Pillows make a wonderful addition to almost any room. They add major design elements like color, texture, and accent. Savvy designers never create furniture arrangements without considering the placement and decorative potential of throw pillows, no matter what look you’re hoping to achieve for your home.
Throw Pillows: A Legacy
Throw pillows have been around a long time, and they have a prominent place in the history of interior design. In the 1930s, designers mainly focused on function and form. With a rise in the popularity of items like ottomans and footstools, furniture manufacturers also began producing sofa cushions – a precursor to the throw pillow today.
By the 1960s, bold colors with an “exotic” international theme dominated interiors, and throw pillows followed suit. Many incorporated graphics like the ubiquitous yellow smiley face. Later, the 80s ushered in ruffles, pastels, and florals – and sofa pillows were no exception. From the 90s onward, comfort reigned supreme, with pillows and throws ornamenting whatever style of sofa was in vogue.
Incorporating Throw Pillows
Throw pillows provide comfort and support. But in addition to their practical uses, they can also liven up and even transform an entire interior space. Read on for some tips and tricks for incorporating decorative pillows into your home.
- Mix and Match
Sofa cushions are often designed to match the sofa – but to maximize their decorative impact, mix it up. One designer recommends bringing a fan deck of paint colors along on any pillow shopping excursion, marking the paint chips that match furniture you already have. This will give you a reference for determining how pillow colors match up against each other.
Don’t be afraid to go bold and bright. If you have a soft or neutral base on a sofa or bedspread, mix it up with colorful throw pillows that pop. It’s okay to match intensity of hue between surfaces, but keep it tasteful by using smaller pillows or switching up the patterns.
- Layer Sizes
One great way to diversify your pillow aesthetic is to use multiple sizes. Oversize sofas go great with large, plush pillows. On the other hand, if the sofa already has significant back cushions or padding, place larger pillows on the corners or against the arms. Try layering pillows of different sizes – and be daring! It’s best to fully commit, with a unique blend of oversize pillows and smaller detailed pillows. You can also get creative by choosing different sized pillows of multiple shapes.
- Diversify Texture
Texture is another great way to mix up your pillow design. Use it to create a “landscape” of sorts, with mountains, hills, and dips of different tactile experiences. Metallic embellishments and other accents can also create interesting diversity. An added bonus of mixing texture from surface to surface is that you’ll create traction, which will keep pillows from sliding off the surface. Nubby corduroy against a fuzzy couch, for example, is a great – and cozy – combination.
Final Thoughts: Think About the Whole Room
It doesn’t work to simply throw a pile of pillows together and call it a day. As you conceptualize the space, think of the pillows as part of the furniture family. Contrary to popular belief, not all pillows have to match; they only have to relate to each other in some way to unify the space.