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Decorative pillows: The definitive guide to choose them.

The Gretest

Posted on May 11 2018

Decorative Pillows

How to choose the best decorative pillows

Decorative pillows are a simple way to add a splash of color and interest to a room, but knowing what color pillows to choose for your couch isn’t always obvious. When you get it right though, a well-placed decorative pillow can really transform a room from hum-drum every-day to interior design bliss!

We take a look at which color decorative pillows work best to complement various types and shades of couches: 

What color decorative pillows for leather sofas?

The smooth patina of a leather couch works beautifully with accent pillows. Bright, bold colors pop against a black leather couch, or monochrome pillows create a stylish bachelor-pad-esque feel to your living space. 

Brown leather couches are really lifted with yellow or green throw pillows. This yellow Moroccan pillow would work beautifully with a dark brown leather sofa. 

decorative pillows by The Gretest

The best decorative pillows to use to complement a grey couch

The beauty of a grey couch is that you can pair pretty much any color throw cushion with it to make it look amazing. Muted, neutral tones will give you a more classic feel. Experiment with detailed patterns or different textures to avoid leaving your couch looking bland and jaded. 

Alternatively, go bold with vibrant yellows and oranges to create a more on-trend, modern vibe. This white and yellow geometric pillow would work fantastically with a grey couch to give a room a pop of stylish color. 

decorative pillows by The Gretest

What decorative pillows look best with beige or cream couches?

White or beige pillows that are a few shades lighter or darker than your couch create a real air of sophistication and spaciousness in your room.

To make a cream or beige couch feel more cosy and homely, try using warmer shades of red or orange, like this red and black decorative pillow

The best decorative pillows for red couches

Shades of blue work beautifully with red couches. Try combining navy pillows, with a lighter pattern like this blue Moroccan pillow.

Black and grey throw pillows can work with a red couch to create a sleek, modern look that is perpetually stylish. Try this cool monochrome zig-zag pillow.

decorative pillows by The Gretest

How do you choose decorative pillows for patterned couches?

This one’s a tough-y and the right decorative pillow can vary so much depending on the detail, type and color of the pattern on your couch.

Patterned couches can often be the hardest to work with when choosing pillows. Try picking out an accent color from the couch’s pallet to focus on. Alternatively, contrasting patterns can work really well – just be sure to be obvious and use bold patterns. Our color blocking throw pillows are a great way to make a statement on a patterned couch, without making your couch look too busy.

decorative pillows by The Gretest

How many decorative pillows should be on a couch?

how many throw pillows should be on a couch

May well be the first decor question ever asked on the planet. Right back to when Eve was nesting and making her exclusive Garden of Eden home chic with the perfect couch, and then realised she had no idea how many pillows should go onto her couch. 

OK, that might be a little far fetched, but people have been asking the question for such a long time! Too few decorative pillows and the couch looks kind of bare, too many and where do people sit?  

Let's take a look at some key questions to help us find out exactly how many throw pillows should be on a couch: 

How Big Are The Pillows?

The size of the decorative pillows you use should directly relate to how big the couch is. An average size pillow (about 16 x 18 inches) will work on a standard large couch whereas little pillows would not work on a large couch. Super-size designer pillows will only really work on equally super-size furniture and will smother anything smaller.  

What's In The Throw Pillow?

If you intend to actually lean on the throw pillow, then it should be filled with something heavy and sturdy, whereas if you intend to remove it from the couch or have it just for show, it can be made of a lighter and cheaper filling like polyester.

What Shape Are The Pillows?

If you need the decorative pillow to support being leant on, then you want a traditional square pillow, whereas if you want something to soften up the look of the couch then a round throw pillow could work better. In some instances a combination of shapes works really well.  

What Patterns & Colors Are You Using?

