Have you seen all the photos in magazines of couches with all the gorgeous throw pillows? They look like they were just casually thrown together, but you know that’s not the case. Would you be surprised to learn there are simple guidelines to achieve that perfect pillow combination? Let’s up our throw pillow game by learning how to come up with an eclectic mix of decorative pillows to create a cohesive look with visual interest.
What’s their secret and how can you duplicate this look in your own home? There are three easy steps to mix and match throw pillows like the pros. Mixing up your throw pillows is one of the quickest ways to add a little bit of style that you can change with the seasons.
The other thing you might be thinking is that it’s probably expensive to have all of these different pillows. You can see an easy tutorial for making envelope pillow covers. Envelope pillow covers are washable and easy to make (in about 30 minutes). All you need are a few pillow inserts and you can change the throw pillow covers.
Three Steps to Choose Throw Pillows Like A Pro
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- n Inspiration Piece – This is the first step in determining the variety of colors and scale of the patterns you want to add. Choosing an inspiration piece is a personal preference. In my living room, the thing that inspires the color is NOT the wall color. It’s the rug. I’ve written a lot about how to choose the right area rug for each room. For me, it’s one of the biggest design choices. For you, your inspiration might be a piece of art, your colorful drapes, or a chair. It should be one of the things in your room that you like the best. You can read more about choosing an inspiration piece and your color palette here.
- Step 2 – Identify Three Colors – Write down the three colors that are part of your inspiration piece. They can be neutral if your room doesn’t have a lot of color. For example, in a neutral room, the complementary colors for pillows might be white, oatmeal, and a tiny bit of black.
- Step 3 – Choose THREE Different Patterns – To choose your three coordinating fabrics take a picture of your inspiration piece. If you’re shopping on your computer, either hold the picture up next to the computer/phone or share it to your computer and keep that where you can see it while you shop. You’ll be amazed at how you can see a fabric next to your inspiration piece and decide whether it looks right or not. I like to mix various patterns of fabric and different sizes using combinations like these:
- Stripe – Solid color – Floral Prints
- Stripe – Solid – Polka Dots
- Solid – Large Geometric Patterns – Small Geometric Patterns
- Solid – Plaid – Floral
The trick is that you choose three fabrics where the pattern is a different scale. For example, a large check with a smaller stripe. There is something magical about using three different fabrics together. It’s something decorators call the rule of threes.
If you feel like you have no skill when it comes to choosing the right pillows and mixing throw pillow patterns, there’s a shortcut. A good place to start is ETSY. The big pillow sellers have coordinated pillow colors for you depending on your color story (I’ve listed a few below). This is a great way to find different pillow combinations because they mix and match the patterns for you. Here are a few examples from some of my favorite sellers
ElemenoPillow Blue – These fabrics coordinate if your color scheme is blue, camel, and cream. Choose three you like and they go together.
ElemenoPillowNeutral – This is just one of many groupings if you want to stick with a neutral color.
Our Pillow Studio – This is another seller with hundreds of choices. They can suggest pillows that go together. in any color combination Here are their reds that complement each other, but you can choose any color(s) that you like.
The next time you are shopping for throw pillows, try using this three-step process. Choose an inspiration piece in your room, find three colors using that inspiration and then select three coordinating fabrics. If you want help, share a picture of your room in the comments.