Couches set the tone for most living rooms, so if your couch is boring, chances are good that your living room looks boring also. Throw pillows are easy, inexpensive tools for brightening up your dull sofa.
If Your Couch is White/Gray/Black:
Neutral couches with cool undertones can be warmed up with pillows in orange or red. When combined with neutrals, red is very contemporary and orange is likewise modern and fresh. To keep your room feeling cool and light, pair neutral couches with cooler colored pillows. Blue and green are soothing on a gray couch, or can provide a nice contrast to a white couch.
If your couch is a very bright white, or a very dull black, be careful about using colors that are too bright. The contrast might give you a headache! Choose the color you want, and make it more pale for a white couch, or deeper for a black couch, so that it will stand out just enough.
If Your Couch is Beige/Brown:
Flatter a beige or brown couch with pillows in shades of orange, green, and burgundy. When combined, these colors are reminiscent of fall and winter, and instantly make your living room feel warmer. For an interesting contrast, add blue-gray pillows to a brown couch. Blue and brown are being used together more and more frequently for their contrast and contemporary vibe.
Since your couch is a solid, neutral color, don't be afraid of adding pillows with pattern. The point is to make your couch more interesting, and solid-colored pillows may not do the trick.
If Your Couch is Patterned/Dated:
Updated an old couch or minimize an ugly pattern with large, bold, solid-colored throw pillows. The eye will automatically be drawn to the pillow and ignore the ugly couch behind it. Keep the colors simple and not too risky. If the colors are too bright, they'll simply draw attention to the couch behind them.
Making Your Own:
If a trip to the store doesn't bring you the throw pillows that you're envisioning, you always have the option of making your own.
Throw pillows come in many fabrics from silk, to cotton, to linen. Be sure to choose the fabric that is most appropriate for your couch: sturdier fabrics for outdoors, and softer for indoors. Find a fabric with a pattern or color that you like, and cut two equal-sized squares. Traditional throw pillows vary greatly in dimension, and can be anywhere from 16 by 16, to 19 by 12 or even 24 by 24. Choose the size that you think will be most appropriate for your couch.
Lay the squares on top of each other with the patterns facing in. Stitch around three of the sides, and half of the fourth side, leaving a hole. Use the hole to insert stuffing into your pillow. Make it comfortable, but don't over-stuff or you won't be able to close the fourth side. Stitch the hole closed, and your throw pillow is ready for use.
Remember that if throw pillows simply aren't doing the trick, slipcovers are available in all shapes and sizes to spice up your couch.