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How to Choose Decorative Pillows for the Living Room

by Chandler Warnick

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A decorative pillow in a friendly floral print

If your new set of living room furniture needs a finishing touch or if you want a new look for your living room without new furniture, decorative pillows will make a world of difference. The right decorative pillows, also known as throw pillows, can put your personal stamp on a set of new furniture and can take the look of your living room from blah and ambivalent to cozy and traditional or clean and modern. They will also add comfort to an attractive-but-uninviting sofa. Keep reading to find out how to choose decorative pillows that give your room the look you want.

Choosing Decorative Pillows:

  1. Explore your home for inspiration on choosing decorative pillows. Look around the house for textures or color that could work for your decorative pillows. Try matching the color or style of your decorative pillows to the color or style of a unique painting or coffee table. Also, matching your throw pillows to a color or texture that is across the room is a good way to match your throw pillows to the decor and unify the look of your living room at the same time.

  2. Find out how others use decorative pillows. If you don't have any idea how you want to use your decorative pillows, browsing through a magazine will give you lots of different decorating tips. If you do have a rough idea of what you want your room to look like, looking at a good decorating magazine can still show you styles of decorative pillows you didn't know about or can help you refine the look you have in your mind.

  3. Decide if you want a traditional or a modern look. Throw pillows that are ornate or have decorative trim work well with traditional room arrangements. Also, for a traditional look, use smaller decorative pillows in even numbers and set them in bunches. Modern design themes look simpler and have cleaner lines than traditional ones. Choose larger, solid-colored decorative pillows or ones with simple designs and space them apart from each other. Using them in odd numbers and/or placing one throw pillow on each couch cushion is a good rule of thumb if you want a modern look.

  4. Decide how you will use your decorative pillows. If your throw pillows will decorate a rarely used sitting room or if the people who mostly use your couch are yourself and a few polite friends, you can probably buy decorative pillows in whichever materials and colors you want. Otherwise, buy materials and colors that match the use of the pillows. If you have young kids, stay away from decorative pillows that don't have washable covers and think twice before buying pillows in light colors. If people will be napping on your decorative pillows, avoid scratchy fabrics. If you're more concerned about durability than luxury, buy tight fabrics that won't snag on watches or jewelry.

  5. Mix it up. If you just can't choose between the round throw pillows in gold paisley or the rectangles in dark brown nap, then don't. Bunching together decorative pillows with different styles and shapes looks great and saves you the trouble of deciding on a single style. If you're worried about cluttering the modern look of your room with different throw-pillow designs, try using throw pillows that have the same simple design but different shapes.

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