How to Style the Throw Pillows on Your Bed

Is there a right or wrong way to do so? A designer weighs in.

red, green and neutral toned master bedroom
Photo: William Abranowicz

There are several factors to consider when arranging the decorative pillows on your bed—how many is too many and what shapes and sizes go together?—but ultimately, the main question is this: Is there a right or wrong way to do so? Here, Katie Stix, partner, design director, and LEED green associate at Anderson Design Studio, weighs in.

Styling for Style's Sake

If you're using throw pillows for a purely decorative reason (as in, you remove them when it is time to go to sleep), Stix says how you position them really comes down to preference. While there is no hard and fast rule for mixing shapes and sizes, she says the simpler the better: "The pattern [you choose] can pack a punch, but limit the quantity." She suggests sticking to a "couple euros and a lumbar pillow" as a general rule.

To clarify: A euro is a flat, square pillow that goes behind the pillow you use to sleep. These larger pillows are generally covered in a sham, or a decorative pillowcase that matches your comforter or duvet. A lumbar iteration is a firmer, longer, rectangular pillow. It is generally smaller and goes in front of the pillow you use for support.

Positioning for Support

Planning on keeping your decorative pillows on the bed at night while you sleep? Make sure you are choosing options with either removable cases or ones that can go into the wash. Over time, pillows naturally absorb some of the oils and sweats your body produces overnight. The best choices for these are going to be ones that can be laundered regularly.

Contemporary Looks

And if you're looking for the latest style, Stix says that you can't beat simplicity. "I've been digging the single long lumbar pillow," she says. "It feels more modern and casual than the typical two to three euro style pillows." A more streamlined approach has another benefit as well: Whatever throw pillows you have arranged on your bed will add to your morning routine. If you struggle, as Stix says she does, to make your bed in the morning, the simpler your arrangement, the better the chance that you will actually style your bed.

However, says Stix, you can't really go wrong with your throw pillow choices—so long as you don't over do it. "A little can go a long way," she says, adding that no matter what you pick, your bedroom pillows should be "comfy and cuddly." That means no beads or sequins: "When it comes to bed, keep it cozy all around."

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