How Many Throw Pillows Do You Need On A Couch? (Picture Examples)

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Last updated on January 15th, 2024 at 09:42 am

Pillow Placement Guide For Couches, Sofas, Sectionals, & Single-Seat Chairs

Wondering how many throw pillows you need on your couch? Well, look no further because I have your answer!

Different-sized couches need different numbers of throw pillows for maximum comfort, functionality, and style. For a single-seat couch, only use 1 throw pillow. For a loveseat or medium-sized couch, use 2-3 throw pillows. For a three-seat or large couch, use 4-5 pillows. For a sectional, use 5-6 pillows.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s break into the details a little further so you can easily choose the best pillow arrangement for your couch, sectional, or chair.

Let’s dive in!

Quick Navigation: Where To Put Throw Pillows On A Couch

  1. Optimal Number Of Throw Pillows On A Couch By Couch Size
  2. How Many Throw Pillows Should Be On A Single-Seat Couch?
  3. How Many Throw Pillows Should Be On A Two-Seater Couch Or Loveseat?
  4. How Many ThrowPillows Should Be On A Three-Seater Couch?
  5. How Many Throw Pillows Should Be On A Sectional Couch? 
  6. How To Place Throw Pillows On A Couch
  7. Other FAQs About Decorating Couches With Throw Pillows
  8. Final Thoughts
  9. Related Couch Articles

Optimal Number & Size Of Throw Pillows On A Couch By Couch Size

Here is a list of couch size and pillow size/quantity combinations to help you plan out your throw pillow placement more easily.

Couch SizeThrow Pillow QuantityThrow Pillow Size
Small (44 inches wide and down)1 pillow20-inch x 20-inch square or 12-inch x 20-inch lumbar
Medium (45-100 inches wide)3 pillowsTwo 20-inch x 20-inch square & one 12-inch x 20-inch lumbar or one 16-inch by 16-inch square
Large (101-120 inches wide5 pillowsTwo 20-inch x 20-inch square, two 16-inch by 16-inch, & one 12-inch x 20-inch lumbar
X-Large/Sectional (120 inches wide and up)5-7 pillowsThree 20-inch x 20-inch square, two 16-inch by 16-inch, & one 12-inch x 20-inch lumbar
This table demonstrates the best throw pillow size and placement on different couch sizes.

The rest of this article is going to dive into more examples that support the sizes and quantities listed in this table, so you can determine the best combination for your couch.

How Many Throw Pillows Should Be On A Single-Seat Couch?

Single-seat couches, recliners, and chairs that are 44 inches wide or smaller should use one 20-inch by 20-inch throw pillow or one 12-inch by 20-inch lumbar throw pillow placed in the middle of the couch, upright, against the backrest.

You want to avoid adding too many pillows on a single seated couch because it can quickly become cluttered and make it difficult for someone to easily sit.

A throw pillow placed in the center, upright position helps a recliner or single-seater feel cozier, but still gives plenty of room for someone to sit without having to move the pillow.

If you feel like your chair is still looking too plain, then you can add a little more visual flair/texture with a throw blanket thrown over the back of the chair or over the chair arm.

The throw blanket is also super functional for anyone sitting there who needs a little warmth!

(If you need extra help picking out a throw blanket that goes well with a gray couch, then you should check out my other article here.)

This 12-inch by 12-inch throw pillow is too small for this 44-inch wide recliner. A 20-inch by 20-inch throw pillow (such as the blue one in the picture above) complements this chair much better.

Adding more than one pillow to a single-seat couch or recliner would make it difficult to sit on and cause the sofa to look cluttered.

Even on this oversized recliner, placing a second pillow makes this chair feel cluttered.


Related Couch Articles


How Many Throw Pillows Should Be On A Two-Seater Couch Or Loveseat?

Two-seat couches, loveseats, and medium-sized couches that are 45-100 inches wide should use two 20-inch x 20-inch square throw pillows & one 12-inch x 20-inch lumbar throw pillow or one 16-inch by 16-inch square pillow placed on each end of the couch.

While odd numbers are recommended, you can go up to 4 cushions to create symmetry and a more modern finish.

Pinterest-inspired looks have a couch full of pillows, but you want to avoid that as it may turn your décor into clutter.

