Guide To Buying Throw Pillows - Sizes And How Many

You don’t need to wonder or guess what size and how many decorative throw pillows to create dramatic seating.

The actual size you will need depends upon the actual size of your soft furnishings (sofas, chairs, etc.); if there are existing loose back cushions that came with them; and of course, the look you are trying to achieve.  Besides the look, if you want real comfort be sure to take into account your own size and guests.  

If you are unsure of a size, cut out templates using paper or even gauze fabric.  Or you can purchase inserts but leave the clear wrapping on them.  If the size doesn't fit as you had envisioned, you can easily return or exchange the inserts. 

Here are suggested sizes to get you started:

  • Sofas, particularly large sofas, and sectionals:  20" x 20,"  22" x 22" or 24" x 24"

  • Lounge chair, such as a wing back:  16" x 20"

  • Occasional chairs with arms:  16" x 20" or 20" x 20"

  • Occasional chairs without arms and you are looking to pop color into the space: 12" x 20", 16" x 20" or 18" x 18"

  • Beds where the pillow is an accent: use a 20" x 20" or 22" x 22." (Note that shams would be 20" x 26" and European pillows are 24" x 24" or 26" x 26.")

 Want that plush look of piled pillows?  

There are two ways to create a plush look. One is to use multiple pillows of the same size. The second way is to use multiple decorative pillows but mix up the sizes. Try these sizes in multiples:

  • 12" x 20", 20" x 20" and 22" x 22";

  • 14" x 27", 22" x 22";

  • 16" x 20", 20" x 20" and 22" x 22"   

A great way to bring in color to an otherwise neutral decor is through a plush of decorative throw pillows:

Inserts for decorative throw pillows:

One very important element that must not be overlooked is the composition of the inserts. The materials for decorative pillow inserts has definitely come a long way, especially from those old bouncy polyester fiber inserts. Once such example is a synthetic down pillow insert that is made from 100% polyester and is hypoallergenic, odorless and lint free (from

Top of the line for pillow inserts are down and down/feather. Both down and feathers come from a duck or geese. However, there is a difference between down and feathers. The latter comes from the top body part of the bird and includes the quills. This can offer some discomfort when the quills poke through the fabric casing of the insert and even the decorative fabric.

“Down lies beneath this (the feathers) protective covering – usually on the belly of a bird - and is light and fluffy.” (from Down is more expensive than feathers. But a mix or blend of the two is available. Love for the percentage of down versus feathers, usually expressed as 10/90, meaning 10% down and 90% feather; 100% down; 30/70 down/feather; and 50/50 down/feather.

Inserts are available in many large home decor stores but sizes and content can often be limited. I have found that ordering directly from a manufacturer gives you a very wide range of decorative pillow insert contents and sizes. You can even purchase custom sizes, and surprisingly at an affordable cost. I am not associated with United Pillow Manufacturing but I have found it’s offerings of pillow inserts are extensive both in content and sizes. I love that the company displays a sketch from which you enter your desired size in your desired content and immediately get a price. Nice:)!

So what’s been your experience in getting just the right look with decorative pillows?
Like and comment below to let me know.

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