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How to style a sectional couch with pillows and throws

I will show you how to style a big sectional couch with pillows and throws so that you have the comfiest couch ever!

I get asked how to arrange pillows and throws on a big sectional couch a lot. And I totally get the confusion! On a normal coach, you have two ends.. you put a few throw pillows on each side and voila! But with a sectional couch, there are three ends! So If you’ve ever asked yourself how to style a comfy sectional couch- you’ve come to the right place!

1. Add your throws

I like to add a few soft throws on my sectional. Especially in the colder seasons because they get used a lot. Here, I’ve dropped one over the arm of the sectional sofa in a dramatic fashion and let it sort of cascade to the floor. The other throw I’ve folded up the long way and placed it over the back of the gray couch and let it hang down to the floor. Then I layered my bigger neutral throw pillows over them.

2. Start with bookends

Start with two larger (24in) pillows with matching covers on each end of the couch. Then add in two matching 20 or 18 inch pillows next to them. This works as bookends on your coach and brings a sense of structure and coordination that it needs.  A trick of the trade…use pillow covers that are a size or two smaller than your pillows. This makes your pillows look so much more full! – Also, are you looking for the perfect karate chop pillows? Use down inserts!

Should throw pillows be taller than the couch?

Throw pillows are larger than ever now, but it is still generally recommended to avoid throw pillows that are taller than the back of the couch.

This is still a matter of preference though. You can absolutely find throw pillows that will be taller than the back of your couch when placed. I don’t have any that are that much taller than my own sofa, but if you have seen that look before and it works for you, then by all means go ahead!

People might typically avoid these taller throw pillows because large sectional pillow arrangement can be awkward, and they will look like the actual back cushions of the couch versus a decorative pillow. If the pillow is too large, it could also take away from some of the seating space on the couch.

3. layer in pillows that are in the same color family

You certainly don’t need all of your pillows to match. I like to stick with versatile creamy neutrals to add contrast to my dark charcoal grey couch. I also wanted to tie in my deep emerald green ottoman so I added a similar lumbar pillow and another pillow with green trim to tie it all in.

How to arrange pillows with patterns

Many people avoid patterned pillows because they can seem difficult to place appropriately. But it is important to remember that it is always about your comfort and personal taste, so don’t be afraid to make some pairing and arrangement options that speak to you!

For some general advice on throw pillow patterns, you should avoid mixing small and large patterns. When placed together, they can contrast each other and offer a strange appearance, so it is best to stick with either small or large patterns.

You should also look to create a focal point and then arrange your patterns around it, this way the patterns can coordinate correctly. Deciding how to style a sectional sofa can be intimidating, but don’t forget to have fun with the process.

Start with your largest pillow in the back corner of the coach. I like a 26incher there. Then add in the next height of pillow next to it. As you can see from my image, the height of my throw pillows in the corner is cascading down to my lowest point which is my lumbar pillow. Adding varying heights helps to give the pillows more depth and dimension. Plus adding in varying textures breaks up the matchy matchy look but it is still vey coordinated.

How can I make my sectional look better?

If you want to spice up the appearance of your sectional there are a few other things besides pillows that you can try.

  • Add a rug – If you don’t already have a rug in the area of your sectional, then placing one that is partially underneath the sectional and then extends into the seating area can provide some added comfort and flair
  • Get a unique blanket – You could grab an eccentric faux fur piece or just something with a great pattern or pop of color. Either way, this can be a great addition to your sectional to make it stand out again.
  • Add tables or other furniture – A coffee table or ottoman is a great addition to a sectional space. If you can find a piece that you really love, it can be a functional and beautiful attraction.
  • Add art behind it – Accenting your sectional with a unique piece of art (if your sectional is placed near a wall or other area where one can be placed), can be a great decoration choice.

How many throws on a small sectional?

I usually suggest that you choose an odd number of throw pillows for your sectional, so many sectionals can use around 7 to 9 throw pillows. Depending on the size of the pillows and your sectional, this number can change.

Depending on how small your sectional is, you could even get away with 3 to 5 pillows. How many throw pillows on a sectional couch is the appropriate amount is entirely up to you and how you want to make the most of your couch space.

Also, for special cases, like how to arrange pillows on a sectional with chaise, instead of considering extra pillows, maybe an extra throw blanket can work.

How do you put a pillow on a sectional?

When you are experimenting with throw pillow placement, there are just a couple of things to keep in mind. You should remember that any pillow space will be taking away some seating space. So if you go over the top with pillows, you may be lacking some places to sit.

Also, consider if you want to add in some unique pillow shapes. When you hear about sectional throw pillows you will probably think about square pillows, and those will be the most common ones you find as well. But there are many round and other geometric shapes that could provide a unique look for your sectional.

Think about what your personal design philosophy is and how you can make the most of your sectional. So when you’re wondering how to style pillows on a couch, remember that the correct way is your way.

What size pillow goes in 18×18 cover?

What size pillow insert goes in the cover depends on how you want your pillow to look. Typically, I recommend that when deciding how to choose throw pillows for sofa, you go one size above your pillow cover when choosing a pillow insert, to give your pillow a fuller look.

This means that you would choose a 20×20 pillow insert for an 18×18 pillow cover.

How do you arrange throw pillows on a sectional couch?

I follow similar steps for a sectional couch. I’ll send you off with my 5 step plan to arranging pillows for a sectional: 

Step 1. Choose a color palette to make sure that your sectional has a cohesive theme and appearance.

Step 2. Add your biggest pillow first to the center and/or corners of your sectional. Large sectional pillows will often be the focal point of your throw pillow placement.

Step 3. Layer in your next biggest-sized pillow. 1 or 2 other pillows can be added in front of the largest one.

Step 4. Add in any smaller accent pillows that you want for your sectional.

Step 5. To complement your pillows and sectional, add a throw blanket to the arm of your sectional.

If your question is more specifically about how to arrange cushions on l-shaped sofa, then these general steps should still work in that case as well.

I hope my steps gave you some inspiration for your own couch, and that you have fun making your living room comfy and cozy! 

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Thanks for reading!

Chat soon,


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