Tips for pairing throw pillow covers and the best sources for every budget! Learn how to mix and match decorative throws, where to buy pillow covers and how to change the feel of your room with this easy and inexpensive decor element!
(Originally shared March 2018, updated February 2020 to reflect current styles and shopping links.)
Throw pillow covers are my favorite home decor accessory because they’re the easiest way to update a space! Pillow covers can help you transition your home from one season to the next. If you’re ready for a spring refresh as much as I am, this is all the inspiration you’ll need!
With a neutral paint palette, and white slipcovered sofas (get my review of our Ikea slipcovered sofas and our Pottery Barn slipcovered sofas here) the options are truly endless. In just a few minutes you can make a room feel fresh.
I love sharing my favorite simple decorating tips with you! I’ve shown you how to create a faux headboard with artfully arranged pillows, and there’s also an incredibly popular post with all my tips for creating a luxurious home for less – don’t miss that one!
I receive so many questions about where to buy the pillow covers that I share here and on social media, so it’s time for a full breakdown of this easy technique for changing your decor in an instant.
There’s no need to update the pillows on your sofa or bed regularly, you can simply use throw pillow covers and keep your pillow inserts to reduce waste. It’s a win-win, right? Better for the environment and so much better for your storage situation!
A single decorative pillow on your sofa or bed can add so much to any space in your home! So which one to choose? Selecting throw pillow covers can be a little intimidating, but these tips will help you get it right, every time!
How to Pair Throw Pillow Covers
Select a Color Palette
Limit you color palette to 2-3 colors that play well together. From that color palette you can mix various shades.
The example above is pulled together using Caitlin Wilson covers is limited to shades of pink and navy with a hint of others blended in.
Mix and Match
The key to a great pillowscape (I just invented that word, should I copyright that?) is to mix and match. Adding different design elements makes it feel fresh and interesting.
In the example above there are no repeats. Repeats are okay, but limit them.
Play With Pattern
Mixing in pattern adds visual interest and breaks your pillows up. Choose from block prints, stripes and more!
If you are mixing patterns, blend big and small. Use larger patterns in the back and smaller or tighter patterns in the pillow in front of it.
The pillow on the left above has a significantly larger pattern than that in the middle
Layer in Texture
Texture allows you to add a solid color while making it feel special. It also adds depth and warmth.
You’ll see I blended velvet into this pillowscape for texture – little hints go a long way!
Tassels, ties, fringe, embroidery, leather zippers, anything goes! Have fun with it!
Do Throw Pillows Have to Match?
Absolutely not! In fact, I would argue that they should not match. It’s just like buying furniture… while it might be easier to select a full matching set off the showroom floor, that doesn’t mean you should! It’s so much more interesting to create a layered, collected look.
Playing with color, texture and pattern is the best way to achieve a professional, polished look in your spaces. Peruse the portfolios of designers and you’ll find that they rarely (if ever) use all matching pillow covers.
This is one of my favorite examples of blending all of the above points from Serena and Lily.
Tips to Make Pillow Covers Look and Feel Full
You want to make your pillows look and feel full, which makes them picture perfect. These are tips designers and stylists use!
- Make sure you’re choosing a high quality pillow insert.
- Typically, there are two kinds of pillow inserts – down and polyester. Either works well, but down often feels more luxurious and it easier to fluff and manipulate.
- Size is everything! For thinner inserts go up one size. For plump inserts make sure the measurements are exact.
QUICK TIP: Pillow inserts are important! Through the years I’ve tested a lot of pillow inserts. Sadly, they’re not all created equal, even from my favorite stores. You can shop my favorite pillow inserts here. I’ve also heard good things about the inexpensive down inserts sold at Ikea, though I can’t vouch for the quality.
How do you Arrange Throw Pillows on a Couch?
- Place larger pillows (typically 22″ or 24″ squares for a standard sofa) in the back.
- Layer 18″ or 20″ squares in front.
- Mix rectangular pillows in the middle of the sofa or in front of other pillows. (16×20″, 12×21″).
I am often asked where I find my pillow covers. While I share many of them in my shop, I thought I’d share some of my favorite sources with you today.
Where to Buy Pillow Covers
Accent pillow covers can widely vary in price. I’ve purchased some for as little as $4.95 and others, well, in the hundreds. In fact, mixing high and low is one of my favorite design tips!
- Pottery Barn seems to try to provide something for everyone and it works because I currently have these in our family room!
- Serena and Lily has a nice mix of traditional and modern pillows with plenty of textures and patterns to choose from. You can use their catalog or peruse online for more throw pillow cover pairing ideas.
- Rejuvenation is a great source for higher end, unique pillow covers. I am in love with this charming bunny print cover – isn’t it so sweet for spring, with that bunny hidden in the pattern?
- Williams Sonoma offers luxe fabrics like cashmere, linen and silk, beautiful embroidery and more! I’m obsessed with this navy cane leather cover. Seriously, it’s the stuff dreams are made of – can’t you envision that as a couch pillow cover, snuggled up next to a roaring fire in the winter?
- Etsy – when I can’t find what I’m looking for, I turn to Etsy or one of my favorite Etsy sellers like Petaja that custom creates pillows for me.
- Target – you can always count on Target to get the look for less! However, they don’t often sell covers as much as they will sell a full pillow. If I find a throw pillow I love that has a zipped cover, I will remove the cheap cotton insert and replace it with down for a luxe upgrade. This pretty pillow (purchased last year) was almost identical to one available at Serena and Lily, but 1/5 of the cost. Their outdoor line has a lot of parallels as well, like this woven pillow and this woven pillow. One MAJOR difference? $73.
- Restoration Hardware – add a little luxe with their gorgeous pillow covers.
- Studio McGee offers edgier options. I of course love the Addison and Dorothy block print pillow covers.
- Speaking of block print, Les Indiennes is another favorite for pretty prints with a little detail.
- Annie Selke (especially for outdoor and bedroom). They’re easy to clean and have pretty color and pattern options.
- H&M – This is the spot that shocks my readers the most – I think it’s because it’s easy to forget that H&M carries a home line at all! I love that you can purchase a darling bunny pillow cover here for just $4.95. With decorative pillow covers (in linens, velvets, and embroidery) starting at just $2.99, they’re great to mix in and look much better in person than they do online. They fill out beautifully with a nice down insert.
- Amazon – this is another unexpected resource to shop for pillow covers that are affordable and work well in a variety of situations. Check out my Amazon storefront for a few of my favorite looks, including this sweet buffalo check at a great price point!
- West Elm – West Elm offers a lot of style for a minimal price. Their pillow inserts are especially reasonable. I love this candlewick and fringe pillow cover set, (pictured below) priced at just $55.00 for the pair when on sale!
- Caitlin Wilson offers fun and fresh colors in a wide array of patterns. These designs have me longing for a Southern home!
- RH Teen – Who knew Restoration Hardware could be so accessible? RH Teen is one of my favorite sources for pillow colors because their colors fit seamlessly into our home and they offer great fabrics at really great prices.
- Pottery Barn Teen – an additional resource that’s hit or miss, but some are just too good to miss like this diamond loop pillow cover.
- Pottery Barn Kids is also worth a try! Where else can you find a charming Lily Pulitzer pillow cover for less than $50?
As always you can find many of my favorite products from our home in my shop! What are your favorite sources for throw pillow covers?
More Home Design Inspiration
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- Amazon Home
- How to Hide TV Wires
- Rattan Bed
- The Perfect Nightstand Height
- Bookshelf Decor Ideas