Pillow Talk 101

Posted by Diana Albrecht on

Some of the most asked questions we get at the shop are: What size pillows should I get for my couch, bed etc. How do I arrange them? What patterns and colors go well together? What type of insert is recommended? How do I clean them? 


So in this blog we’ll be answering all those questions so you can feel confident when you pick your pillow combos and get the beautiful ‘out of a magazine’ look that you’ve been dreaming about :)


1- What size pillows should I get for my couch, bed etc., and how do I arrange them?

Pillows look best when they are layered and vary in size and shape. There is no ‘one’ way to do this, the arrangement of pillows will vary with the size of the couch/bed you are working with. 

We have put together a few examples, so you can use them as reference when putting your pillow combinations together.

1- L-shaped Couch

L-shaped Couch Pillow Arrangement

2- Sectional Couch

Sectional Couch Pillow Arrangement

3- Two to Three-seater Couch

Two-seater three-seater pillow arrangement

4- Loveseat

Loveseat Pillow Combination

5- Bed

Bed Pillow Combinations and Arrangement

Pillow Combinations for Bed

 Shop Apartment No.3 Throw Pillows

Note: You will have to size up 2'' in all of these pillow examples if the scale of your furniture is larger than what is displayed in the examples. 


2- What patterns and colors go well together?

Mixing colors and patterns can be overwhelming… I know… this is why we follow the tips of people that have been in the interior design space for a long time and have made hundreds of pillow combinations for years, such as the styling queen Emily Henderson. 

First tip: Edit your color palette. Get down to 3-4 colors. Adding more colors than that will make the space look too busy and less cohesive. Pick colors that you see around your space, just like we mentioned in our last blog ‘5 Easy Ways to Transform Your Space’. You can draw inspiration from your wall art, other textiles in the room such as your couch color, rugs, baskets, greenery/flowers, throw blankets or any other decor element that you love. 


Once you have made up your mind on the colors, identify pattern sizes. You can totally mix and match patterns. The best way to do this is by identifying the size of the patterns. In the example below there are two pillows with the same size pattern, as you can see they are competing with each other. Replace one of them with another pillow with a smaller scale pattern, so the eye can differentiate them. One way to test this is by squinting your eyes, if you can clearly differentiate the patterns from one to another, you are on the right path, if not that means that they are too similar.

How to mix patterned pillows

 Shop Mud Cloth Pillows

Tip 2: Limit the amount of patterns to 2-3.

As much as we like patterns because they can be so intricate and beautiful. If you only have patterned design pillows on your couch or bed, it will start to look too busy and overwhelming again… Pick a few neutral pillows, or subtle stripes to balance out the strength of patterned pillows and give your eyes a bit of a rest. Another great option are neutral pillows with texture, they not only balance the overall look of your pillow combination but they also add depth.


Remember to mix-and-match patterned pillows with solid colors throughout the space you are styling, to avoid concentrating all patterns in one corner, and make some spaces heavier than others. 


3-What type of insert is recommended?

Size up on your pillow inserts.

Use pillow inserts that are 2’’ larger than the pillow covers. For example if your pillow cover is 18’’ fill it up with a 20’’ pillow insert. This will make your pillows look upright, a plump look and add comfort and support when you rest on them. However for lumbar pillows it is recommended to use the same pillow insert size as the cover. Our Premium Down Alternative a.k.a Faux Down pillow inserts are our personal favorite. They are hypoallergenic, cruelty free, provide the ultimate softness while still providing support, are machine washable and hold up that karate chop perfectly :)


To chop or not to chop?

It is truly up to you and your personal preference :)

Chopped pillows are really just a finishing touch that often make the pillows just look a bit more put together. It does not add to the functionality of the pillows at all, it is just a pure aesthetic preference. Let us know if you karate chop your pillows down in the comments! We would love to know! Are you team chop or no chop?

Chopped or Not Chopped Pillows?

 Willow Noir Hand Block Printed Pillow 

4-How do I clean them?

Most of our pillows are handmade from different renewable materials, and naturally dyed by artisans from different parts of the world. Which makes them more special and precious. 


To best determine how to care for your throw pillows, you must first identify what your pillows are made out of. Some pillows can be washed in the washing machine, while other pillows need to be either hand-washed, spot cleaned or professionally dry cleaned to prevent damage or discolorations to these precious fabrics. 


Pillows made from delicate fabrics such as wool, typically need to be dry-cleaned.

Pillows made out of cotton, or linen can be washed in the washing machine on a delicate setting. Most pillows can be spot cleaned. When in doubt ‘go safe’ and test the fabric with a damp towel and blot the towel on a small area of the pillow cover to see if colors transfer, if you decide to hand wash or spot clean them use mild soap and cold water :)


You can always access the care instructions for our pillows by going to the bottom of our home page and clicking on Product Care/Cleaning Guide.


We hope this blog clarified some of your doubts when it comes to pillows. 

Let us know if you have any questions down below in the comments :)


Have a beautiful week!


The team at Apartment No.3

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