How to Create the Perfect Coastal Sofa Pillow Combinations


Pillows are one of the best ways to elevate a space. Anytime your living room needs a refresh or a new season starts, swapping out pillow covers is one of the easiest changes to make. There are many different sofa pillow options you can choose from to convey a coastal style. When it comes to choosing the perfect blend of color, texture, pattern, and size, it can be overwhelming. Luckily, there’s some tips and tricks to make it easier for you! Here’s some things to think about to create the perfect coastal sofa pillow combinations.

pillow combinations

The Pros of Pillows

Even if you can’t refresh too many pieces in your living room, swapping pillows or pillow covers is a simple way to give the space new look. They can help elevate your sofa and overall living area, adding texture and color to a room. They add interest to your home, as throw pillows are something that are eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing. With many people having neutral-toned sofas, pillows are a less expensive area to experiment with color. This is especially great when the seasons change, as they are an easy way to add new color without a room overhaul.

A few other pros to pillows are that most covers are small for easy storage, so you can have a whole collection of pillow covers without worrying about where you’re going to keep them all. It is super easy to give your sofa or bed a new look; a new pillow arrangement can make it feel like you have a brand new couch. One of the best pro tips is to always purchase pillows with removable covers. Using a high-quality insert can elevate even a more affordable pillow cover. Once you establish a good base of inserts, a few of my favorite places to purchase affordable pillow covers are Etsy, Target, TJ Maxx, and Homegoods.

coastal pillow combinations

What Sizes Should I Use for Pillow Combinations?

When it comes to throw pillows, scale and proportion are key factors to achieve a designer look. Here are the best tips for any size sofa.

The rule of three in design is a principle that incorporates a triangle effect. Although it’s more of a guideline, it’s a good one to keep in mind for pillows. Groupings of three are pleasing to the eye and have a sense of balance. To create this look, always start with a large pillow in the back. Next, add a pillow that is a few inches smaller. Lastly, you’ll finish with a lumbar or even smaller square pillow.

More traditional designs use two pillows on each end of the soft. This works if you prefer a “less is more” look. To achieve this balance, use a larger pillow in the back and a smaller one in the front, just like above.

For sectionals, you can combine the groups of two and three for a balanced look. A pro tip for dressing up a large sectional is to take advantage of the intersections on the couch, such as the corners and breaking lines in the sectional.

For a quick and easy guide, here’s a list of the how-to’s when it comes to sizing pillows for your living room:

  • For standard size sofas:
    • 22”-24” in back (preference is 24” but 22” will work)
    • 20”- in middle
    • 18” or lumbar in front (lumbar should be at least 20” wide)
  • For sectionals:
    • On each end:
      • 24” in back
      • 20” in front
    • Middle area:
      • 22”-24” in back (preference is 24” but 22” will work)
      • 20”- in middle
      • 18” or lumbar in front (lumbar should be at least 20” wide)
coastal pillow combinations

What Colors Should I Use?

Pillows are the perfect opportunity to introduce color into your living room. Again, this is especially important during the changing of seasons. A good guide is to use 2-3 colors when mixing and matching. This will ensure that your design is interesting without feeling too busy.

When it comes to coastal decor, mixing warm and cool neutral with a pop of blue works really well. For example, you could mix beige, cream, white, gray, and blue. There are a variety of blues to choose from: navy blue, sea blue, and baby blue are all great options. For a more neutral palette, opt for cream, beige, gray, and white.

Throw pillows are a great way to mix varying shades without making your decor feel too overwhelming. Again, if you’re going for a coastal feel, having at least one pillow with a white background can help. I always love to mix patterns with solids when it comes to my throw pillow combinations.

coastal pillow combinations

How to Mix Patterns in Your Pillow Combinations

As you think about your pillow combination, here are a few tips and tricks to making that mixture look seamless. Mixing patterns can be tricky, but these guidelines can help achieve a cohesive look.

First, ground the grouping with a solid. Use this as your “base.” Next, use a large-scale print, and last add in a small-scale print. This mix creates a balanced look where pieces aren’t competing with one another. A great example of this is using plaid with a small floral print. An always fail-proof patterned pillow combination would be a solid, a striped, and a floral.

Other Tips to Create a Designer Look

For a few other ways to achieve the designer look with your pillow combinations, consider these. Use a variety of texture within your fabrics. This can help create dimensions effortlessly. Also, details like fringe and tassels can add even more texture and interest.

Next, always use pillow inserts that are two inches larger than your cover. This will ensure the overall fluff of your pillows. That fluff will give your couch the extra cozy coastal look you’re longing for. My favorite place to shop for pillow inserts is Amazon. There are so many great, affordable options there. You can find any size that you’re looking for – including lumbar pillow sizes, which can get expensive in the store.

pillow combinations, coastal pillow combinations, throw pillows

In conclusion, creating the perfect pillow combinations shouldn’t be stressful. With these tips and tricks, achieving the perfect balance is totally doable!

For more coastal inspiration, here are my best design tips!

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  1. How does anyone sit on your couch with all those pillows? While they look good, if I approach a couch with too many pillows in a home I am visiting it feels awkward to remove them for my comfort (where does one put them?) so I end up knowing I will be uncomfortable and end up perching to avoid the pillows making my back hurt or i scramble for a seat without them. While all this looks great, the reality is we live in our homes. What is wrong with just two small lumbar end pillows to support one’s arm or create a softer edge to a mid sized or smaller sofa and perhaps three pillows total for a larger one? Nothing, except it’s not magazine worthy. I love throw pillows but prefer comfort and ease of living first for ourselves and our guest. Would love to see you present comfort and ease first, especially since you are so good with color and could really help us out. A large basket to collect throw pillows is not the answer as most guest don’t know to do that and it’s awkward still. I know of many young children growing up in homes where mothers are missing the point of their children’s childhoods (a place of comfort, safety, imperfection, creativity and relaxation, to name a few things) and actually traumatizing them in order to have a Pinterest worthy home, including their children’s bedrooms which should ultimately be in the style of the child’s personality and not in the interest of impressing guest. Real life needs real solutions and beauty can be included in those if we aspire for comfort first and impressing others with material possessions lastly.

  2. Thank you for your feedback. This space is primarily used for our family to gather. Sometimes guests too, but mostly, it is just our family. And the pillows do end up on the floor some of the times. But they also are used to support a resting head watching some TV, or reading, or just relaxing. I guess the short answer is, the pillows are not only to add to the look, but also used for additional comfort. One of our favorite moments each day is when the dogs make their nest on the couch, and throw the pillows all over the place. And there is usually a fight over who gets their favorite pillows. I always design with washable and durable fabrics and that is the best way to add a little more color AND comfort. As for guests, I guess if I thought a guest was uncomfortable, I would just take it upon myself to show them that I want the space to be comfortable and if that means tossing a pillow on the floor, then that is what I would do. I always hope to inspire others that spaces can be pretty, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be touched or altered to make it more comfortable, too.

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