There are just certain accessories a home shouldn’t be without. One of those is pillows. In a nutshell, pillows are the perfect accessory. They can add color, pattern, and comfort in an instant, and can be switched out easily whenever the mood strikes you. They can pull together a design in a way not many other accessories can. Additionally, pillows are ideal for anyone looking for a change, without having to make a huge commitment.
As wonderful as pillows are, however, they tend to be one of the most challenging things for people to incorporate--and we get it, pillows are intimidating. All those shapes, sizes, colors, patterns, and textures? Yep--intimidating. But you shouldn’t let that stop you.
If pillows aren’t your forte, hopefully the pointers we share with you today will change that. With a little more knowledge and practice, you’ll be able to select and style the pillows in your home with the confidence of a pro.
What to Look For When Choosing a Pillow
Let’s start by talking about some specific factors you should consider before making a pillow purchase.
An important question to ask yourself is: “How much am I willing to spend?” The cost of decorative pillows can range anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on whether you go with mass-produced pillows or custom-made ones. Think about how many pillows you’ll need in the space and what your budget will allow before you head to the home decor store. A good general rule to follow is one to two pillows per chair and three to five per sofa.
Fabric & Fill
Before you decide on the fabric you must know the purpose of your pillows. The material you choose will depend greatly on whether your pillows will be in a formal setting or in an informal setting. For example, if the pillows will be in a family room, with children or pets running about, then you’d want to avoid hard to clean, or easy-to-damage materials like silk or velvet. Instead, you’d be better off with something a lot more durable, such as cotton, or even an outdoor-grade fabric. Whatever fabric you choose, be sure to check the label so you clean them properly.
When it comes to fill, determine how you prefer the pillow to feel. For a softer, squishy feel, stick with a feather or down fill. If you prefer the pillow to feel stiffer, go for foam or a synthetic fill that holds its shape better.
Shape & Size
The great thing about pillows is that you can get them in a variety of shapes. A nice mix of square, circle, and oblong pillows can be very eye-catching, so don’t feel as though you are limited to one particular shape. In regards to size, pillows considered to be standard-sized are 18 inches. Smaller pillows (16 in) are also available, as well as oversized (24 in) pillows. The size of your sofa (or chair) and how many pillows will take up the space, will determine what will look best.
Colors, Pattern & Texture
Your existing furniture and color palette will ultimately guide your pillow purchases. You want the pillows to make sense within the room, so evaluate the space, choosing pillows that have colors and patterns that work. Pillows are a great way to enhance the textural aspect of the room, so think about how much you need. As a general rule, pillows that are nubby or rougher in texture provide a nice contrast to smooth upholstery, while smooth, shiny pillows add visual interest to soft, fuzzy chairs and couches.
How to Style Pillows Like a Pro
While I am going to simplify pillow styling, I want you to keep in mind that there are no hardcore design rules you have to follow. Mastering a throw pillow mix is not rocket science. Honestly, it’s all about switching your pillow up until you find the right combination and arrangement that looks good in your home. Don’t fret, just follow these three tips have fun!
1. Aim for symmetry in your arrangement.
This can be easily achieved by following the 2-2-1 ratio. The 2-2-1 ratio is as straightforward of a concept as can be when it comes to arranging pillows. All this means is that you should adorn your sofa with 5 pillows--2 square pillows of one size and pattern on the ends, 2 smaller pillows in a different pattern next to them, and then 1 pillow for the center, preferably something in a rectangle or circle shape, such as a bolster pillow.
This arrangement does wonders for a space because it creates an abundance of visual interest with its mix of height, patterns, and colors. This is why I feel as though this special formula is one that can set you up for pillow success every single time.
This 5-pillow arrangement also works on a bed. Instead of arranging them from the outside in like you would on the sofa, arrange them from back to front.
2. Pick a cohesive color palette and stick to it.
When your pillows are either in the same shade or in a pair of complementary shades, you’ll get the most impact. The goal is to mix patterns in a way that looks cohesive. Keeping those patterns in a similar color family will help you do just that.
3. Choose patterns carefully.
The patterns you choose really do matter. To ensure that you get it right the first time, follow this basic formula: one simple print, one busy print, and one solid. You could also look at this as one small print, one big print, and one solid.
If you were to apply this formula to the 2-2-1 ratio, you would put your busy patterns on the outside (which should be the biggest pillows), the simple patterns next (the smaller pillows), and then the solid in the middle. Those busy patterns are what set the tone for not just your pillow arrangement but for the rest of the room as well.
Custom-Made Pillows: Are They Really Worth It?
Simply put, yes. While you can certainly find a wide variety of pillows at practically any department or online store, it doesn’t mean you’ll find the perfect fit for your home. The thing is, though, custom-made pillows are going to be a bigger investment— but oddly, that’s a good thing.
It’s likely you’ve noticed how quickly accent pillows can add up. But why settle and pay for a product that won’t really make you happy? This alone is a huge reason to invest in custom pillows for your home. Yes, they will probably end up costing you more than those subpar ones at the department store, but you'll be getting exactly what you want— and in the end, that’s what matters.
With that said, there are some places that offer a better quality selection of accent pillows than others. Look for places such as these. Instead of a bargain-store buy, opts for pillows at specialty home decorating stores or even fabric stores.
Where to Go From Here
Once you master these basic principles, you’re ready to pick out your ready-made pillows or fabrics and inserts for something custom-made! We have both available, so stop on by one of our showrooms or browse our selections online.
If it’s custom pillows you’re after, we have an easy process for you to follow. Simply select your favorite fabric (shop by color, fabric type, prints, outdoor, multi-purpose, faux leather, or brand) and type of insert (down & feather, luxury fill, or ultra poly down). After that, let us know what size(s) you’d like and we’ll take care of the rest. Learn more about How to Order Your Custom Pillow Cover.
DIY-er? No problem! Come stop in to pick out your fabric and inserts and then take them home so you can create a variety of pillows on your own. Here are two suggestions for easy do-it-yourself accent pillows:
Cut two pieces of fabric, each 1 inch longer and wider than you want to make the finished pillow. For reversible pillows, cut the back and front pillow pieces from fabric with different prints.
Place the right sides of the fabric together. Stitch the fabric pieces together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Leave a large enough opening on one side of the pillow cover to insert a pillow form or stuffing. Turn the pillow fabric right-side-out, then stuff. Hand-stitch the opening closed.
For a two-tone pillow, cut two pieces of fabric as you would for a basic pillow. Then, cut a strip of contrasting fabric to the same width as the other fabric, but not as long. Cut fabric strip so one of the long sides is the selvage edge. Hem this edge if the selvage is unattractive.
Lay the contrasting fabric on one of the larger fabric pieces with right sides up. Line-up the cut, unselvaged edge of the fabric strip with the edge of the base pillow fabric. Place the other fabric piece face-down on the layered fabrics. Pin the three layers together, then sew and finish pillow as you would normally.
Regardless of what you choose, we have great deals on discount designer fabrics. With our wide selection, you’re sure to find something that will suit your home perfectly.