Choosing Couch Pillows: One Couch, Three Ways

[Disclaimer: We partnered with Marshalls to bring you this post. All opinions and photography are our own and are not influenced by Marshalls. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog.]

how to decorate a plain couchI touched base a little over a week ago with the reveal of our new built-ins and details on our fireplace makeover. But other than those exciting developments, not much has changed in the living room since chatting about our new couch.

Today I want to circle back because I am determined to keep this space moving in the right direction. I ordered a coffee table and more seating, and I cannot wait to show you guys once they arrive!

But today I figured it would be fun to “test out” a few different looks to dress up the couch we already have. Cue all the pillows!

Not only was I excited to try a few different looks, but Casey and I also thought this would be a great opportunity to dive into some of the tips we keep in mind when choosing couch pillows, throws, and overall accessories for our living rooms.

We get so many questions about this topic, so this seemed like the perfect chance to break this process down a bit.

Tips for Choosing Couch PillowsTips for choosing couch pillows in your living room space


Pillows, a throw or two, and a basket are all our go-to staples for creating a cozy and stylish couch. However, we aren’t all about spending a ton of money on these living room essentials. We often turn to Marshalls to buy these items because we LOVE their stylish selection and love the amazing price tags even more.

Pillow Price Pointscorralling couch clutter with a basket

All of the couch accessories included in today’s post are from Marshalls, which speaks to the diverse and surprising, yet on-trend, selection they offer. We also didn’t pay over $30 (!) for any one of these accessories. We try to keep all of our pillow purchases under $30 because then we don’t feel as bad swapping out a few of them seasonally.

Pillow Zippers!choosing the right pillows for your couch

When shopping, we look for pillows that have a zipper or button cover. We love these styles because they offer us the chance to re-use that pillow form with another pillowcase. This is especially great if you don’t have a ton of extra room to store pillows through the seasons. Removing the pillow cover and folding it up is a lot easier to store than an entire pillow. We know this isn’t an option for all pillows, but it is something we are mindful of when buying new pillows.

Now let’s dive into knowing exactly what to buy when putting together a full “couch look”. We went with three different options…a casual look, a pop of color, and a neutral look. We loved the look of each of these options and loved the fact that a few small accessory changes can update the whole look of the couch (& the entire feel of a room!)

Look #1: Casual & Cozy

decorating a couch with blue pillows

Layering in cool hues can be perfect for every season. And these blue, gray colors are so versatile; they can match with just about every couch color. Here are some of the tips we kept in mind when choosing this combo.

Coordinate But Don’t Matchtips and tricks for decorating a couch

We wanted the vibe of this couch to be casual and were drawn to the cooler toned pillows. However, we always make a point to avoid matchy-matchy pillows. If you notice in this look, these pillows coordinate, but none of them are a perfect match.

It’s okay to mix and match patterns. We actually prefer to do that because it adds a lot more dimension and visual interest. Displaying a pair of identical pillows is usually when couches start to look cookie-cutter and boring. Judging by the constant rotation of amazing pillows at Marshalls, we don’t think finding a diverse selection is hard to do.

Add A Basket

We also love the idea of layering in a basket to the side of the couch for both function and style. We usually add extra pillows or throws in this basket because it looks cozy, but also helps corral the couch clutter in your space. Feel free to get creative in what you add to this basket.

In one basket we put the traditional pillow + throw combo. But when we didn’t have a throw to add into one of the looks, we added an oversized scarf. It’s a simple trick we often utilize to save money! A scarf adds a pop of color and texture, yet doesn’t require an extra investment.

layering pillows and throws to decorate a couch

Overall, I love the hints of blue. They look cozy and welcoming and do a great job injecting subtle color and texture into the space. But if you’re someone who strives for a little more color in your home, this next look is probably more your speed!

Look #2: A Pop of Color


decorating a couch with blush and pinks

After seeing Jan’s room come together so beautifully, we were inspired to inject even more pops of blush here on the blog! Blush or pops of millennial pink are so in right now, so it wasn’t hard finding pillow options to reflect this trend at Marshalls. And just by adding a few hints of blush, this entire couch is transformed for spring!

What Do I Do With a Matching Set of Pillows?decorating a couch for spring

We just said that you shouldn’t go matchy-matchy with your pillows, but what are you supposed to do when the pillow comes in a set of two?! Instead of putting both of the identical pillows on the couch, try to spread them out throughout the room on another seat. Or, if you only have one couch to accessorize, try to split this set up by adding the matching partner to the basket instead of on the couch. This trick will add a pop of color without making the couch look too symmetrical and matchy-matchy.

Add Texture

using blush pillows while decorating a couch

And even though we focused on injecting color in this couch combo, we still didn’t want to skip out on adding texture as well. Throws with a subtle pattern, tassels, or even a unique or luxe fabric are all great ways to inject texture into your look.

We also love using pillows with different textures (like that gorgeous cream one in the back!). Don’t get caught up focusing solely on the colors, be sure to note the fabric/texture as well. Choosing 2-3 different textures is a great way to achieve the layered look, without the look becoming too busy.

Look #3: Nice & Neutral

Who said neutrals have to be boring?! We love that simply mixing and matching lots of different neutrals, patterns, and textures really brought this look to life.

Different Sized Pillowsneutral pillows on a couch

One key to achieving a layered, well-collected look on your couch is choosing a few different sized pillows. Make sure you have square pillows that are slightly different sizes (we like 18×18 and 20×20) and then add a lumbar pillow to make the couch look less symmetrical. 

In this case, the extra long lumbar really stole the show. How amazing is that pattern? We recommend trying to incorporate a lumbar on one side your couch. It doesn’t have to be an extra long one like this one, just some type of lumbar to break up the other traditional sized pillows is perfect.

Throw Placement

And last but certainly not least, let’s chat about throw blankets. We almost always use a throw blanket somewhere on the couch. These blankets are both for style and function. Not only are they a great way to add a pop of color and texture, but we also find ourselves reaching for these very often as we cozy up on the couch.

In the left photo, you will see that we folded the throw blanket and neatly placed it on the couch for a more tailored look. When we’re going for a more cozy/casual vibe, we usually drape the blanket over the top or side of the couch (behind the pillows).

Which Look Is Your Favorite?

Neutral decorating on a couch

Honestly, we loved all three looks and think that all of them work well in this space. How about you guys… did you have a favorite?!

For those of you who can’t decide, we hope you at least were able to take away a few tips for choosing couch pillows from today’s post!

If you’re looking for even more tips, be sure to check out 10 tips for decorating with pillows and this post outlining the rookie mistake people often make when using pillows in their homes.

In the meantime, I have to figure out which pillow look I love best for our living room space. It’s a tough choice…


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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