What is a Throw Pillow?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2020
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A throw pillow is a small pillow which is designed to be used for decoration. Most throw pillows are no more than 24 inches (60 centimeters) across, and they tend to be square, although they can also be round, rectangular, oblong, or even triangular. Many people like to use throw pillows in their home d├ęcor because they are easy to manipulate, and they can be used in a wide variety of ways to create an assortment of looks and feels. Most furniture stores stock throw pillows, and it is also very easy to make a throw pillow at home.

People have been using decorative pillows in their homes for centuries, as numerous works of art can attest. The Persians, for example sat on large pillows while using smaller throw pillows around their rooms for decoration. Pillows can also be seen in ancient Asian art, ranging from Thailand to Japan, and they were certainly used by the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians as well. Given that the pillow is a pretty basic and very flexible design element, this is not terribly surprising.


Many people like to use throw pillows on couches and large chairs to break up furniture which could otherwise be blocky and overwhelming. Throw pillows can also be used to add notes of color to a room; a taupe couch, for example, can be elevated to from the mundane to the interesting with the use of a few bright red throw pillows. Throw pillows can also be used as floor pillows, providing potential seating options for large groups and adding a note of decoration when not in use. A throw pillow can also pop up in a surprising place, like a shelf, to create more visual interest in a room.

The real strength of the throw pillow lies in the cover, which can be easily removed and changed out with a fresh one. Covers for throw pillows can be made from silk, satin, cotton, hemp, linen, and a variety of other materials, and they may be dyed in a variety of colors and patterns. The pillows can also be beaded, embroidered, quilted, or decorated with other accents, depending on the design scheme that one is attempting to create.

It is also possible to sew a cover for a throw pillow for a customized look. Pillowcases are incredibly easy to sew, and they are easy to make ornamental with the addition of flaps, tabs, and other features. People who like to constantly change the look and feel of their homes often use throw pillows for this purpose, as they are inexpensive, making it easy to quickly change the way people interact with a room.


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