How to Mix & Match Pillows on a Sofa: Advice from Experts

There’s a reason why the husbands aren’t in charge of decorating. Or maybe your man is a creative genius, please do tell me what it’s like. Call me traditional, but my man is best at cars and barbequing, and I am the expert at design and all it entails. Bless us both, but if roles were reversed, our living room would be a game room and we’d be eating beef jerky for dinner. And forget the pillows, there wouldn’t be any. But thankfully that’s not the case.


I’m gonna teach you how to see pillows differently, a pillow isn’t just a pillow. It’s so much more. Here’s how you can remember it… THE 5 S’s: Story, Shape, Size, Shade, Structure.

STORY (How to Mix and Match Pillows on a Sofa)

What is the aesthetic you’re going for? It’s always a good idea to explore Pinterest and create a mood board for your home, and maybe even each room. You know what they say, “Measure twice, cut once.” When investing in pillows, you want to first know what you’re looking for. Of course, we can assist in this process, but it helps if you have a vision! Here are some possible aesthetic themes…


  • Neutrals, keeping it simple and clean
  • Bohemian
  • Beachy coastal vibe
  • Bright, geometric, and loud
  • Modern and timeless
  • Industrial and sharp
  • Retro and minimalistic
  • Country rustic
  • Elegant and earthy
  • Contemporary and calm
  • Tribal artistry 


At The Sewing Nerd, we bring your vision to life. If you’re happy, we’re happy! Whatever you choose, make it an extension of you. The beauty of custom-made pillows is that your pillows are one-of-a-kind. Get creative with it! Frills, fringe, trims, tassels, you got it! No idea is too crazy. The world is your oyster!

how to mix and match pillows on a sofa

SHAPE (How to Mix and Match Pillows on a Sofa)

Who says pillows have to be square? They come in all shapes. You’ve got lumbar pillows, circular ones, and more! Don’t be afraid to mix it up and get creative with your pillow groupings. But hey, watch out for going overboard – too many shapes can turn your design into a pillow circus!


There’s a pro tip to level up your pillow game: vary the shapes of your pillows! A square pillow on a boxy chair? Snooze-fest. But a circular pillow on a chair with straight lines? Now that’s breaking the design rules in style. I can do anything with your pillows and create any shape you dream up! The goal is to make all your friends want to steal your couch. 

SIZE (How to Mix and Match Pillows on a Sofa)

The size of your pillows depends on the size of your sofa. If you have a large, multi-piece sectional, you can go bigger. But for a loveseat or chair, you will want to go smaller so there is still room to sit! Unless you don’t want anyone sitting on your couch, which I support.

Choose at least 2-3 different sizes to mix and match, this will add dimension and variety to your set-up. Unless you want all your pillows to be the same size, which is also a vibe of its own!


At The Sewing Nerd, our standard throw pillow size is a 20” square, but don’t be afraid to step outside of the boxthe options are endless and there are no “shoulds ” or “should-nots” when it comes to pillows. It’s all up to you! The beauty of custom is you don’t have to walk through endless department stores to find what you’re looking for. So go crazy, girl.

Throw pillows on couch

SHADE (How to Mix and Match Pillows on a Sofa)

Bear with me, “color” didn’t go with my ‘S’ theme. 


Colors, oh baby. This is the best part. Here’s a fun design hack for you: pick three colors that are BFFs and use them as the foundation for your throw pillow extravaganza! For example, take cues from your wall color, a hue from the rug, and a piece of art on the wall to create your color story. My heaven on earth is my workshop, where every fabric sample you could ever imagine resides. You can come to the shop in person, or zoom in and I’ll show you around! It helps to have someone to bounce ideas off of, plus I’ve been doing this for years and dream of pillow shapes and colors in my sleep. 


Now, if you’re going for that light and breezy vibe with neutral tones, here’s a pro tip: add a pop of color for some pizzazz! Imagine a mix of fluffy white pillows in different sizes and textures, with one or two bold and bright green pillows thrown into the mix. Talk about making a statement! Your pillows will be the life of the party, stealing the show with their chic and playful flair. Get ready for some serious pillow envy from all your guests!

Couch pillows

STRUCTURE (How to Mix and Match Pillows on a Sofa)

Odd numbers are magic. For some reason, the arrangement of odd numbers catches attention and visual interest, which is exactly what we want. I absolutely want my neighbors to notice my pillows, heavens, I spent friggin’ time and money on those babies.


Sets of three go a long way with pillows. It’s the secret recipe for a memorable and captivating couch. Yes, you deserve a Pinterest living room. 


Here’s the inside scoop on pillow placement:


  • For chairs, just one pillow is all you need to make it feel extra cozy and stylish. But if you’re feeling creative, who says there can’t be two?
  • For small sofas or loveseats, three pillows are the ticket to pillow paradise. They’ll create a comfy and inviting vibe that’ll make you want to snuggle up and never leave.
  • For larger sofas, go big or go home! Sectionals are the BEST because you can let your hair down and go big! Dare I say 7+ pillows!

Okay, Now Get to Decorating!

So there you have it, the 5 S’s of pillows; Story, Shape, Size, Shade, and Structure. All of these things matter when it comes to mixing and matching pillows on a sofa.


If you’re still overwhelmed, send me an email, and let’s set up a time to chat. I’ll show you around the shop and we can dream up your Pinterest-worthy living room pillows together.

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