So! You've just made that big purchase. You have a beautiful new leather couch sitting in your home and you need to spruce it up with some throw pillows. Generally, leather sofas come in muted tones like brown and black which means there are a lot of opportunities for interesting color pairings! However, there are other things we need to take into consideration though like outer material, shape, and softness.
This will be your guide to selecting just the right throw pillow as well as a few pieces of inspiration (towards the bottom) to kickstart your search!
Throw Pillow material
Let's start with the pillow's outer material. It's often overlooked in favor of color, but we can't stress enough how important it is. The reason it's important is friction. If you purchase a pillow with a material like silk or another shiny fabric, it's going to be falling off nonstop or sliding around on your back while you try to get comfortable. As a result, throw pillows that use organic fabrics derived from cotton, linen, or wool are probably your best bet. Granted, not all couches are made from true leather so make sure to look that up before basing your throw pillow purchase on this factor (see our article on leather types in furniture).
Throw Pillow softness
Another element that's often forgotten about when selecting a throw pillow for a leather couch is its softness. Fabric couches tend to be a softer, warmer material than leather. Over time, that comparison can change as true leather becomes broken in. However, until it becomes more supple, it's usually recommended to contrast the leather with a very soft pillow that allows you to sink into it like a cloud. You can rely on the leather for support once you've made it through the depth of the pillow.
When it comes to pillow softness, the outer material plays a role, but what's more critical is the filling. You'll want to look for down or feather pillows. Duck and goose being the most popular. Polyester filling is becoming more mainstream for people with allergies so this is an option as well, but it's a bit less soft and moldable.
Throw Pillow shape and size
There are four primary shapes for throw pillows. All are options depending on the style of room you're after. Let's cover them one by one.
The go to choice for really any couch. This shape matches really well with the square couch cushions. Somewhere between 20 inches and 24 inches is the sweet spot for square pillows. You can use strictly square pillows on the couch and still create a dynamic look. Use them in the corners between the armrest and outer back cushion or if you have room, spread out all of the couch.
Another great choice for a couch. However, it doesn't fit into the corners as well without being paired with a square pillow. As a result, this is a great accessory pillow. The average/medium sizes range somewhere between 11 - 16 inches in height and 18 - 24 inches in width.
This is more of a niche pick. If done correctly, it can be paired really well with a square pillow to give a cool shape contrast to the couch. If you're not the adventurous type, we wouldn't recommend a round pillow.
Bolsters are an interesting option for a leather couch, but not the primary choice unless you're going for a very minimal look. They are fantastic choices to set between the end seat cushion and armrest for a nice comfortable place to lay your arm. You can see an example in the image above this section.
Throw pillow colors
Finally! We're onto color. You're in luck because if you have a brown or black leather couch, the options are almost limitless. There are a couple of do's and don'ts though so let's cover those first and then outline color theory.
Brown and Black leather dos and don'ts
As a safe bet, if you have a brown leather couch, you'll probably want to avoid variations of black. This means some grays as well. The opposite is true for black leather couches; no brown pillows please. There are ways to pull it off, but it's tricky and best left to a professional haha!
Selecting your center pierce
Sometimes your couch is the center piece, sometimes it's not. Throw pillows are a great way to call attention to something or let it stand out. A good rule of thumb is to decide your more important pieces, develop a palette around it, and then stick to it! We'll use the rest of this section to talk about colors that assume your couch is the center piece, but the concepts still apply even if you change your focus.
An excellent choice for your brown or black leather couch is to select a contrast color. For brown leather - white and variations of beige or off-white look gorgeous. For black leather - most bright colors will do if they're on the lighter end of the spectrum. Some options include white, light grays, yellows, light blues and greens. The key is using what's called complimentary colors (opposite ends of a color wheel).
The opposite of contrast colors, analogous are great if you're trying to give your room a quiet look. You can achieve this by selecting a color that's next to it in the color wheel. For a brown couch, that would be a burnt yellow or red. This is much trickier for black because it's a combination of all the colors! Try different shades of gray or dark blues/greens for softer look.
There are a multitude of different styles you can achieve depending on your selection of color. Earthy looks, industrial, eclectic, contemporary, traditional, the list goes on and on. If you're trying to achieve a specific look, run a search for your favorite style and see if there are some colors that match.
Throw pillow inspiration for leather couches
Last, but not least, here's a selection of great throw pillow looks for your leather couches.
- Check out catalogs from suppliers like Article, CB2, and Room and Board, they have some great compositions.
- Pinterest gallery of leather couches. Most have throw pillows on them.
- Tan leather sofa inspiration
- Pinterest gallery of black couches
Where to find throw pillows
There's a lot of options above, but it might take days to search through all the options. If you're looking for the fastest way to find throw pillows, check out our e-commerce search engine. You can search things like "Throw Pillows for brown leather couches under $100" and find all the options across all the home decor shops on the web.