Place a 20-inch by 20-inch pillow on each corner of your loveseat/medium couch and on one side place either a 12-inch by 20-inch lumbar pillow or a 16-inch by 16-inch square throw pillow.

To balance out the side with the single pillow, drape a throw blanket over the backside of the couch or over the armrest.

Or, if you don’t want to use a throw blanket, then you can choose to use a fourth pillow allowing you to place 2 pillows on each corner – with the second, smaller pillow leaning against the first one.

We will discuss how to choose the best colors and patterns for throw pillows that are next to each further down in this article.

How Many Throw Pillows Should Be On A Three-Seater Couch?

Three-seat couches and large-sized couches that are 101-120 inches wide should use two 20-inch x 20-inch square throw pillows and two 16-inch by 16-inch square pillows placed on each end of the couch with one 12-inch x 20-inch lumbar throw pillow placed in the center of the couch.

A three-seater couch works the same way as a loveseat but holds more throw pillows because of the larger space.

3-5 pillows on a three-seater are ideally the way to go. You can play around with the idea of 6, but anything more than that would make your space look like you have simply dumped a bunch of pillows.

And they would eventually end up on the floor, causing clutter.

When decorating a three-seater, first place one 20-inch by 20-inch square pillow on each corner, add one 12-inch by 20-inch lumbar pillow in the middle, and then an additional 16-inch by 16-inch square pillow on each corner against the first pillows.

This 100-inch 3 seat sectional couch has way too many throw pillows on it. If the couch was 20 inches wider and the center pillow was replaced with a lumbar pillow, then this couch would feel less overwhelming.

Or, instead of the lumbar pillow in the center, you can opt for a throw blanket draped across the back of the couch.

Throw blankets are awesome decor pieces to throw into your couch decorating because they are functional and pretty.

And they are extra useful if you don’t like the color or pattern of your couch anymore. The throw blankets can easily be draped across the back of the couch to give the illusion that you have a different colored couch in your room. Win-win!

How Many Throw Pillows Should Be On A Sectional Couch? 

Sectionals and extra-large-sized couches that are 120 inches wide and up should use three 20-inch x 20-inch square throw pillows, two 16-inch by 16-inch square pillows, and one 12-inch x 20-inch lumbar throw pillow.

A sectional couch generally allows for more throw pillows than other size seats.

Of course, you want to avoid overdoing it and putting so many cushions that they just end up on the floor.

You also don’t want to have so many that sitting becomes uncomfortable.

The best placement on a sectional is to place a 20-inch x 20-inch square throw pillow in each corner and in the bend.

Then take the two 16-inch by 16-inch square pillows and place them on each end of the couch leaning against the larger pillow.

And finally, lean the one 12-inch x 20-inch lumbar throw pillow against the bend of the couch.

Or you could use two lumbar pillows on each end leaning against the 20-inch by 20-inch pillows and a single 16-inch by 16-inch pillow leaning against the 20-inch by 20-inch pillow in the bend.

Again, a throw blanket can be draped across the back or over one of the arms of the couch.

Now that you understand the general placement and sizing of the throw pillows, let’s talk about some color and pattern combinations and general rules of thumb for your throw pillows!

How To Place Throw Pillows On A Couch

Here are some general rules of thumb to help you mix and match your throw pillow colors and patterns and position them more easily.

Use An Odd Number Of Throw Pillows

Whenever you can, opt for an odd number of throw pillows. 1, 3, 5, or 7 pillows are best because our eyes naturally love groupings of odd numbers.

When there are even numbers, it can make a couch feel “too balanced” and “too matchy-matchy”.

Instead of using another pillow, incorporate a throw blanket to create balance on the couch.

The throw blanket is a different shape and texture so it adds to the overall look and functionality in a way that another throw pillow cannot.

Use Larger Throw Pillows

When in doubt, go with fewer large pillows over several small pillows on a couch.

The larger pillows create scale and look complimentary to the couch whereas several smaller pillows just seem cluttery and overwhelming.

My favorite combination is one large 20-inch by 20-inch throw pillow paired with one small 12-inch by 20-inch lumbar pillow.

The two different sizes create dimension on the couch and still make the couch seem inviting to sit on.

