Sometimes you don’t have the money or energy to redecorate, so quick fixes that deliver big results are always ideal.

If you’re looking to update your living room or outdoor area on a budget, look no further than your throw pillows. Nonetheless, the challenge of pillows comes via their size: too big, you overpower your sofa and throw off the room’s balance, too small and they might create a strange dynamic with your other furnishings (and may possibly cause your guests discomfort). Whether you’re shopping for your lounge or patio, ensuring you find the right-sized throw pillow for every context counts.

Measure Up

Before you start opening tabs, it’s important to consider the pillow number and placement that works best for you. You may lose the identity of your couch by overloading it, but too few accessories can also leave the room looking stark. Here’s where size matters: a regular 18-inch width square pillow will work with anyone’s budget and couch size: if your seating options are designed to fit the whole family, you can add up to five without looking overdone. Alternatively, a small settee will work beautifully with just two (a 16-inch cushion is ideal in this context). The smaller the pillows the bigger you can go with print and pattern selection, but make sure your pillow is still large enough to show it off — this geometric option in a 16-inch size would be a great choice to spice up a minimalist sofa.

Think Outside the Box

If you’re feeling feisty, switching up the shape can also be an exciting upgrade that is slightly less predictable. Circular pillows are difficult to pull off but can offer a vintage salon-esque experience when done correctly (in this case it’s better to go bigger than smaller). For the longer couch lovers, an oblong shape might be preferable — very rarely in this case would you need more than two, which might prove a relief for the wallet. As a general rule, you’re better off avoiding going over the 24-inch mark, even when opting for an oblong form. This saves your guests the physical discomfort of wrestling with a large pillow when attempting to sit down and also allows your couch room to breathe.

Interior designers will almost always prefer several medium to large-sized pillows, rather than a haphazard collection of smaller cushions, so keeping each above 16-inches in width is also important for maintaining the room’s balance. Once you’ve locked in the dimensions that work best for you, prepare to fall back in love with your easily updated space  — a brightly-colored cushion can inject any tired couch with new life.

Written by Beatrice Hazlehurst

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