How to Style Pillows on Your Sofa!

You guys are always asking for tips on how to style pillows on a sofa! While there aren’t any set rules when it comes to pillow styling (and there’s a good case to be made for mixing things up regularly!), I have noticed a couple of rules I sort of fall back on. sofa  //  coffee…

You guys are always asking for tips on how to style pillows on a sofa! While there aren’t any set rules when it comes to pillow styling (and there’s a good case to be made for mixing things up regularly!), I have noticed a couple of rules I sort of fall back on.


sofa  //  coffee table  //  black lamp  //  side table //  rug 


I usually start by pulling my color palette from something else in the room. In this case, I used the rug to help guide which colors I would use for my pillows. Don’t be too literal here! The colors don’t have to be, and really shouldn’t be, exact. They should just sort of help the eye to move around and connect with other elements of the space.

For a larger sofa, I try to start with one or two basically solid pillows, one with a subtle pattern or texture in a smaller scale, and one or two with a bold color and pattern in a larger scale.

I also think it’s a good idea to group pillows in odd numbers. Two on each side or one on each side feels off to my eye.

Some of you followed along on my stories when we were styling this room. Here’s the progression of pillow styling!


I started with two large pillows on either end of the sofa as my base. These should be 22″ or 24″ square. I usually save 26″ pillows (which is the size of a Euro sham) for bed styling. Though if you have a REALLY big, deep sofa you can use this size without it looking weird. You will want to put your darkest color or solid pieces in the corners. This will help anchor the other pillows.


Once you’ve got your base, you will want to layer in two more smaller pillows on top. These should be around 20×20.  They don’t need to be the exact same size or shape as each other. The more color and texture, the better!

Taking photos of your styling work is a great tip. Sometimes looking at a room on a screen helps your eye to see what colors you need to add or take away. My team laughs at me because I’m constantly just looking at our spaces using my phone as a filter for my eyes! It helps SO much though! :)


Lastly, you will want to add in a lumbar pillow to mix up the shapes. This is a really great place to add in a pop of color or a crazy pattern.


Here’s what we landed on and I love the mix! What are your best pillow styling tips? I would also add that I almost ALWAYS go up a size on my down inserts so they are extra, extra fluffy! These down inserts are my go-to because they are very affordable and twice as full as the IKEA ones!



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Join the Conversation

31 thoughts on “How to Style Pillows on Your Sofa!

  1. Your sofa doesn’t look like the Wayfair one you linked to. Is yours a RH sofa or perhaps a different one sold on wayfair? Thanks!

  2. Okay, is your sofa the laine dressmaker sofa on Mayfair? I have been eyeing it for a while but wanting to know if it is comfortable because we will be using two for our family room. Can you tell me about comfort if that is the sofa you own? Thank you

    1. The sofa shown here is from Restoration Hardware, but my girlfriend has the Wayfair one and she LOVES it! Looks a lot like the RH one for a lot less money!

  3. Whoever is asking how to arrange pillows obviously doesn’t have children who rearrange them every 30.5 seconds! LOL. My 11yo is the worst because she “only likes this kind” close to her!

  4. Jenny! I can’t tell you how relevant and great your posts are. I mean, you truly are making the world a better place. I have design questions that keep me up at night so I’m super excited about this new idea of you answering our questions. Would you mind sharing what size of pillow cover you would use for the 23 inch pillow insert you’ve linked to? 22inch?

      1. What a compliment, Brittany! I don’t know if I’m making the world a better place, but we are having a lot of fun and hope we can help! :)

        I size up with my inserts. So for a 22″ cover I would get a 24″ down insert. I prefer feather to down alternative. Those C&B ones I linked to really are the best and are surprisingly affordable for the quality!


  5. Great pillow selection, currently have plain inserts on my sofa because I did not know where to begin, just know I wanted a mix of colors and textures. Also one thing I always do is put a thin fiberfill pillow insert behind my down inserto, this prevents the pillow from collapsing when you use it but still gives the fluffy feeling of down. It fills out the pillowcover and decreases how much pillow fluffing I have to do. I do have to make sure the down inserts is facing out and the fiberfill is facing in.

  6. Jenny,
    Your space is so gorgeous and I love the pillow options you linked! Also, I am dying to know where you found the curtain rod? We have an entire back wall of seven 3×9′ windows and I need a huge curtain rod for a semi bay window.

  7. So great! And so timely… just yesterday I spent at least an hour trying to arrange pillows on a sofa in my office. I finally looked through the Pottery Barn ecatalog and found a grouping I liked and then tried to replicate it with pillows I found around the house. Bingo! It turned out to be my favorite after years of wrestling with symmetry, etc. Unfortunately success in one room creates failure in another. My living room is looking bare today!

  8. Jenny, would you also use the same idea for styling pillows on a King Bed? Bigger solid colors in back and then an odd number of mixed fabrics/sizes in front? I am having the hardest time with my bed styling. Thank you!!

    1. Stay tuned Michelle! We are planning a bed styling post!

      In sort though, it really depends on how many pillows you like to have! If you want Euros and decorative pillows, I would do a solid or subtle pattern on the bigger pillows and the pop on the smaller ones! :)

  9. Hi Jenny!
    I bought some of the 24 in pillow inserts from your PSA (the gorgeous Pottery Barn ones that were on super sale!) Trouble is – I don’t have inserts and I see that they don’t make 24 or 25in inserts from CB2 that you linked to. Any ideas? Thanks!

    1. Hi Alyssa! You’ll definitely want to use 26″ inserts for these pillows! IKEA sells these for about $10 I think and Crate and Barrel does as well! I hope that helps! xo

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