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Decorating Your Sofa: How Many Throw Pillows is Enough? - Rapport Furniture

Decorating Your Sofa: How Many Throw Pillows is Enough?

The right number of throw pillows can help transform your sofa from a simple seating area into a unified part of your room’s decorative theme. These pillows can help any space become more inviting, more comfortable, and overall more attractive. Still, it can be difficult deciding when to stop adding throw pillows to a sofa or chair.

How many throw pillows on a couch? There is no specific formula, though it’s best to leave ample space to sit. Generally, three to five pillows will suffice for your living room sofa, though different numbers will be needed for large sectionals and chairs.

Coming up, we’ll examine how many pillows you will need for your couch. Keep reading to find out!

Can You Have Too Many Pillows on a Couch?

The short answer is yes. We’ve all seen those sofas that are so full with throw pillows that there’s hardly space to sit down.

PRO TIP: if you have to move a mountain of pillows off your sofa so you or your guests can sit down, you’ve got too many. 

Ultimately, whether or not you’ve got too many pillows will depend on the type of sofa (or chair) in question. It’s possible to overload any couch, but it’s easier to overwhelm smaller pieces of furniture (especially chairs) than it is larger sofas.

Specifically, deeper couches—those with cushions that extend more than 20 inches or so—can safely accommodate more pillows (with some decorators even recommending the use of additional pillows for improved comfort and posture while sitting).

Of course, it’s not just the size of your furniture but also the size of the pillows you use that influences the number you need for your sofa:

  • Standard throw pillows are square-shaped and are roughly 20 inches in area, but oversize pillows (22-24 inches) can also be used for a more laid-back feel.
  • Undersize pillows (about 18 inches) are also an option. You’ll want to take the depth of your couch in mind when determining the size of pillows you use for your sofa.

Where Do You Put Throw Pillows on a Couch?

Artistic vision notwithstanding, there are a few general rules when it comes to placing your throw pillows onto your sofa. Let’s take a look at them:

- Pay attention to your corners

For a professional, decorative look, you’ll want to make sure that every corner of your couch has at least one throw pillow on it. For standard couches, this means that both ends have at least one pillow, though you can put up to two of various sizes per corner if it better suits your vision.

- Do Something with the Middle (or Don’t)

Depending on the size of your couch, you may feel as if throw pillows in the middle could add a more decorative flair. You’ll want to make sure you don’t overcrowd your cushions (more on that later), however.

Number of Pillows: Simple Guide

- How Many Pillows Do I Need for a Three Seat Couch?

If you asked around before reading this, it’s likely you heard different answers to this question.

For many, calculating the number of throw pillows required is as simple as taking the length of the couch (let’s say eight feet) and deducting one digit off, thereby necessitating seven throw pillows.

Others simply prefer to tuck one pillow into each corner of the couch (or a pair of pillows, one large and one small) into each corner of the couch, perhaps with a larger option in the middle.

Ultimately, only you can decide what looks and works the best for your couch.

With that being said, however, a good rule to follow if you’re not sure is three pillows for normal-sized couches and five for larger ones.

Having an odd number here helps give your couch a more modern look and gives you the ability to double up on pillows on one side or space them evenly across each cushion.

- How Many Throw Pillows for a Sectional?

You can follow the same rules above to decorate even the largest of sectionals.

Making sure to get all three corners, you may also consider filling in the blank spaces with one or two pillows, being sure that the number of pillows doesn’t exceed the length of the couch.

REMEMBER: the deeper the sectional, the more pillows you can get away with, giving you more decorative freedom when it comes to pillow quantity and size.

How Many Throw Pillows on a Chair?

What if you have a small piece of furniture? It turns out that the rule for decorating your favorite chair with throw pillows couldn’t get any simpler: one is enough.

Even two throw pillows can crowd a chair, making them harder and less comfortable to sit in. For this reason, it’s best to go with a standard throw pillow that doesn’t take up too much space but is still noticeable as a decorative item.

How to Mix and Match Pillows on a Sofa

Given all of this, let’s now turn our attention to understanding how to choose and arrange the pillows that go on your couch:

Choose Three Colors…

Make your sofa pop by choosing three colors that are dominant in the room around you.

These colors will help tie your sofa into the theme of the room around it while also helping the couch look unified even if you go with different patterns for each pillow.

…and Three Patterns

Speaking of patterns, you can really help boost the visual appeal of your sofa by choosing at least three, with one dominant pattern and two minor ones that will help catch the eye.

Importantly, you’ll want to make sure that your dominant pattern contains each of the three colors you’ve chosen to use for your couch.

You can then play off this by incorporating one of each of the other colors into the two other pattern types on the sofa.

Mix Textures

Give your couch some diversity by mixing up different pillow textures.

Consider adding velvety, furry, wool, and fur textures to get smooth and rough side by side. This not only allows you to exercise your creativity but also helps you put together a more varied and attractive design for any sofa or sectional.


Determining how many throw pillows on a couch is enough may be easier than you think.

With the information in this guide, you’ll be able to decorate any couch with just the right number and type of pillows.

Because the rules are so flexible, you’ll experience tons of creative freedom while also having those necessary boundaries to help you ensure high-quality work.

Make sure to check back here if you have any hiccups during the design process!

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