Where Domino Editors Go to Buy the Best Throw Pillows
Give your couch a facelift.
Updated Jun 21, 2023 10:18 AM
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Welcome to Sofa Week, our seven-day stretch of, you guessed it, sofas. After years spent styling, sitting on, and searching for the best of the best—from bespoke designs to rare under-$500 gems—we’re compiling our couch knowledge in one comfy spot.
Domino is no stranger to a good throw pillow. Our Style team is always on the lookout for new drops, though chief creative officer Kate Berry’s covetable collection is an inspiration to all. And we love the designer directive to switch up shams every season to keep things fresh. Because why not? Your sofa or love seat is just the foundation, and bringing in color and texture by way of pillows is one of the quickest (and least expensive) ways to keep your living room looking chic. Plus throw pillows are an easy way to give an older couch a facelift.
Before you create the sofa-scape of your dreams, you’ll want our tried-and-true tips on the best places to shop for them. Whether you’re looking for a deal (H&M’s start at $5) or something with a statement-making pattern, we’re here to direct you to the ideal destination for each.
- Best for statement: Matches Fashion
- Best for block printed: Soil to Studio
- Best for velvet: West Elm
- Best for gingham: Heather Taylor Home
- Best for budget: H&M Home
- Best for solid linen: Morrow Soft Goods
- Best for scalloped: Carly Home
Best for Statement: Matches Fashion
Like the name implies, Matches Fashion is known for its clothing, but one browse through the home section and it’s clear the decor is nothing to snooze on. The curation of brands, from Les Ottomans to La DoubleJ, is not for the fearful decorator—you’ll find loud, colorful, and bold prints that are punchy enough to be the focal point of your living room. Mixing these with solids in complementary colors is a recipe for a balanced, dynamic sofa.
Best for Block Printed: Soil to Studio
Soil to Studio’s throw pillows are designed in New York and made in India, where the brand’s founder is originally from. The intricate block-printed patterns range from classic Indian florals to more modern motifs we’ve never seen in this medium, like tumbling blocks and checkers. Considering the fact that they’re 100% linen and handmade by artisans, a price range starting at $90 is quite the deal.
Best for Velvet: West Elm
Even after a few years, West Elm’s lush velvet pillow covers still look brand-new in deputy editor Julie Vadnal’s Brooklyn apartment. “I’ve spent a lot of time on my sofa the past year, and even after being squished and tossed around a bunch, they haven’t pilled or ripped at all,” she says. The cotton velvet option with a crisp linen flange is a more tailored take, and the graphic cut velvet checks every box, from pattern to texture. They’re all offered in a bounty of colors, making them easy to fit into any space.
Best for Gingham: Heather Taylor Home
When it comes to checks, plaids, and stripes, we always look to pattern-mixing professional Heather Taylor. While gingham may be in the spotlight lately thanks to a revival of cottagecore, it’s a classic print that plays well with others and always has a place in our heart. When paired with a bold print or velvety fabric, it will give even a more modern space a bit of je ne sais quoi. Each pillow, handmade in Chiapas, Mexico, is stuffed with 100% natural duck down and feathers that lend it a sturdy look and plush feel.
Best for Budget: H& M Home
H&M Home’s cushion covers start at $5—yes, you read that right. Keeping up with your pillow game can be a bit burdensome to your wallet (trust us, we know), but these are a low-risk route to bringing some freshness to your sofa, from solids to stripes. And even though they’re budget-friendly, they’re still made of natural materials; the washed linen cushion cover is 100% linen. The broad stripe may be reminiscent of summery beach loungers and umbrellas, but we’d argue the simple design can easily take up permanent residence on your couch all year long.
Best for Solid Linen: Morrow Soft Goods
Finding solid linen pillowcases isn’t hard, but nailing down the right color can take some digging. Female-founded home textile brand Morrow Soft Goods serves up the prettiest selection of seven neutral hues, from baby blue to rust, and they actually look quite nice all mixed together. Solid pillows are a great foundation from which you can throw in patterned pillows, or you can just leave it at that for an effortless, relaxed look. Made in Portugal, they include a concealed zipper and feather down insert, and they’re sold in a standard 18-by-18 size.
Best for Scalloped: Carly Home
Carly Home’s scalloped pillow covers are hand-cut and sewn in Los Angeles. Designed by Carly Blumberg, the atelier’s signature frill has also enjoyed its recent time as a trend to watch (we particularly love the look in kids’ rooms). With this cover you can add a hint of whimsy, and with a range of solid colors to choose from—we have our eye on the forest green, mulberry, and paprika—it’s a breeze to mix and match with the muted, delicate offerings. Made from linen, the larger cover, at 22-by-22 inches, features an invisible zipper. Pair with a simple stripe for a preppy look or a bolder pattern to lean into eclectic vibes.
