Ultimate Decorative Pillow Guide

Ultimate Decorative Pillow Guide

Let’s Talk Throw Pillows & Accent Cushions!

In this guide, we will be explaining what decorative pillows are, otherwise known as throw cushions or accent pillows. Whether you are already a sucker for decorative cushions or you’re just used to sleeping with a simple fluffy pillow beneath your head, we are here to explain the WHY behind certain decorative pillow shapes.

But first, let’s quickly explain the WHAT - and why you should care in the first place!

What are decorative pillows?

Decorative pillows are often referred to as ‘throw’ or ‘accent’ pillows (or cushions). These extra pillows are typically used to dress a well-made bed, but they also make great accessories for chairs & sofas, too.

Why and how are decorative pillows used?

Unlike regular pillows, the purpose of decorative pillows goes beyond function and isn’t limited to just the bed. Going further, they don’t just make a bed (or sofa/armchair) look more stylish, they can actually transform the entire room they are in!

For a relatively easy and budget-friendly way to give your home decor the wow factor, we couldn’t recommend decorative pillows highly enough. Whether you’re switching up a bedroom look for the season or adding extra flair to living areas, cushions are the ultimate style accessory. Here’s more about each type and how we like to use them.

Types of decorative pillows

Euro

Euro pillows are large square-shaped pillows.

How They’re Used: Typically placed first, their extra height allows them to poke out and be seen behind any other pillows used on the bed! Euros often sit upright, resting against the headboard, and for beds without a headboard - euro pillows act as one! Functionally, they are an ideal size (traditionally 26” x 26”) for leaning against and perfect for reading in bed, comfortably!

Styling Tip: Buy three for a King size bed, or two for a Queen or Double. Remember that you will need an insert for each euro-sized sham.

Diagram of decorative purple Euro Pillow Shams, Bergen Pillow Shams and our Corduroy Round Cushion in Mauve on a bed.

Shop Euro Shams

Shop Euro Inserts

Lumbar Pillow

Like euros, lumbar pillows also serve a functional purpose! As the name might suggest, these rectangular pillows offer back support when seated on a sofa or bed. Visually, these pillows are adored for their eye-catching length!

How They’re Used: From a visual point of view, the striking length of lumbar pillows does a lot of the heavy lifting! For a minimal approach, you need only a single lumbar pillow to elevate your bed or sofa.

Styling Tip: For a low-maintenance pillow makeover, pair a lumbar pillow with two euro pillows (these are placed at the back), sandwiching your regular pillows in between! You’ll be amazed at the difference three extra pillows can make to your bedroom.

Diagram of our Frosty Thundercloud Lumbar Pillow on a white bed.

Shop Lumbar Pillow in Frosty Thundercloud

Shop Lumbar Pillow in Camellia Pink

Boudoir Pillows

A boudoir pillow is a small rectangular pillow with a decorative spirit.

How They’re Used: Being smaller than most of the other pillows, boudoir pillows are best used as a finishing touch, either alone or with a twin. Rest these against your regular pillows or add a single boudoir as a lovely centerpiece for your bed!

Styling Tip: Don’t be shy when it comes to texture and embellishments, boudoirs don’t necessarily have to be comfortable!

Diagram of our Tufted Stripe Boudoir Pillow Cover and Knotted Pouf Round Cushion on a bed styled with Charity Duvet Collection.

Shop Boudoir Cushion Covers

Shop Boudoir Inserts

Round Cushions

Think outside the box with round cushions, we love using these to add a stylish and fun textile element to the bedroom or living room!

How They’re Used: Typically these are better as individuals, rather than in a matching pair. Like other smaller-sized cushions, round cushions make a great final touch. Round cushions look great in the middle of your bed (or slightly off-centred), think of them as the cherry on top of your bed!

Styling Tip: Pair with a larger euro cushion for use on an armchair or single bed. Simple yet effective!

Diagram of our Aqua Round Corduroy Cushion on a bed dressed with our Sicily Bedding Collection.

Shop Round Cushions

Square Cushions

Square cushions are often used on sofas, and are just at home styled on a bed! Smaller than a euro pillow, they are the classic accessory pillow.

How They’re Used: There’s really no limit to how square cushions can be used! Buy in pairs for symmetrical placement on your bed. For cushion enthusiasts, you may prefer to collect these in various patterns and colours, as they can be easily combined (and in odd numbers) for an ‘effortless’ aesthetic.

Styling Tip: Invest in a few square cushion inserts, then you can invest in removable (and washable!) cushions covers for much easier care.

Diagram of our White Square Cushion styled on our Nairn Bedding Collection with our Frosty Shaggy Throw

Shop Square Cushion Covers

Shop Square Pillow Inserts

How to style throw pillows

Step 1: Choose Your Colours

Try to pull colours from throughout the rest of your bedroom. A good place to start is your bedding or upholstery colour. You don’t necessarily want to match these exactly, but you do want the colours to ‘work’ together in one way or another. Your room’s rugs, artwork, and walls are all excellent sources of inspiration to draw from!

