One of the easiest ways to update a room is through throw pillows. This is probably why I have a hoarding problem with so many different pillow cases. They are so easy to change out as the mood suits you, and you can find some very reasonable deals at discount places like HomeGoods, Target, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls. I like to mix in designer pillows with the more affordable options. That way you still have a few luxurious fabrics in your space but not necessarily the price tag.
I found the light blue pillows at HomeGoods recently. These were a set of (2) for $24.99. For a 20"x20" pillow that comes with a down insert, that's a steal. The leopard pillow is made using a Ballard Designs fabric, and is backed with a Robert Allen linen. The small geometric velvet lumbar is from the FLOY line at work.
If you buy a couch that has toss pillows included, do not commit to using the pillows that come with the couch! This way, you can add your own creativity and achieve a custom look.
In my opinion, the pillow insert can make or break a pillow. Flat pillows are no good. Destroy yours immediately. They end up looking sad and frumpy, no matter how good your pillow cover is. Opt for an insert that's plush and very full. You don't necessarily have to buy an expensive down. There are many down alternatives and synthetic fills that will work just as well.
A word on scale- I like to mix sizes on couches for a more interesting look. I like to do at least (2) pillows that are about as high as the back of the couch, and then throw in a few smaller ones. Here I've got 20"x20", 18"x18" and a small 8"x18" lumbar. A small couch like this one could easily do with two very large pillows by themselves as well (something like 22"x22" on either side). The bigger the couch you have, say a sectional, the more pillow groupings you need for an inviting look.
The other side of this room was dark, dark, dark. We have a large dark espresso recliner that we love, but it just needed to feel a little less heavy in this room. A couple pillows and a blanket help the issue.
I still need to do a couple other things in this room, but with some simple pillow fixes the place got a quick update!
Still to tackle in this room:
new desk chair
Living room side-
Black floor lamps- paint bases lighter
replace with either existing linen bench (check size) or look for airy coffee table