1.13.2017

Read This Before You Buy Another Throw Pillow!


(in photo two 24" squares, one 22" square and one 18 x 26")

How do you know what size throw pillows will work for you?  Liana, "The Pillow Master" has a great eye and is an excellent seamstress for all soft fabric décor.   Here are her sizing tips for pillows.

(Incidentally, Liana is beautiful and sort of shy...as in "doesn't like to be in the limelight"...but I dragged her here anyway :)

The rest of this post is thanks to Liana...

An interior designer will be able to determine the right size and number of pillows to best suit your furniture.  And as I normally tell my clients:
..." hiring a designer, is more affordable than you might imagine, and not only will save you time, and headaches, but also will keep you from making expensive mistakes."
But, if you enjoy tackling the challenge, here are some tips for selecting adequate pillow sizes for sofas, chairs, and banquettes.

Note : These are not rules, but simple "fool proof" tips to create seating arrangements that are comfortable, balanced and in good proportion.

A pillow cover, when laying flat, will have a certain height and width (in this case we have a 20" high x 20" wide pillow cover). 
 Once stuffed, the cover will gain another dimension, and its depth will be a number of inches taken from the height and the width of the flat cover. 

In other words, once stuffed, your 20"pillow cover will no longer measure 20" high.
Here is a dimensional size chart for pillows (these are approximate dimensions, and apply to designer grade well-filled pillows).
Pin or print this chart as I typed it up for you (and for me) from Liana's hand written notes.


Try to follow the proportions of your sofa, and avoid getting pillows that are too small (as it looks cheap and generic), or too big (gigantic pillows will look more like back cushions and will rob the depth needed for seating ). 
May I comment here?  I have a client who thought she was getting a great deal on a bunch of designer pillows from Etsy (before she hired me), and when she got them they were only 12" x 12"...so stuffed, you can imagine...like doll pillows!  For squares, I rarely order less than 22", 20" minimum.  OK, I will shut up now. Just look at Debbie's pretty pillows...

Measure your sofa's BACK HEIGHT and SEATING DEPTH.
To determine the best depth of the pillow, leave at least 16"~17" of depth for comfortable seating.  For the height, it's a good idea not to let the larger pillows surpass the sofa's back height.
The height and depth of your seating will determine the SIZE of your pillows (refer to the chart above).
Also, get good, over-sized down and feather or feather alternative inserts to avoid the sad, dilapidated pillow look.

The width lengthwise of your sofa will determine the NUMBER OF pillows. 
I love the way five pillows looks on my 6' sofa but four (below) gives some room to sit.

Look how cute these lumbars on this 
loveseat look by Marie Flanigan... 

Arm chairs:
I find that arm chairs are mostly comfortable with lumbar pillows instead of squares. 
Again, measure the BACK HEIGHT, SEATING DEPTH and SEATING WIDTH. Choose the pillow height at half of chair's back height, and pillow width at the zipper, as close as possible to the seating width. 

A lumbar pillow should give enough seating depth, but if your chair has extra deep seating, choose instead a large square pillow to provide a full back support of an added back cushion.
Juxtaposition Home 


Banquettes :
If you have a backless banquette (like a window seat for instance), choose large square pillows that will function as back cushions and will provide a full back support (leave at least 15"~16"of depth for comfortable seating).


If your banquette has a padded or upholstered back, then lumbars or smaller square pillows should give you the right amount of support. Remember to save at least 15"~16" for comfortable seating depth .

With my 6 foot wing settee, the back is high enough to accommodate 24"pillows but the seating depth is not deep enough.  The best way to address this situation was using taller lumbar pillows which are less deep than squares, to balance the higher back.  I used here  three 18"x28" lumbar pillows.

Below is a six foot love seat with deep seating and a high back.  While it's a small sofa, the high back accommodates 24" pillows that will also provide needed support.

My 7 foot RH Belgian Track arm sofa is the 38" classic depth. As seen, it has shallow seating and shorter back cushions, while this is a larger sofa than the previously shown, the height x depth ratio won't allow pillows larger than 22".