Mixing neutrals with accent colours is a great way to achieve visual balance! In general, it’s safest to keep pastels, jewel tones, and earthy colours together (ie. paired within their own category) however, rules were made to be broken!

GIF animation of two colourways, one blue and one neutral made up of fabric swatches from our throws, duvet collections and cushion covers.

Step 2: Pick Some Patterns

Play with size and scale to add visual interest. Don’t be afraid to combine different looks, as even floral prints can be paired with geometric patterns with the right patterns & colours!

The key to achieving mix and match perfection is a juxtaposition between small (think ‘busy’), medium and large patterns. A good rule of thumb is to choose three different patterns, including any block colours.

GIF animation of three pattern collections using our QE Home fabric swatches.

Step 3: Name The Number

The number of pillows depends on the size of your bed or sofa, and personal preference! For an aesthetic that leans more eccentric or modern, an odd number of pillows positioned in a slightly haphazard fashion can inject the perfect amount of chaos.

For a more traditional or classic style, you might want to go with an even number of pillows, with an even & symmetrical placement. Our QE Home Sleep Experts have done the research, and have determined it's IMPOSSIBLE to have too many pillows!

Our Boca Bedding Collection and Alder Bedding Collection dressed with decorative euro pillows, round cushions and boudoir cushions.

Step 4: Select Size & Shape

Use an assortment of various shapes and sizes to create the perfect display and fit your comfort preferences. Mix and match square, round, rectangular pillows to easily change up the look of your space, and make it so your bed doesn’t become a bunch of bouncy boxes!

It also helps to have a range of sizes, from large euro pillows to smaller round and square cushions. This way, your bed will have a diverse lineup of comforts to make it even more unique!

Grid of four decorative pillow types, including our Round Corduroy Cushion in Mauve, our Gibson Boudoir Cushion, Our Linen Look Euro Pillow in Willow and our black Inkstone Square Cushion.

Step 5: Top Off With Some Texture

While pattern, colour, size and shape are crucial factors, our final tip is to try and incorporate textural, tactile details. Certain fabrics are naturally textured, while some pillows feature embellishments such as tassels or tufted elements.

Images of our Angora square cushion in Ocean, and our Diamond square cushion.

Decorative pillow styling tips

Here are some of our bestselling looks and tips on achieving these stunningly dressed beds!

Look 1

Diagram of our Zest Bedding Collection dressed with our Tufted Boudoir Cushion Cover in Harbour

A rectangular boudoir pillow ties in with the bright summery palette used in the Zest Collection. This pop of blue sits as a contrasting yet coordinating addition. This is a really nice way of breaking up the yellow palette and adding vibrancy without ‘stealing the show’. For a coordinated look that’s not ‘matchy-matchy’ try adding another similar tone such as our Linen Look Euro Shams in Willow.

Get this look with:

Styled with Zest Duvet Cover and Eucalyptus Luxe Sheet Set in Canary

Look 2

Grey bed dressed with our Sheldon Bedding Collection with coordinating Sheldon pillow shams and Sheldon square cushion cover.

Grey cushions are used in this look for a calming, minimalist aesthetic. Notice how the different tones add a subtle contrast without disrupting the soft harmony of an all-grey palette? Try a multi-tonal patterned grey such as our Danube Pillow Sham for a similar effect! For a ‘lived in’ look, try scattering cushions on top and experiment with asymmetrical pillow placement. This technique helps to add visual tension when sticking to a single colour!

Get this look with:

Styled with Sheldon Duvet Cover

Look 3

A diagram of our Anya Bedding Collection dressed with our Tufted Stripe Boudoir Pillow Cover and Diamond Square Cushion Cover.

Textured details are a fantastic way of adding visual interest without deviating from a chosen colour scheme. Here, a tufted pillow sham and boudoir perfectly blend with the beautifully beige Anya collection.

Get this look with:

Styled with Anya Duvet Cover and Vintage Washed European Linen Pillowcases in Natural

Look 4

A diagram of our Nairn Bedding Collection dressed with our Round Corduroy Cushion in Teal and Waffle Euro Shams.

In this example, this bed has been styled using the concept of ‘analogous’ colour pairing. Different to the previous monochromatic example (where all colours are the same), this look uses colours that sit adjacent to each other on the colour wheel, e.g. green and blue, or blue and purple.

Notice that when compared to the gradient blues of the duvet cover, the round corduroy pillow is a brighter shade and the euro pillows are a much darker shade? With the dark forest green sheets moving even further away in the colour wheel, these layers combine to form a multi-dimensional and elevated look.

Get this look with:

Styled with Nairn Duvet Cover and BeechBliss TENCEL™ Modal Sheet Set in Rainforest


Decorative cushions are an excellent and easy way to add colour and texture to the spaces you love most in your home. We hope our tips get you excited to start expressing your style and experiment with different types of cozy cushions. Get yours at any of our 75+ store locations around Canada, our Sleep Stylists always love to help! Happy decorating!

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