How to Pick the Perfect Throw Pillow
To pick the right throw pillows, you must first consider the rest of the room and there’s a good reason why that’s the case. Throw pillows are merely accents in a room, much like adding accessories to an outfit. So if you don’t yet have a decision on your wall color, area rug/flooring, upholstery and draperies, then I’m afraid you’ve jumped the gun. To help you understand the process, let’s go back to the wardrobe analogy.
You want to wear that little black dress, but realize it’s pretty boring unless you find a way to bring in a touch of personality. Maybe you decide to add a pop of color in your handbag, or strappy shoes that steal the show, or possibly a funky patterned scarf. You want something that gives a plain black dress some interest, but adding all those
things to your outfit is clearly too much. Of course, that same funky scarf might need to take a day off, if you’re wearing a floral sundress. We must choose wisely and consider all aspects of the complete look! Likewise, the accessories in your room, must complement the essence of your complete interior design. It all comes down to balancing color, pattern, and texture.
Assigning a Mood to your Space
Now that we've addressed the basics of balancing color, pattern & texture in decor, we have to consider the desired mood or energy of the room. Hopefully you spent some time thinking about this before picking out your wall color, upholstery, bedding, etc. If you didn’t, I would pause to do that soon. Do you want the space to feel calming, relaxed, and warm? Or maybe you want it to be cheery and uplifting. What if you’re longing for a more sophisticated, confident vibe? Take the time to understand how you want the space to feel and then look for pillows that align with that mood or energy. Your instinct can help you here. Of course, a bright yellow pillow won’t add tranquility to your bedroom, but a neutral faux fur pillow is more likely to create a cozy retreat vibe.
Adding Color, Texture, & Pattern
Adding something unique or interesting to your interior can sometimes make a person feel uncertain and so its not uncommon to freeze in that moment and do nothing. If you’re one of these risk averse decorators, you’ve probably made a lot of “safe” choices that resulted in a relatively bland interior. But I assure you that adding throw pillows is one task you can tackle! When I walk into a room to find everything is somewhat bland, I know I can fix it pretty easily with color, texture, & pattern. If you look at your space and it feels a bit boring, you can usually make a dramatic difference by simply adding some interesting throw pillows. Aside from paint and artwork, new throw pillows might be one of the fastest and easiest ways to give a space some personality.
"Be careful about mixing multiple patterned fabrics. This is not a strategy for the novice DIY designer. Instead, buy multiples of the same patterned pillow. Then add a few solid colored pillows for variety and interest." - Jodi Maturo Design, Feb 2020
My surefire approach for adding throw pillows to an otherwise bland space:
Step 1: If the only throw pillows you have in the room came free with your sofa, this plan is definitely for you. Immediately remove those throw pillows and put them in the closet. All they do is create design constraints that restrict your thinking. Don’t let a few free pillows stop you from having a beautiful look.
Step 2: If there’s no other patterns in your room, start by selecting a pillow design with an interesting pattern that has two or more colors. Shop locally for throw pillows, so you can experiment with a few different options and return the ones that don’t work. Be careful about mixing multiple patterned fabrics. This is not a strategy for the novice DIY designer. Instead, buy multiples of the same patterned pillow. Then add a few solid colored pillows for variety and interest.
Step 3: Build on the patterned pillows in Step 2, by adding solid colored pillows. Your solid throw pillows don’t have to be the same as the dominant color from your patterned pillow. In fact, it might be better if it’s not the dominant color. Try selecting a solid color that is present in the patterned pillow, but is not the dominant color. When selecting a solid color pillow, go for ones with texture or stitching to add visual interest. I personally like using 1-2 solid color pillows for every one pillow that has a pattern.
Step 4: To display your pillows on a sofa or sectional, layer or stack your pillows in groupings of 2-3, typically placing the patterned pillow in front of the solid pillow. For occasional chairs, you can add a single small pillow (or even go without a pillow) keeping in mind that patterned upholstery looks better with a solid color pillow, than it would with a patterned pillow.