Me again.  This is Liana's living room.  She bought that mirror on the mantel from Craig's List for $10, removed the frame and then antiqued the back. And look at her pillows.  You can see why she is the Pillow Master!
Thanks so much, Liana, 
for sharing your knowledge and great style.

And thank YOU for visiting!!!

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57 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Marty. I'm glad that Liana was so generous with her time!

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  2. Oh my gosh, Liana's pillows are just gorgeous and so are her beautiful spaces. Fresh and comfortable. Love her style. Getting some fun ideas.

    Thanks for the dimension chart, too. I will refer to it before buying another pillow.

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  3. I love when you have Liana over to talk about pillows on the blog!! I share her pillow stuffing method all the time! These guides are SO helpful....thank you both so much Mary Ann and Liana!! And Liana, your house is gorgeous!! PS Do you ladies have any recommendations for good sources of down pillow inserts? Ikea has inexpensive ones but they are only 20".

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    1. Lisa, These are really good... and please tell them I sent you. And when in doubt, they are really helpful on the telephone.
      http://www.interiorlinens.com/

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  4. Wonderful chart and post: great to actually see each size sofa with various pillows. I never really liked lumbars until we bought the upholstered bench in the dining area: they work just perfectly there!

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  5. What an amazingly thorough blog post on a subject that most don't give much thought to. Thanks for the terrific information. On a side note, I'm so glad you now have the opportunity to sign into comments on your blog using a URL. I used to have the darndest time trying to leave a comment here. Although I'm a avid follower I haven't been commenting because it never seemed to work. Happy new year!

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    1. Now, you can leave anonymous comments, too, Celia...I just hope I don't get any mean ones :)
      Happy New Year to you!

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  6. This is going to be so helpful to your readers. What a great post! Liana's living room is absolutely gorgeous! She is so talented. You guys make a great team!

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    1. I would love to drink wine with you and Liana in her living room...she has a view of the ocean, too!!!

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  7. This is so useful, and the timing is perfect. I am DIYing a bunch of pillowcases--the best way to get what you want is to DIY. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm saving this post!

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    1. Yes!!! If you can sew! I can't. And now that I have seen Liana's precision...I've given up hope.

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  8. GREAT post! I'm bookmarking it and then printing the charting you so thoughtfully provided.This is why I read your blog. : )

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    1. Comments like THIS are why I write the blog... :)

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  9. Terrific information - and Liana's house is gorgeous!

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    1. You don't have to worry about this stuff, TC...I will take care of you.

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  10. Love Liana and she is definitely the pillow master, she has made pillows for me in the past and the quality surpasses any other pillows I have had made. I lost touch with her since she is no longer on Etsy!! Her advice and chart have been officially pinned, great advice. I too only like 24,22, or 20 in. pillow and there is nothing better than a good proportioned lumbar!! Thank you for this post, it was GREAT!!

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    1. I miss her shop, too, Kathysue...that's how I found her!

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  11. Great post, pillows always bring a room together. I can't seem to pin the chart as you suggested Mary Ann. Any suggestions.

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    1. Do you see the little Pin sign in the upper left of the chart. Barbara? It just worked for me.

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  12. Would love to know the size Liana sews for the cover of any pillow! i.e. If using a 22"pillow, does she cut the cover 22"? Then sewn with 1/2 inch seam would be a little snug. I've sewn pillows before and that's how I cut, but depending on the material, they're not as full as I would like. Hers look so full! I've used 100% goose down in the past, but think I'll use a combo in the future. Not so squishy.

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    1. She cuts larger than 22"...like 23" so that it ends up being 22" flat. I use 90/10 goose down. I am thinking I will do a follow-up post to this and talk about mixing patterns too.

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  13. Do you use the same size insert as the cover or do you use a a
    larger insert for a firmer fit?

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    Replies
    1. Order from Interior Linens and then its the same size ...I will post about this. If you get from say, Pottery Barn...get much larger inserts...I have put 26" inserts in 22" squares there.

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  14. Hi Mary Ann,
    Liana is definitely the pillow master among other wonderful things that you've shared that she's done. As you know, I sew my own pillows, nothing like Liana's, so I can surely use this wonderful information that she has
    shared with us. I love every pillow in every photo that you posted! Bravo Liana, you're amazing!
    xo Gail

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  15. And her home is so gorgeous, just like yours. You make a wonderful team!

