Here are a few tips for choosing throw pillows:
1. Size matters. For standard size sofas, 18" square pillows work well scale-wise. For a low-back midcentury sofa or chair, smaller 16" square pillows or oblong lumbar pillows would be best. Larger pillows that are 20-24 inches square can be used as well if you are looking for a more casual feel in a family or media room. Just remember that pillows should be comfortable while providing enough room to sit. If they take up too much of the seating area and need to be moved constantly, they just become a pain.
2. Many pillows like the ones above are sold as the cover only with a discreet zip closure. The insert is typically sold separately. Look for inserts that are two inches wider in each dimension than the pillow to give it that full, cushy look. For example, if you are buying a 20"x20" pillow cover, opt for a 22"x22" insert.
3. While pillow inserts filled with 50% down and 50% feathers are plush, lightweight and luxurious, they often look crumpled and require a lot of fluffing. The best option is to go for an insert that is 90% feathers and 10% down. If you like to karate chop your pillows for that magazine spread look, this is the way to go since the pillow will hold its shape well. For a more economical option, foam and synthetic fill inserts are available. They have less of that lush squish but they hold their shape very well.
4. A nice way to add variation to your room is through the use of texture. For a velvet or mohair covered side chair, a smooth silk pillow would add nice textural contrast. A leather sofa could use the soft warmth of woven wool pillows.
5. Mix it up. By using a mix of different patterns, textures, and sizes, you can create real visual interest around the room. Bring them all together as a composition with a common thread throughout by using the same color palette or style for all pillows.