6 Types of Decorative Pillows

Decorative pillows add the perfect finishing touches to your living room or sitting areas. A bare sofa just isn't as inviting as one loaded with the depth, comfort and creative styling of throw pillows. These aren't the giant pillows you keep on your bed. These smaller accent pieces are stuffed for a firmer feel and add visual appeal to your home. Even better, decorative pillows are readily available in nearly any color, pattern or shape you can imagine, so you can select several for one room or a beloved piece of furniture and then select a few more to change out or update your room's design. Discover a few of our favorite pillow silhouettes at west elm to decide which you should add to your home today.

1. Knife-Edge Pillow

A knife-edge pillow gets its name from its shape. The corners are sharp and distinctive, formed by a basic seam that goes around the entire pillow cover or case. In instances where the pattern for your pillow was cut for a little more drama, you might get a sharper, more "knife-like" edge, too. These decorative pillows can be square or rectangular, but they're rarely embellished beyond their silhouette. They're favored for their simple geometry and polished look. If you like lumbar support, choose a rectangular knife-edge pillow.

2. Welted or Corded Pillow

A welted or corded pillow is your next level up from a knife-edge pillow. The main idea is the same, only instead of the simple sophistication of the clean silhouette, this type of decorative pillow features cord detail around the edges. If the fabric used for the cord is the same as the body of the decorative pillow's cover, the pillow is called "self-welted". A contrasting welt can add dimension to the look, depending on your design choices, too. All welting has the added benefit of helping to reinforce the seam, which is already quite durable on a knife-edge pillow.

3. Flange Pillow

A flange pillow offers a chance for light ornamentation. The flange is a strip of fabric that creates a flat band around the main portion of the pillow. These decorative pillows are usually square or rectangular, because the shape allows the pattern of the flange fabric to stand out, but you can find circles or other creative silhouettes, too. For more drama, select flange pillows with contrasting bands - maybe ones that match the accent color in your room or tie together bright colors in the artwork you've displayed nearby. A bigger flange pillow is a cozy choice for leaning back while reading or watching a movie with a blanket.

4. Box Pillow

Box pillows are a cushier, sturdier decorative pillow. These pillows look like the same cushions you have on your couch or armchairs because they're constructed in a box shape. The sides of these pillows are high with the fabric cut and tailored to maintain their structural look. Box pillows are stuffed tightly, too, so that they keep their even, firm shape throughout their lifetime. You can use these pillows to double up on the cushy effect of your couch. Alternatively, they can be enjoyed as a floating favorite that makes it over to an armchair one day or onto your wooden floor another day when you have lots of guests and a casual atmosphere. Some box pillows are large enough to place a tray on them so that the kids can gather around a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV. The charm of this type of decorative pillow is its versatility. Style it high-end, use it low-key and make your room your own every time you enter.

5. Bolster Pillow

Bolster pillows are unique because they're shaped like cylinders. They're also usually a firmer pillow because people like to place them at points along the spine where relaxation is always welcome, such as your neck or lower back. If you know you'll want one for your neck, choose a shorter pillow. For your back, get a longer one that will let your hips relax without running out of room. Bolster pillows can be corded or welted, too. At the ends of the cylinder, circular cuts of fabric create the ends of the pillow and welting often looks good at these seams.

6. Embellished Pillow

Embellished pillows are decorative pillows that have ornamentation, like buttons, ribbons, beads or other creative accents. These pillows might rely on a solid color of fabric to make sure the embellishments stand out - or the embellishment might be the fabric itself. A wild pattern or a center panel with an artistic image could be considered an embellishment, too.

Your best bet is to mix-and-match decorative pillow types until you find the combo that works best for your home's look and feel. Pay attention to which ones you use the most, which ones guests love and which create the spectacular design finish you need in your home. In the end, you might find you can't have too many!