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    Replies
    1. You are an amazing seamstress, too, Gail.

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  16. I am definitely bookmarking this one, such great information. I am replacing all the pillows, cushions, as we call them, in our guest house and it will be so good to read this and get it right. Have a great weekend.

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  17. This is a great, informative post..but what also grabs me are the wonderful lamps and how you dressed them. Really nice.

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  18. This is a great post. I love informative articles that help us make good choices. Happy to report after using your measurement guide that my pillows are " just right" to quote Goldie Lockd. And, .i love down/feather fillers.

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  19. Great information and photos. Does Liana have a blog or website so we can see more of her home? The photo of her living room is wonderful and I'd love to see more. I just pinned it to my Interiors board. The coffee table is so interesting! And of course the pillows are great, too.
    Claudia

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    1. She sent me more photos than I used...so another blog post. Liana is private and doesn't have a website. Sorry. But she says she will send me photos occasionally, Claudia.

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  20. as others have said, great post! I only wished i had known about the interior linens website before i ordered my duvet…oh well, i have noted them for future purchase of pillow inserts. Thank you!

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  21. Lovely post! And I'm the lucky recipient of so many of these beautiful pillows! Couldn't be a luckier daughter!

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  22. Excellent post, and beautiful pillows Mary Ann.

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  23. So much great information, Mary Ann and I love seeing Liana's beautiful images. I've bookmarked the dimensional size chart to reference! Happy weekend!

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  24. Thanks so much. I'm sure I'll refer to this post many times. Great info!!

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  25. Oh man. I have a throw pillow obsession. I must have had 20 pillows on my bed at one point! This will definitely be helpful in the future, but I recently had my new apartment living room furnished by a company called Furnishr (http://furnishr.com) and one of the reasons I chose the design was because of the accent pillows that they had on their couch. I know, I'm insane, but I think there is something comforting about the right type of pillow!

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  26. beautiful pillows represented here! without a doubt, i am doing nothing right in terms of selecting the right scale so when you see pics of pillows at my place, please feel free to giggle and feel superior! like a lot of people, i simply can't resist buying a pillow that speaks to me, regardless of its dimensions. if ever i have a proper house (ha!), this is the sort of orderly help i will need (i almost typed 'professional help' but we already know i need that!).

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    1. Michele, these are just guidelines... I have a big lumbar that I love on one of my sofas (Liana made it) that doesn't fit into the above categories. I love a collected look, too!

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  27. its posts like this that make me wonder why a publisher has not scooped you up to write a book. cant wait for the followup posts :)

    xoxo,
    nancy

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  28. Nancy’s right . . . you need to start a book NOW! Great information . . . I lived too long with too-small pillows. Now I know!

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  29. Now it is official.....you and I definitely share a deep love of pillows:)

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    1. You have more space to store them though, Sherry!

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  30. Terrific post Mary Ann! Thanks so much!-
    Xo Nancy

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  31. How often do you replace pillows or do you wash them?

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    1. Hi Karen... read this...
      http://www.classiccasualhome.com/2012/11/pillow-masters-tips-and-100-giveaway.html

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    2. Sorry I wasn't clear... I meant the pillow inserts. Do you replace them after a certain period or wash them? Thanks!!!

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    3. If they get too flat after a few years...I toss them. Here is a way to clean them
      http://www.classiccasualhome.com/2012/11/important-pillow-tip-and-thank-you.html

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  32. Hi, Mary Ann! I have a pillow shop on Etsy and years before I started my shop, I remember admiring Liana's lovely shop. She always had great photos of her pillows.

    The info you and Liana have provided here is so valuable and I will be sure to send some of my customers here when they ask about sizing. It can be so hard to explain why a 20x20 pillow cover does not look as large once the insert is stuffed in!

    One question for you -- do you have a search bar on your blog? Maybe I've just overlooked it, but I can't seem to find one. I wanted to search for other pillow tidbits on your blog. (I saw the other two links to 2012 posts that you provided in the comments, and I remember reading those back in the day!)

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It's SO nice to hear from you!

 
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