Our Shopping Checklist
Size and Shape
The most common throw pillow sizes are 16-by-16 inches, 20-by-20 inches, and 22-by-22 inches (as well as 14-by-20 inches or 14-by-24 inches for lumbars). The most versatile option? According to designer Lauren Meichtry, owner of Elsie Home, you can’t go wrong with a 22-by-22-inch throw pillow. “It can stand alone on a chair, sofa, or bed, yet can also be paired with a small lumbar pillow without looking like there is too much going on,” she offers.
And though she likes to stick to tried-and-true rectangles and squares, different shapes have definitely gained popularity of late. Designer Breegan Jane loves incorporating round pillows, and our own style editor, Julia Stevens, has her eye on the Floca Macaron cushions from Hale Mercantile Co. “There is something about incorporating an arch with a straight line at varied heights that makes for more of a dynamic look,” shares Jane. “You can see examples of this in cityscapes or even automobile design.” Her best advice is to mix things up—throw in a bolster or pair a round pillow with a square one. Combine tall and wide pillows. And if all else fails? “Go oversize,” she says.
Cleaning and Maintenance
“I recommend selecting throw pillows with removable covers so you’re able to wash or dry-clean them,” says Meichtry. This, she explains, is key to extending the lifetime of your decorative pillow covers. Just give the tag a quick glance to check if you’re able to toss the insert in a machine or need to give it a scrub by hand. Hanging covers or putting them on a low tumble dry are the safest ways to avoid any shrinkage from occurring.
There are plenty of pillow insert options, from down feathers to polyester fibers, but the standard according to the designers we spoke to is actually a combination of goose and down, or duck and down. “You might see a range of mixes, but a standard fill is 10/90, meaning 10% down and 90% feather,” explains Meichtry. “We have found this is the best formula for a comfortable yet sturdy pillow.”
For a hypoallergenic option, consider a synthetic like angel hair, which Meichtry describes as a high-quality, silky polyester that’s designed to retain its fluffiness (because, let’s be honest, a gorgeous exterior is only as beautiful as its plush interior).
- Tamam introduced its first fabric collection—five hand-block prints inspired by the Ottoman Empire’s detailed ceramic tile designs—last month for the fall and winter season that our editors have their eye on.
- Another great velvet option you shouldn’t sleep on is CB2’s leisure pillow.
- We love the thought behind Utopia Goods’s cushion covers—all of which are hand-illustrated in Sydney—as they honor Australia’s threatened wildlife and botanicals.
Q: Where’s the best place to buy cushion inserts online?
It’s important to note that most of the options on this list require a separate insert purchase. Fear not, you can buy pillow inserts pretty much everywhere, but Jane swears by Walmart. “The store offers them in a ton of different shapes and sizes,” she notes, and they’re incredibly affordable, to boot. Otherwise designers tend to source their inserts from the same place as the covers for a perfect fit. Meichtry does, however, have a hot tip—couch pillow covers are measured when flat, without the insert, so always opt for filling that’s 2 inches larger. For example, she’ll pair a 22-inch insert with a 20-inch cover for optimal fluff. For lumbars, though, she says it’s generally safe to stick to the same size.
Q: What are some tips for mixing and matching throw pillows in different colors and patterns. As in: Where do I start?!
“We love to mix and match different textures and patterns to bring character into a space,” offers California-based designer Lindye Galloway, who prefers to start with a neutral sectional or love seat and then accessorizes with throw blankets and pillows to bring in various colors or materials (or both). For Jane, it’s always easiest to steer clients (and friends!) toward a color wheel. “Pick colors in a triangle or straight across from each other. Doing so will give you complementary combinations that will be pleasing to the eye,” she notes. “If you are a fan of neutrals like I am, you can easily mix and match cream, gray, white, and black with wild abandon.”
Meichtry’s method is a bit more technical—asymmetry is the answer, so she places pillows in odd numbers. On a sofa, for example, she’ll use three pillows in one corner: two squares and one lumbar. For extra-large furniture, you can pile pillows in the middle, too. “Focus on mixing, not matching,” she advises. “You don’t want your pillows to look like they came with the sofa.” Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to tap six different prints to achieve a curated look, but do keep it visually interesting at each end. Aside from pattern, this can be a mix of anything, even fabrics, such as linen versus velvet.
Q: On average, how long should a quality throw pillow last?
“A high-quality throw pillow could technically last a lifetime,” says Meichtry, who stresses that you just have to take good care of it, whether that’s washing or dry-cleaning the cover, and—perhaps most important—placing the inserts out in the sun every now and then to kill off dust mites.
The Last Word
According to Meichtry, throw pillows for sofas, chairs, and entryway benches—you name it—can instantly bring warmth and comfort into your home. Though there are endless pairing possibilities (not to mention available options on the market), just think of your pillows as the ultimate finishing touch to a design—or jewelry for your room.