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  • Writer's pictureJulie Sousa

Mastering the Art of Throw Pillow Selection With Your Phone

How to Become Throw Pillow Connoisseur in One Simple, and Easy Step


Have you ever seen or purchased a couch that came with matching throw pillows? “How convenient that I have one less thing to think about or purchase”, some might say.

Believe it or not, there’s an art to mastering throw pillow selection, and it’s simpler than you think. What if I told you, you could master it right from your home? Well, you can... because the real secret to nailing down the perfect throw pillow selection is by taking a picture.

"...the real secret to nailing down the perfect throw pillow selection is by taking a picture."

When it comes to selection, it’s all about colors, textures and fabrics. Take these elements into account with respect to both your pillows and the furniture you’re working with, and you’re on your merry way to becoming a throw pillow aficionado.

Because colors tend to be the easiest for people to understand and for me to explain, I’ll walk through this exercise with colors.


First thing’s first: step back from your space, and take that picture.

In your photo, what are the dominant colors you see? Where are these colors located in relation to the overall photo? Are they all in one corner, edge, or area? Or are they evenly distributed? (If they’re evenly distributed, then you may pass go and collect $200).

Dominant colors will be those that are most prominent in your space. For instance, in a small bedroom, the dominant ones might be one’s duvet, rug, and / or furniture color.

When picking out my throw pillows, I like to stay far away from these colors or shades; and instead, focus on creating contrast by pulling in those that I see less of in the room (these colors, I’ll refer to as backstage colors – yes, like backstage dancers, because that’s literally what they’re doing). By doing this, I’m able to tie everything in the space together, and create harmony.

To begin this exercise, let’s first go back to art 101. Rather than focus on the elements that make up this picture above, think: colors only. In this example, black and tan will be the dominants.

If you take a closer look, you'll notice that this photo can quite literally be split in half in terms of bright and dark shades, with all of the brights up top, and all of the darks on the bottom. This, my friends, is the opposite of harmony.

If you can neatly separate the colors in your photo into groups or areas like this, then you’re doing it wrong.

So let’s fix it.

At the very right and left edges of this photo, you have your backstage colors: the greys and silvers (in the form of lamps and décor). The mission here is to make sure all of your shades and colors get plenty of love.

Before I can continue though, I should add that although white happens to be dominant in the literal, 2D photo sense, in reality, if you were standing in that very room you would see that it’s also a backstage color, since very little to none has been brought back into the furniture. It’s all about spreading and integrating your colors evenly across your canvas.

In our example, bringing white in toward the center will help create that sense of balance and fluidity.

Now that we’ve nailed down our backstage colors, the whites and greys, let’s pull them into the center of the picture and give them some love in the form of new pillows. See below! (Pretend the old black pillows aren't behind my photoshopped ones, a girl can only do so much.)

Can you hear the furniture singing? New pillows, new room.


The same exercise we did above for colors can be done for textures and fabrics. If your dominant fabric is suede like our photo, we want to select those that will contrast in either weight or texture.

In the case of suede, although it’s actually a high-quality leather, it will contrast in texture and finish to normal leather (soft vs shiny), making leather a great option for throw pillows. In addition, woven textures, or linen are strong contenders; woven varies in texture from suede, while linen varies in weight.

Think, “opposites attract”.


Last but not least, less is more. If your guests can’t find a place to sit without having to move pillows, you might want to consider toning it down. You want to ensure your furniture and space still provides functionality, rather than create more work for you or your guests.

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