Anyone who has ever decorated a bedroom or living room knows that toss pillows come in many different shapes and sizes. This can make choosing the right pillows or pillowcases a bit of a challenge.
Luckily, there are a few standard toss pillow sizes, and learning how to measure pillows can make decorating a room much easier.
Standard Toss Pillow Dimensions
The two most common toss or throw pillow sizes are 20 by 20 inches and 18 by 18 inches. These square pillows work well on beds, couches, loveseats, or oversized chairs because they’re of medium size and can be paired well with any other pillows.
Pillows that are standard size aren’t always the best option, however. For larger couches or beds, or for couches that have deep seats, larger pillows might be a better choice. Pillows that are 22 by 22 or 24 by 24 inches often work well in these situations. Conversely, smaller pillows, perhaps 16 by 16 inches in size, are often a good choice for children’s bedrooms or smaller furniture.
Other Common Pillow Dimensions
Square toss pillows are often the most popular choice, but toss pillows can be found in a number of other shapes as well. Boudoir pillows, for example, are small, decorative rectangular pillows that measure 12 by 16 inches. Lumbar pillows are used either for decoration or for comfort. These pillows are long and rectangular, making them a great choice for beds or couches with deep seats. Lumbar pillows are most commonly either 14 inches tall and 36 inches long or 12 inches tall and 24 inches long.
There are also many cylindrical types of throw pillows. The smallest, the neckroll pillow, measures six inches tall and 16 inches long. This type of pillow, which is perfect for resting your head on while watching television or reading a book, can also sometimes be found in a six and a half by 13-inch size. Bolster pillows look like larger versions of neckroll pillows. These cylindrical toss pillows are usually either 10 inches tall and 27 inches long or eight inches tall and 30 inches long.
|Pillow Type||Pillow Size|
|Standard toss pillow||20″ x 20″ or 18″ x 18″|
|Other toss pillows||22″ x 22″, 24″ x 24″ or 16″ x 16″|
|Boudoir pillows||12″ x 16″|
|Lumbar pillows||14″ x 36″ or 12″ x 24″|
|Neckroll pillow||6″ x 16″ or 6″ x 13″|
|Bolster pillows||10″ x 27″ or 8″ x 30″|
|Sleeping pillows||20″ x 26″, 20″ x 30″ or 20″ x 36″|
When considering toss pillows, you may also want to compare to the size of the pillows you might use for sleeping. Sleeping pillows are most commonly available in three sizes, which are standard, queen, and king. Standard pillows are 20 inches tall and 26 inches long. Queen pillows are 20 inches tall and 30 inches long, while king pillows are 20 inches tall and 36 inches long.
Pillow Measuring Tips
Measuring a pillow might seem simple, but it can sometimes be a bit tricky. Pillow measurements don’t always refer to the size of the pillow itself. Instead, they more often refer to the size of the pillowcase or cover when that cover is unstuffed and lying flat.
To measure a pillow accurately, measure from corner to corner vertically and horizontally. Stuffed pillows contract in slightly at the center, so measuring across the center of a pillow will give a much shorter measurement. You might want to tug gently at the corners of the pillow while you measure along the seam in order to get a more accurate idea of the pillow’s true size.
Even then, the length and height of a stuffed pillow will often measure up to an inch shorter than the size of the unstuffed case. If you’re thinking about purchasing new pillowcases or covers, keep this in mind, and consider purchasing a case that’s a little larger than what you think you might need.
If you can, take the cover or case off of the pillow before measuring in order to get the most accurate size. This is particularly helpful when it comes to bolster and neckroll pillows. However, if you can’t take the case off, simply measure as accurately as possible along the seam, and ensure that the seam is as straight as possible while you measure.
With bolster or neckroll pillows, measure along the bottom seam of the pillow to get an idea of the length, and then measure from the top of the pillow to the bottom, accounting for the curve, to get a good approximation of the height. When in doubt, round up a half-inch for a more accurate measurement.
Choosing Pillows That Are the Right Size
Choosing pillows of the right size can be as tricky as measuring pillows. Big, fluffy pillows are comfortable, but bigger isn’t always better, and pillows that are too large can crowd a small bed or loveseat. On the other hand, pillows that are too small can look out of place on a couch with a high back or deep seats.
For smaller beds, loveseats, or oversized chairs, choose a couple of smaller toss pillows, perhaps 16 by 16 inches or 18 by 18 inches. These can be paired with a neckroll pillow or standard bed pillows. You can also choose a single larger pillow to fill the space. On a larger couch or a king-sized bed, you might want to opt for several pillows of medium size or a couple of lumbar or larger pillows. Mixing and matching can make for a more comfortable experience and a more interesting look.