The Right Pillows for a Leather Sofa

Leather sofas are low maintenance and a favorite of those with young children, pets, and singles who enjoy eating pizza and whatnot in front of the television every night. Many of my clients have dark leather sofas in their homes but express frustration at the boring and bachelor-pad look of such a sofa.

right-pillows-for-leather-sofa

 

The right pillows can make a drastic improvement to ANY sofa, and that’s certainly true for a dark leather sofa. But you have to know a few secrets about the RIGHT kind of pillows to look for. Here’s the ‘before” state of my client’s very comfortable Pottery Barn sofa:

7O3A0378-001

 

 

Comfortable, yes. But not very sophisticated. We went on a shopping trip with a heavy focus on finding just the right pillows for this leather sofa, among other things.

pillow shopping

 

After deciding on chairs for the same room with blue and green upholstery, we decided on sofa pillows in variations of blue.

down-filled-pillows

 

So here’s what I look for when choosing pillows for a leather sofa:

1) pillows that are in light neutrals or COLOR (to contrast the dark leather),

2) pillows that are down-filled, and

3) pillows featuring textured and interesting fabric.

 

blue-pillows-on-leather-sofa

 

Stay away from any kind of slick fabric (like silk), because it will slide right off of leather onto the floor, and that’s all kinds of irritating. Same is true of poly-filled pillows. You need a heavier pillow that will hold it shape and not slide off the leather. And to brighten the darkness of a dark leather sofa, lighter neutrals or any bold COLOR is certainly the way to go for pillows.

Since there was also a leather rocker in the room, we chose a coordinating throw to lighten up and add interest:

chevron-throw

 

The variation of blues and texture work beautifully on the warm leather, don’t you think?

pillows-on-leather

 

I’ll show you more of this fabulous make-over of my client’s den soon, but sometimes it’s important to teach a few specific lessons, like this pillows-on-leather-sofa one – so it’s not just about pretty pictures around here.

Speaking of lessons, my next Expert Psychological Stager™ course is this Thursday through Saturday, and I can’t wait! If you couldn’t get in on this course, stay tuned for the dates for our next course in September. In the meantime, you may be interested in my workshop videos on choosing paint color, arranging furniture and art, or staging living rooms. Or maybe you’d like to read one of the most popular professional home staging books currently on Amazon.com, Psychological Staging – Home Staging Secrets of The Decorologist, or perhaps the Homeseller Version. Keep learning and growing, my friends!

 

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Cindy Williams
Cindy Williams
5 years ago

Thank you for these pillow tips! We have a leather sofa and chairs and I am always trying to figure out how to lighten them up and add interest! Great Ideas!

Vilma
Vilma
3 years ago

Kristie! I love all these tips on pillows for brown leather couch… do you have any on color Mohogany leather couch?

Beth
Beth
5 years ago

That’s a great tip. Love that patterned through, too.

Where is a good place to find down pillows?

Jo Galbraith
5 years ago

It wasn’t until I started staging Kristie that I realized there are a LOT of black leather sofas in my town! I find that piling them up with lots of light and bright pillows (for contrast like you suggest) helps a lot, otherwise they look like big black holes in the listing photos. Great tips!

Angela
Angela
5 years ago

I had to learn all this the hard way when I made my pillows for my dark leather couch and used poly forms from the fabric store. Ugh. Wish I had seen this post earlier. Now I need to go buy some down fillers 😉

Joanne
Joanne
5 years ago

I sometimes find “ugly”, down filled, pillows in the Clearance section of Home Goods. I’ll purchase those and make new pillow covers for them!

Shannon
Shannon
5 years ago

Thanks for this tip! I will never get my husband and boys to part with their beloved leather sofas, so this is very helpful!

Out of curiosity, where is the leather rocker from? I think it’s a really great piece!

Cathy
Cathy
5 years ago

You find the best furniture and accessories! The pillows look fabulous and I love the new blue and green chairs!!! Where do you find two? Whenever I shop at Home Goods they will only have one chair, no mate. Thanks for al of your great tips Kristie!!

Beth
Beth
5 years ago

Cort Rental Furniture actually uses those chairs on the West Coast anyway, so you may luck out and be able to buy them at their clearance centers.

Michelle at Honey I'm Home

Hi Kristie, You are magic! It’s incredible what a difference that little “pick-me-up” made.

Warmly, Michelle
Honey I’m Home

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[…] HomeGoods haul – see my tips for choosing pillows for leather sofas here […]

Squillions
5 years ago

I write a few articles on sofas and I do wonder why people opt for the darker more traditional tones in leather sofas these days. Especially when staining of brighter and more varied colours of leather is certainly more widely available. Which makes it even more exciting when adding sofa accessories like throws or cushions.

With pillows however, the sofas definately need to be more deep seated. Personally speaking, ended up having to put a throw on a leather sofa because the cats kept scratching it. Should have just bought a park bench with pillows.

LOWELL
LOWELL
4 years ago

This is amazing, now I learn more about the pillow and how to use it to decorate my home. Thank you for sharing experience!

Brittany Barber
4 years ago

It wasn’t until I began arranging Kristie that I understood there are a LOT of dark calfskin couches in my town! I find that heaping them up with bunches of light and splendid pads (for complexity like you propose) helps a considerable measure, else they look like enormous dark gaps in the posting photographs. Awesome tips!

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[…] Image from The Decorologist […]

Madison
4 years ago

Thanks Kristie, a great choosing guide with many beautiful pictures.

Erin
Erin
4 years ago

Hi, I was wondering what size your pillows are? I just ordered an extra deep leather couch today and want to have some substantial-sized pillows to place on the couch so they don’t get lost in it! Thanks so much!

Erin
Erin
4 years ago
Reply to  Erin

Dang it! Didn’t mean to put a big pic in the post! Thought it was for the pic icon. :/

Marie
Marie
3 years ago

Nice pics! I wanna same pillows too! Where i can buy it?

shannon klingman
shannon klingman
3 years ago

I fill the pillow forms with bean seeds. It keeps them sitting upright. Not as cushy but they hold upright.

Chris Young
3 years ago

Thanks for sharing Kristie, there is a leather soft in my living room and I always feel lacking of something, now I got what I need 🙂

Wendy
Wendy
2 years ago

I just inherited a modern salmon leather sofa and recliner and I will be painting one of the walls either behr frostini (green blue) mischievous (blue green) or misted fern (green). I live in a small condo and this is my living/dining area. I am somewhat disabled and spend a good deal of time in this room. I love all three of the paint colors with the sofa and will probably try to sew some pillows myself (not a seamstress) but they look easy enough and I’m on a fixed income. The room is very dark (working on that) My… Read more »

embroiderydigitizings
2 years ago

Thank you for a great explanation. I was looking online for a similar idea and really appreciate it

Charles
2 years ago

Hi Kristie,
Love your post. The pillows are really beautiful. This will definitely serve as a guide for my next project.

Faustie
Faustie
2 years ago

Thanks for sharing this important ideas with me my leather sofa will not be boring again

Frank Dowd
Frank Dowd
2 years ago

Kristie, I inherited a pair of 50 year old Bregere chairs. I am re upholstering then in a contemporary blue design fabric. My question, I have a off white mid century modern leather sofa. I was considering having pillows made from the left over fabric to go on the couch. Will this kill the clean design lines of the couch?

Autumn Howells
Autumn Howells
2 years ago

What about for a dark grey tufted sofa? Same? I am worried pillows will take away from the look.

john mark
john mark
1 year ago

thanks for your guide for pillows

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