5 pillow arranging tricks no one told you about

Choose your own adventure to get it right every time.


If you polled a room full of decor enthusiasts about their #1 decorating guilty pleasure, we’re ready to bet that the majority would opt for decorative pillows.

Couch pillows, bed pillows, outdoor pillows, floor pillows – who doesn’t love a good pillow? Or 5!


The only problem is styling them. Are you using too many? Not enough? You feel like they kind of go together, but do they really?

The key to successful decorative pillow styling is to learn the fundamental rules, tips and tricks and to go from there. You know what they say – to break the rules, you must first master them. Get in student mode (and get ready to make some choices) because here are the basic rules to styling indoor or outdoor sofa pillows!


#1 – The set-up: a good base is everything

Etiquette rules ask you to start with the outermost fork to eat your first course. Turns out design rules are no different – you should start laying out your cushions at both ends of your sofa. Having a good base makes for a great arrangement so select 2 matching cushions in a large size (20” or more). Think of it as taking a class photo: Tall ones in the back, short ones in the front. Their oversized nature works well as a base since you’ll add smaller and smaller cushions as you move forward, while still being able to admire all of your picks. Will your base be neutral or patterned? That’s up to you, ensure simply that they are identical.



Once you have your base, choose your own adventure:

  • Are you looking to leave lots of space available on the sofa? If so, skip to tip #2.
  • Ok with a little less usable space if super cute pillows are using it? Skip to tip #3.



#2 – Lumbar it up

Almost done! All you have to do is choose a lumbar pillow in a matching yet contrasting fabric. Think about opposites: Is your base neutral? Go with a pattern. Don’t be scared of a little crazy as long as the overall colour palette makes sense. If you wish to keep the whole thing either neutral or patterned, you may do so, but make sure one of your picks pops in one way or another (aka please don’t do solid beige on solid beige). Now advance to #5.


#3 – Declare your style

For the next layer, you’ll have to decide if this is a sleeker arrangement or a funkier one. For a clean, modern look, choose a new pair of slightly smaller (18” or less) matching pillows and set them in front of your base, moving towards the center. If you’re feeling a little bit more eclectic, place 2 mismatched decorative pillows here. Keep in mind that the colour scheme should make sense in your overall room. Feel free to include a lumbar pillow as part of your mismatched pair for a little asymmetrical goodness.



Time to pick a lane again:

  • Officially pillow obsessed and want to keep going? Advance to tip #4.
  • Do you love the look you created? Advance to tip #5.



#4 – Add one more

Time to choose the pièce de résistance. Select a smaller pillow, perhaps in a fun shape or covered in an unconventional fabric, and place it on one side of your arrangement as opposed to straight in the middle. Pillow arrangements should be somewhat unbalanced and should feature an odd number of cushions in order to catch the eye, making the space feel thought out and lived in instead of too staged and boring. You did it? Now advance to #5.


#5 – Success!

You did it – you conquered pillow arranging 101! Time to go appreciate your hard work and get extra comfy! If you wish to keep learning and style your bed next, click here. Don’t forget to share your decorative pillow successes with us on Instagram using #bouclair.

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