This is very individual to the person but may well affect how many decorative pillows you have. For example, two matching pillows on a sofa could work in block color, but ideally you would have two different throw pillows for better visual impact. If you have four decorative pillows you would want two block and two patterned. If you have two couches and a chair, then you will need to have an entire theme of pillows for the whole set. For example, The Gretest have several Scandinavian design pillows with similar colors, so you could incorporate these with plain color pillows across an entire couch set. Check out our blog post about what color throw pillows to choose for your couch for more ideas.

Now we have looked at the patterns, colors, shapes, filling and size of the pillows we can look at how many throw pillows should be on a couch...

So How Many Decorative Pillows Should Be On A Couch?

The oldest rule is to have an odd number to make the best visual impact, however, you can go for symmetrical pillows if you want to. Do try to have one patterned one plain, or if you have four, have them alternating pattern and plain. For example: if you have one of The Gretest Leafs on Bold colors pillows, you might want to alternate it with a plain yellow throw pillow or a plain white throw pillow.

In terms of practicality, you shouldn't have to take decorative pillows off the couch to sit down. Ideally, you should be able to sit comfortably with the pillows remaining on the couch. A large couch can host about five pillows, a two seater couch looks good with three pillows or two slightly larger pillows, whilst a love seat works with one large pillow, or possibly two small ones.

All of this advice aside, don't forget that it is your choice, and only you know how you would like your sofa to look, and function. At the end of the day if you get it wrong, you can always change them, add more or move them around, that's the beauty of throw pillows!

do throw pillows have to match

Do decorative pillows have to match? Let's keep the short answer to this short:

No! Definitely not!

Decorative pillows definitely do not have to match, for the one simple rule that your house is your house, and your couch is your couch, and if you want mismatched pillows that's your choice, your style, your vibe!

Let's back this up, with some super cool suggestions and examples of mismatched throw pillows to inspire your home decor: 

Accent Pillows

Accent pillows have a visual role to play in your home. They work to draw out the accent colors in your artwork, wallpaper, soft furnishings and anything else in your room that you would love to bring out using some effective cushion choices. For example, if you have some art with yellow in it, or perhaps some beautiful canary yellow ornaments, one or two of these Scandinavian style pillows on your sofa along with your matching ones, will really show them off.

decorative pillows by The Gretest

Textured Pillows

If you're a bit of a stickler for matching colored decorative pillows but want to rebel in another way, why not mix up the texture instead? Chunky knitted everything is in this season, as is velvet, so you could really mix up your cushions with how they feel.  

Mix Couches Not Decorative Pillows

Another great trend for this Spring/Summer 2018 is mixed-up couches. Go for two complimentary styles in different colors and bring the whole look together with matching pillows. 

Match Pattern Size, But Not The Pattern

This is a fantastic way to keep your style coherent whilst clashing and mixing every type of pattern you fancy. So if you're going floral choose a large floral print next to another large floral print. Or you might have one decorative with shapes on and another with stripes, but you choose small patterns on both.   

Stick To Natural Tones

This is one way that you can really stick to mixing your decorative pillows without being too 'out there' with patterns. For example, earthy greens, sand colors and creams all compliment each other beautifully whilst providing a mix of tones and colors.  

Keep A Color In Common

Try linking mismatched patterns and pillows by linking them together with one or two common colors. For example, our Color Blocks V Decorative Pillow, Color Blocks III Decorative Pillow and Color Blocks Decorative pillow are all completely different but they have a beautiful teal color in common which links them together.

Mix Pillows That Are In A Similar Family Of Colors

Choose different shades within the same color spectrum to achieve a unique ombre effect or beautiful cascading effect. This works well with any color spectrum, and looks beautiful against natural materials or tones. If your couch is a block color this works best if you choose decorative pillows in tones from the same spectrum. If your couch is a neutral color, you could try different tones for every season.

Hopefully these tips have helped you see just a few reasons that decorative pillows do not have to match. So get creative, get planning and get mismatching for the ultimate modern decorative pillow look.

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