A Beginner's Guide to Picking Out the Perfect Accent Pillows

Posted by Melissa Mott on Sep 4, 2015 10:00:00 AM

If I could name one thing that I have never been good at all my life, it’d be decorating. Whereas many people have a natural eye for design, I’ve had the absolute hardest time figuring out the simplest of things. Deciding on which color palette would look best had always been a big battle, but nothing ever compared to the battle I'd faced while figuring out how to add accents. Whether it was how many, how little, or what the actual accent color should be, it never made any sense to me. But after years of practice, I think I’ve finally got it figured out!

So here's my beginner's guide to picking out the perfect accent pillows. There are 5 things that I found you need to consider while searching for the perfect accent pillow: color, size, pattern & material, and price.


Being overwhelmed is normal. Make it easy by picking your favorite color.

If you're like me, you're probably overwhelmed by the unlimited possibilites of color. Instead of trying to find a color that would accent your couch right away, pick out a few colors that you like best. For myself, I picked out my top three favorite colors: purple, blue, and grey. I knew that since I liked these colors already, the chances of me wanting to change them any time soon would probably be pretty slim.

Next, I went to a store that had paint swatches readily available and took a few different hues from each of those basic colors. When I got home, I matched the different swatches up next to my couch (which is a powder blue). Purple accents with a blue couch? Absolutely not—too girly. Blue and blue? That really didn’t look right. Grey and blue? Hey, not so bad! All I had to figure out next was how dark or light I’d want my accents to be.


If you're not sure what would look best, go standard.

The size of your pillows will always affect how your room looks; if the pillows are too big and your couch is too small, you can have a real funky vibe going on, and I’m sure that it won’t be a pleasant sight. As someone who is just starting to understand the basics of decorating, I’d suggest sticking to the standard size of an 18x18” pillow. But if you’re really feeling risky, you can go for anything larger, smaller, or *gasp* a different shape!

Pattern & Material

Patterns aren't just prints anymore—they're textures, too!

Now, patterns don’t always have to mean literal patterns—it could mean texture, too! Personally, I was overwhelmed by the thought of there being so many different patterns even after limiting it down to the color grey, so I tried to take a step outside of my comfort zone and decided to play with different textures instead. I ended up picking out 2 light grey pillows made with a soft suede and 2 dark grey pillows made with a more rough (but still oh, so comfy) corduroy.


Avoid heartache. Set a price limit before you start shopping.

At this point, you’re probably ready to have 4 tabs open on the internet while looking for the perfect pillows, but let me stop you right there. As a broke recent grad, I know the heartbreak that comes along with falling in love with the perfect accent pieces to then realize how expensive they really are only after adding them to your cart.

So what is your budget anyway? The time to decide that isn’t when you’re about to reach checkout, because you’ll only second-guess your decision and getting accent pieces altogether. I cannot stress enough how important it is to set a budget for yourself before you actually go out with the intention of buying something.

Did these tips help you or do you have your own tips for beginner decorators? I'd love to hear them! Tell me all about it in the comments!

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Topics: Accents and Accessories