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Decorative Pillow Buying Guide

Floral Throw Pillow

Decorative pillows, or throw pillows as they’re sometimes called, are a simple décor element that can make a big impact around the home. They can go in the bedroom to offer a design touch and extra comfort, or be tossed on a sofa or accent chair in the living room to tie in colors or emphasize a theme.

Decorative pillows can even help create a cozy spot on the floor to make a casual reading nook or the ideal spot for morning meditation.

Their manageable size, variety of styles and relatively low price point make throw pillows a great addition to almost any room. Although they are simple yet versatile, there are many options to consider.

So to make things a bit easier, here’s a quick rundown of the most important features you’ll find when shopping for decorative pillows for your home.


Sizes & Shapes

Some pillow sizes and shapes work better in different spots. One of the common pillow shapes listed below is sure to work perfectly for your space:

  •   • Rectangular pillows function equally well as a stand-alone accent or as a foundational piece to create the perfect base for other decorative elements. Common rectangular sizes include 12x16 inch, 12x24 inch, and 16x26 inch.
  •   • Square pillows are the quintessential throw pillows that can be tossed just about anywhere. Common square pillow sizes include 16x16 inch, 18x18 inch, 20x20 inch, 24x24 inch, and 26x26 inch. Floor pillows and cushions are also frequently square shaped. These come in much larger sizes to be suitable for sitting or lounging.
  •   • Round pillows provide dimension and visual interest in an unconventional pillow shape. These go particularly well as a single accent pillow in a chair, or as part of a grouping on a bed.
  •   • Bolster or neck roll pillows are cylindrically shaped pillows that come in a variety of sizes and can make perfect armrests at the ends of a sofa, offer comfy neck support for lounging or present a shape that looks proportional on a large bed.

Aside from these more common shapes, you can also find a range of novelty pillows that can add unexpected and fun shapes for a whimsical or themed look.

Rectangular Shaped Throw Pillow Square Shaped Throw Pillow Circle Shaped Throw Pillow Bolster Throw Pillow








The fill of a decorative pillow is the material that it is stuffed with. Some pillows are sewed shut with permanent stuffing while others have removable pillow inserts that can be switched out so you can wash the pillow sham.

  •   • Cotton batting is one of the most common pillow fillings. It consists of light and fluffy cotton that gives a pillow a pleasant plumpness.
  •   • Down fill is made of the soft, fluffy under-layer of goose feathers, and it offers luxurious comfort as well as great durability. Pillows with down fill offer an airy, extra soft and easy-to-shape texture.
  •   • Polyfill is a truncation of “polyester fiber fill,” a comfortable, lightweight synthetic material. It has the distinct advantage of being hypoallergenic, so it’s great for people with allergies.
  •   • Eco-fill a widely encompassing name for a couple environmentally friendly pillow fill options. Some eco-fill is polyfill made from post-consumer materials, while other eco-fill options use organic cotton grown which is grown without the use of pesticides.

Details & Embellishments

Ruffled Throw Pillow

Throw pillows can have a huge range of decorative details and embellishments. The options are nearly limitless, but some of the most common ones to look for include:

  •   • Ruffles – These can be just along the edges, or across the whole pillow as a fun textural element.
  •   • Beading – Another great textural element that adds interest with varying colors, shapes and sheens.
  •   • Embroidery or Needlepoint - These are some of the most detailed designs that you will encounter in the world of decorative pillows. Embroidery and needlepoint designs range from the classic monogrammed pillow to full landscapes or still-life in thread.
  •   • Tassels – Frequently used as edging or as accents on pillow corners.


Throw pillows come in just about any material you can imagine – from fine linen to burlap, leather to vinyl – if you can sew with it, chances are you can find a decorative pillow made of it.

Take a look, find a style and feel that works for your space, and have fun decorating with all the options out there!

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