Limit Throw Pillows To 2 Per Area/Corner

Throw pillows seem like one of those decorations where you just can’t have “too many”. However, that’s a recipe for future annoyances.

If you, your family, or your guests throw the pillows on the floor every time the couch is used or opt-out of using the couch at all because there are too many pillows, then you have too many throw pillows.

The throw pillows should be accenting the couch, not overwhelming it.

To help avoid this problem, I like to limit the number of pillows to 2 (at the max 3) in each corner or bend in the couch.

Sometimes, 1 pillow is the answer, and other times, it’s best to skip the pillow and use a throw blanket instead.

To help you figure out the ideal number of pillows for your couch, I recommend starting with a large 20-inch by 20-inch pillow in each corner/bend of the couch.

Live with those 2-3 pillows for a few weeks before you purchase anymore to see if that’s enough for your family.

If you feel like the couch still feels a little bare, then add 1-2 smaller pillows into the mix until you find the right balance of functionality and decorations.

Use Different Colored And Patterened Throw Pillows Next To Each Other

The best way to mix and match throw pillows is to use different colors and patterns next to each other.

Start with your couch color and pattern. If the couch is a light color, then choose a contrasting dark color for the pillows leaning against it. (This should be the largest pillow on the couch.)

Or if the couch is a dark color, then choose a contrasting light color for the pillows leaning against it.

Also, take into consideration the pattern on the couch. If the couch is a solid color, then choose a pillow that has a pattern. Or if the couch has a pattern, then make this pillow a solid color.

Then if you are using a second smaller pillow overlapping the first pillow, do the opposite color and pattern to that first larger pillow.

If the first pillow is a solid light color, use a patterned dark-colored pillow as the second one. Or vice versa. It’s also a great design practice to make one of these pillow colors a neutral color and one a bold color.

The idea is not to have two of the same colors/patterns right next to each other.

Use A Throw Blanket To Tie Sections Together & Create Balance

Finally, use a throw blanket to tie sections together and create balance.

My favorite places to drape a throw blanket are:

  • Over the couch arm
  • Over the back of the couch (in the center)
  • Over the back and down the seat of one of the corners on the couch (with a pillow placed overtop)

These three places are pretty to look at and make it super easy for someone to access the blanket if they want to use it.

There you have it! Now you have all of the tools you need to make an educated decision when choosing throw pillows for your couch.

Other FAQs About Decorating Couches With Throw Pillows

Here are some other frequently asked questions about using throw pillows on couches to help you maximize the style and functionality of your couch.

Can You Have Too Many Pillows On A Couch?

A couch can have too many throw pillows. If you, your family, or your guests often place the pillows on the ground to use the couch or are choosing not to use the couch at all so as not to mess up the pillows, then the couch has too many pillows.

Limit each corner/bend in the couch to 2 pillows and you will avoid this problem.

When we bought this couch, it came with SEVEN throw pillows (all of them shown in the picture). While I loved how large and beautiful these pillows were, I simply cannot use that many pillows on this one couch.

We only use 2 of them on this couch and added a third smaller one on the sectional side. If we tried to use all 7, they’d either end up on the floor all of the time or we wouldn’t sit on the couch!

What Size Throw Pillows Do You Need For A Couch?

The best size throw pillows for a couch are a combination of 20-inch by 20-inch square pillows, 16-inch by 16-inch square pillows, and 12-inch by 20-inch lumbar pillows. These throw pillow sizes look great with any size or shaped couch.

How Do I Make My Pillows Look Fuller?

To make a throw pillow look fuller, buy a pillow insert that is 2 inches larger than the pillow cover. For example, if your pillow cover is 20-inch by 20-inch, then you should buy a 22-inch by 22-inch pillow insert to make the pillow look fuller.

Final Thoughts On Throw Pillow Placement On A Couch

There you have it!

Now that you know how many throw pillows to use on different size couches, you can create the best space to your preference.

You can use the tips on the best ways to place them and get the most beautiful overall interior results.

Remember that less is more with throw pillows, and the placement of your pillows will make or break the décor.

Catch you in my next post!

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How Many Throw Pillows Do You Need On A Couch? (Several Examples)

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