Today’s Interior Design Inspiration: A no-fail formula for transforming a space with throw pillows

sanfrancisco_pillows_interiorsbylizduxianThrow pillows are my favorite detail to add to a space. I think of them as the “cherry on top” of a great interior design. That’s because they function like an amazing piece of jewelry. They are statement pieces.

For a lot of people, designing with throw pillows can be intimidating. If you follow my formula below, you’ll be amazed at what you can do:


Step 1: Create the Right Combination

Using 3 pillows is a good beginner formula. Once you get more confident, you will want to branch out and add even more.

Throw Pillow Formula 1: Bold. Solid. Texture.

Believe it or not, a good place to start is with a bold pattern. The sky is the limit. This gives you the freedom to experiment and try something new. You can then give the design a foundation by layering with a solid color that you pull from the pattern. Once you’ve found this balance, it’s time to get a little frisky and add some texture, and viola! A perfectly orchestrated throw pillow mix.

Throw Pillow Formula 2: Pattern. Geometric. Solid.

If you want to use a variety of patterns and prints, a good rule of thumb is to start with a large, organically patterned pillow, add a smaller geometric pillow with a pattern about 1/2 the scale of the second pillow, and then ground them with a solid.

Step 2: Balance Small, Medium and Large

You should strive to have a mix of sizes, while still maintaining balance. For instance, on a sofa you could start with a matched set of 2 or 3 large pillows as a base, and then add 2 medium patterned or embellished pillows and 1 small statement pillow.

NOTE: Standard square pillows (about 18 inches) fit the typical dimensions of a sofa. Oversized pillows (24 inches) are more casual and laid-back. If you have a modern sofa with a very low back, you will want to use pillows that are 16 inches or smaller.

Step 3: Mix Patterns by Size

If you want to get really creative and use all print in your mix, scale is the key to success. To be clear, I’m not talking about the size of the actual pillows anymore, but how tight the pattern or design is. Start with a large print on one pillow, and then chose a medium-size print and small print for the others. For instance, a floral can have one big flower (large print) or many small flowers (smaller/tighter print). A good mix of big, bold prints with smaller, more intricate patterns will give depth to your interior design.

Step 4: Add a Statement Pillow

Now for the really fun part: Adding oomph with a statement. A successful statement pillow piece doesn’t follow any of the rules. It is there to stand out. A statement pillow should bring in an entirely new color, fabric and even style than all of the other pillows simply to enhance the mix. Consider choosing a statement pillow with texture such as velvet, mohair, linen or wool for a finished and sophisticated feel.

Shopping for Throw Pillows

I sometimes spend hours combing through my favorite websites looking for fun and unique pillows. I love mixing and matching patterns to create an interesting effect. My top 5 favorite links for throw pillows are:

  • Anthropologie
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Pottery Barn
  • Etsy
  • Lulu and Georgia

Additional Tips:

  • Use throw pillows to make an interior design statement.
  • Change up pillows seasonally.
  • Buy pillow covers and down inserts, so you can store the covers in a drawer and use over and over again.
  • Give pillows a good shake and punch in the sides to redistribute the feathers in the insert.  Flat pillows look old and tired.
  • Keep a big basket handy to toss pillows into before sitting on a chair or a sofa.

And always keep in mind that if it doesn’t look right to you, it isn’t.

Happy pillow shopping!

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