"A throw pillow should definitely be an eye-catching, decorative accent that strengthens the colour palette in the room, so choose one of your favourite colours from the furniture fabric. If the piece is a basic neutral, try a great pattern in a colour that complements the room's scheme," says Toronto interior designer Mimi Pineau. It’s invaluable advice for those of us not naturally bestowed with the gift of picking accent colours. "Creating a contrast using either colour or texture will make the cushion stand out," she adds.
There are truly an endless variety of pillow shapes to consider -- chubby bolsters, giant squares, long rectangles. So how do you best judge what shape will work where? "If the cushion has a practical use, consider how it will be used," Mimi advises. Square works best for full back comfort, she says, whereas rectangular will support the lower back or neck, as will a foam bolster for leaning up against.
Aesthetics will come into play as well. "Also consider the scale of the furniture; bigger cushions look great on large-scaled furniture with ample seating room, but keep cushions smaller on more delicate pieces,” she recommends. Here’s a loose breakdown of the more common shapes on the market.
- Bolsters are great for daybed ends or leather sofas (they don’t slip down as squares can)
- Squares are the most common and versatile throw pillow shape, ideal for the back of a hard chair, to cosy up a sofa, on beds to add visual interest, or on the floor for kids or pets to enjoy.
- Rectangles provide lumbar support on sofas or in armchairs. Long rectangles suit king-size beds.
- Round pillows can soften up a severe sofa or chair. Flat versions are also comfortable to sit on for anything ranging from tulip-style chairs to Windsor chairs.