Everything You Need to Know to Mix and Match Throw Pillows

April 23, 2018

Five easy steps to teach you the basics how to mix and match different combinations of accent pillows for your home with the confidence of a  professional stylist.




Updated January 24, 2022  |  Originally published March 23, 2018

The basics of mixing and matching pillows for your sofa or bed #throwpillows #howtodecorate #decorate #pillows #andersonandgrant



Throw pillows can complete the look of your home, just like the right pair of shoes can make or break an outfit. They are one of the last accessories to be added, but set the tone for the entire style of a room. They provide a pop of color, texture, and pattern and can be restyled often to easily refresh your decor.


Because there are many options to choose from at a wide range of prices, adding pillows to your sofa or bed is the easiest and most cost-effective way to completely change the look of the space.


But at the same time, it can be very overwhelming to have so many choices if you don't know exactly how to pick what will coordinate or what will look best with the couch and rug you already have.



Change your rooms style by mixing and matching throw pillows.  This post is filled with tips on how to do that. #pillows #decorating #decorating101 #andersonandgrant

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Mixing and matching throw pillows can seem like an impossible decorating task to get right.  Scrolling through your favorite blogs or flipping through a magazine, you may see sofas adorned with over seven different pillows at a time and wonder just how they choose so many that all seem to go together with ease.


Going into a store and choosing one pattern and one solid for pillows is easy (and safe).  But finding the right assembled collection that gives the look of a professional decorator's touch assembled over time can be too much for those who are unsure.


Even though there is a bit of an art to doing this, choosing complimentary pillows isn't as hard as it seems as long as you keep a few tips in mind.



Wondering how to coordinate throw pillows for your living room decor? Check out this post filled with tips! #pillows #decorating #decoratewithpillows #andersonandgrant

Pillows pictured are from Kirkland's, but are no longer available.






MIXING AND MATCHING PILLOWS LIKE A PRO





No. 1:   CHOOSE ONE LARGE PRINT, ONE SMALLER PRINT, AND A SOLID TO ANCHOR THE MIXTURE.


If you are just starting out, the easiest way to build a pillow combo is to choose two pillows with prints that coordinate together in terms of scale and color and then add in one solid colored pillow in a shade that matches the two prints.


These prints could be organic prints like florals or geometric patterns like stripes or polka dots.  You can choose two from the same category in varying scale or pick one from each category as long as one pattern is more substantial than the other.


Ideally you want to choose one complex pattern and one simple pattern.  Complex patterns have a smaller, more detailed print, while simple patterns are larger in scale and less detailed.


A few classic combination ideas:

  • Try mixing a large scale floral patterned throw pillow with a narrow striped one and a solid choice.

  • Or perhaps combine a wide striped pillow with a geometric printed option and a leather pillow.


As you get more confident with this basic skill, you'll find that it is easier to add to the combination of three with varying pattern sizes.  You'll start to be able to visualize immediately patterned pillows that would mix and match.  But starting with three allows you to see exactly how different prints and shades of colors can play off one another and how that solid colored pillow can bring everything together for one complete look to keep the collection from looking random.





No. 2:  STICK TO A SINGLE COLOR PALETTE


Make choosing coordinating pillows less overwhelming by sticking to a color scheme made of up to three colors found in the room. You may want to pull colors out of the rug in the room or perhaps a piece of art being used.  As a basic rule of thumb, aim for one neutral color, one main color, and an accent color.


Perhaps choose a blue floral pillow you love with shades of tan and green mixed in the pattern.  Then you need to choose the rest of your pillows keeping those colors in mind.  Find coordinating blue shades that will also compliment the other accent colors in the original pattern.  All the colors don't have to be the exact same shades. Fill in with some neutrals.  


You just need to keep all the colors complimentary for it to work.






No. 3:  ADD IN SOME TEXTURE 


One pillow in your trio should have some type of texture to it.  Maybe it is a woven pillow in a solid color of velvet or faux fur.  Maybe it is a plain pillow with embroidery on the front.  Or it could be created out of a hounds tooth wool, vintage repurposed rug, or other patterned fabric.  Tassels, pom poms, zippers, and buttons are all nice accents that add texture to the pillows as well.


