For my pop of color, I want to emphasize the teal. Pink would also have been a good choice.

Aqua teal ikat lumbar pillow

Now, to put these all together, we end up with this. Again, not so bad, right? I’m telling you—using these steps makes it so easy to choose throw pillows!

How to choose throw pillows

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