A textured pillow is one that has anything that urges you to reach out and touch it.  Texture is important because it is what moves you away from just having three pillows that color coordinate to having a collection with interest and dimension. Three pillows all with printed designs will never make the statement that a grouping of pillows with varying textures will make.

Texture is especially crucial in an all neutral color scheme.  A collection of creamy white pillows will be just as interesting as one with a pop of color if the textures are varied.


Remember, it is important that the textures you choose work together and not all try to get your eye's attention on their own.  Also, be sure to balance the texture with the patterns used because having a lot of variety of both can be overwhelming when displayed together.





No. 4:  VARY THE SHAPES AND SIZES 


You don't want to buy all 20x20 inch square pillows.  Buy some that are larger and others that are smaller.  Add in a rectangular lumbar pillow or even circular pillow with the square ones.  


As a general rule, start with a standard 22 or 24 inch pillow for the back of the collection and get smaller and more varied as you progress forward.






No. 5:  NOT EVERY PILLOW SHOULD BE SCREAMING "LOOK AT ME!"


No one pillow should compete with any other that you've chosen when building a collection to display together.  


If things are in dramatically different colors or everything has a different texture or embellishment, your gathering of pillows is going to look chaotic.  It is going to seem like you just went out buying random pillows that caught your eye with no consideration to whom it was going to sit beside.


Have one standout or statement pillow and then find ones that will compliment it.






When mixing and matching throw pillows for your living room or bedroom, you are looking to find that sweet spot where you love the way different patterns and colors play off one another as one cohesive set.  The result should look like you have a collection of pillows amassed over time, but that you knew exactly what you were looking for while shopping for them.


Ultimately, this is a design skill that is unique to each individual person.  What one homeowner views as the "perfect combination" may not look that way to another.  The decor you have in your home, your preferred sense of style, and the things you find pleasing to buy will always be different from someone else.




HOW TO GAIN CONFIDENCE WITH STYLING PILLOW COMBINATIONS




These tips are guidelines to help build confidence in your own abilities. Play around with choosing different pillows in the store or online to experiment and get a feel for what looks good together, even if you don't intend on purchasing anything right now.  The more you play around with different pillow combinations, the better you will get at finding what appeals to you.


Also spend some time looking at living room or bedroom images with styled pillows on Pinterest, in magazines, or on your favorite blogs.  In the ones that appeal to you, notice how they combined prints, textures, and colors as well as what else the pillows are coordinating with in the room (like curtains, rugs, throws, artwork, and the bed or sofa itself).  While you aren't trying to copy anyone, it is helpful to see what works to get a sense of how to do it yourself.



Shop for pillows and learn the basics of how to mix and match styles #pillows #pillowcombinations #decorate #decorating




CAN YOU CREATE A COLLECTION OF STYLED PILLOWS ON A BUDGET?




Some of the prettiest pillows found online, on Etsy, or in specialty shops can be quite pricey. You may believe it isn't possible to be able to have a collection of many pillows and still afford something nice.

  • But remember that even the dollar store has pillows.  There is nothing wrong with spending a little more on one statement pillow and placing it in front of a solid colored one you bought for $5 at Dollar General.  Or be on the lookout at thrift stores and consignment shops for ones you can mix in.


  • Another cost saving tip is to look for just the pillow covers to switch out and put them over the pillows you already have or buy inexpensive inserts to use again and again.


  • While on the topic of budget, if you find one you love that is out of your price range, keep looking at on-budget retailers.  Many times, you can find something very similar to the pricey versions from McGee and Co or Amber Interiors at a much more economical price.


  • And if all shopping fails, making your own pillows is one of the easiest sewing projects for beginners.  All the same tips apply when shopping for fabrics to make the pillow as when shopping for the pillows themselves.  




It doesn't matter what the style of your home is, what your favorite colors are, or the budget you are constrained by.  And you don't have to be a designer to have a well-styled home.  With this simple formula, mixing and matching throw pillows is something anyone can do on any budget to increase the decorative appeal of their room.







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