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How to Mix and Match Throw Pillows, According To A Pro

throw pillows on couch

I love throw pillows because with them comes endless possibilities for your home.

Changing up your throw pillows can completely transform your space with minimal effort and it doesn’t get much better than that. The right combination of pillows can elevate a space and help it feel more cozy and inviting. Though, for some of us, finding the right combo doesn’t come as easy. It takes a bit of practice with trial and error.

If you feel intimidated by mixing and matching throw pillows around your home this easy formula is for you.

 

The Rule Of Three: How To Decorate With Throw Pillows

how to mix and match throw pillows

Image source: @cloe.thomson

One of the most common, and sometimes unspoken, rules in design is the rule of thirds and it applies to a lot more elements in a room than you may think, including throw pillows.

I like to think of design rules as more of ‘guidelines’. Some are meant to be bent and broken. Oftentimes, the best spaces come together when design rules are pushed. However, if you want to decorate your space like a pro, the basic rules, like this one, should be the foundation of your space.

how to style throw pillows

Image source: @cloe.thomson

Cloe from @cloe.thomson has an amazing knack for mixing and matching throw pillows throughout her home.

The Formula

Odd numbers are generally more pleasing to the eye. Using 3 or 5 thoughtfully collected pillows on your bed will look more put together than just 2 or 4 matchy pillows. That doesn’t mean this is the only way (remember rules are meant to be broken), but an odd number of assorted pillows is a good place to start.

The formula below is how I apply the rule of thirds to throw pillows when putting together a space. You can use it like a cheat sheet:

  • 1 solid textured pillow
  • 1 large scale (simple) pattern
  • 1 small scale (complex) pattern

If you are using more than three pillows, I suggest adding in more solid textured pillows and maybe repeating your large scale pattern.

coordinating throw pillows

Image source: @paintandpeony

Alana, @paintandpeony, shows the perfect way to apply this formula to your home.

Mixing Pillow Colors

Before you start working on the formula I shared above, it is really helpful to pick a color palette. Think about the colors that are already in the area. Try to pull in colors and tones that compliment your living room rug or artwork etc.

When creating pillow combinations try to aim for:

  • One neutral color
  • A main color
  • An accent color

Remember that it is okay to have a muted palette, but pillows are a fun place to add an unexpected pop of color.

how to decorate with throw pillows

Image source: @sherylsandersdesigns

Sheryl from @sherylsandersdesigns shows how to use a color scheme in her bedroom. Notice how she pulls her pillow colors from the décor around her bed.

Mixing Pillow Textures

When in doubt, always go for texture! I absolutely love to mix textures. Color and pattern are important, but texture is what brings everything to life. Even the most neutral color scheme can be interesting when you mix different materials.

throw pillow ideas

Image source: @modernly_you

Ashley from @modernly_you does an amazing job at mixing neutral texture in her bedroom. This combo makes her bed look so inviting.

Some examples of different pillow textures you can mix are:

  • Linen
  • Mudcloth
  • Velvet
  • Corduroy
  • Wool
  • Kilim
  • Embroidered
  • Faux leather
  • Faux fur
  • Macramé
  • Poms
  • Tassels

There is no right or wrong way to mix textures, but something great to keep in mind is that lighter fabrics read more spring/summer and heavier, warmer fabrics read more fall/winter if you’re taking seasons into consideration.

 

Mixing Pillow Patterns

Pattern can be the most intimidating element when people mix and match throw pillows. It sometimes takes a bit of practice to learn your style, but once you understand mixing patterns, you’ll realize how much more put together your space looks vs. when everything “matches”.

Complex Patterns

Complex patterns have more detail and are often (not always) smaller in scale.

Simple Patterns

Simple patterns have less detail and are usually larger in scale. Think more abstract or geometric.

decorate with pillows

Image source: @nestingwithgrace

Brooke from @nestingwithgrace is known for her cozy style and ability to mix and match patterns within her home. The cushions on her living room couch are a prime example

Using Both Simple and Complex Patterns

The reason you want to mix and match both types of patterns is so that your patterns do not compete with each other. A good example of this would be a simple stripe patterned throw pillow mixed with a complex floral pattern throw pillow, like the image below. Florals tend to be busy, and your eyes usually jump straight to them. If you had another busy pattern your eyes wouldn’t know where to look first. Pairing it with a simple pattern allows your eyes to take in the details of the floral print and then move on, creating flow..

mismatched throw pillows

Where To Find Mix And Match Throw Pillows

Not sure where to search for pillows? There are many great places to shop for throw pillows. But first, I want to let you in on a secret.

Purchasing a pillow cover is better than purchasing a full pillow. Storing covers only will save you a ton of space, making it the easy way to change pillows when you feel like it. If you are looking at a pillow that is already stuffed check to make sure that it has a zipper.

 

Where To Find Inserts

By only purchasing the cover, you can decide what insert you want to use. A good pillow insert can make even the most inexpensive covers look luxurious.

These pillow inserts from IKEA are the absolute best value. Down or down alternatives, like these, will help you get that fancy (and satisfying) karate chop shape you often see in design photos and mood boards for interior design.

couch pillow ideas

Image source: @homesweethorton

Brooke from @homesweethorton shares a fun pillow combo on her couch

Pro Tip:

Always use an insert one size larger than your pillow cover for a fuller look.

So for an 18 inch cover you will want to use a 20 inch insert.

 

The Best Places To Find Trendy Pillows and Covers

 

Visual Shopping Guide for Mixing and Matching Throw Pillows

If you are looking for more inspiration check out these pillow combinations I created. It is really easy to get a variety of looks when you mix and match some of the same pillow covers. You do not need a huge stash of different pillows to change the look of your space. Sometimes swapping one pillow is all it takes. Neutral, textured pillows, like some of these, can go anywhere in your home. They make it easy to swap pillows from your bedroom to your family room and make the perfect base for layering.

decorate with pillows

  • Pillow A - Woven Nook, WES pillow cover, made in Morocco ($44.95)
  • Pillow B - Pillow Restock, Lanny pillow cover, inspired by African Mudcloth ($60)
  • Pillow C - Target, Threshold oversized pillow ($29.99)
  • Pillow D - Target, Opalhouse oversized pillow ($30)
  • Pillow E - Woven Nook, OLLIE pillow cover, made in Morocco ($44.95)
  • Pillow F - Woven Nook, OFF-WHITE THICK WEAVE POM pillow cover ($26.95)
  • Pillow G - Woven Nook, WREN pillow cover, made in Morocco ($44.95)
  • Pillow H - Etsy, Turkish Kilim Pillow ($36)
  • Pillow I - Pillow Restock, Orla pillow cover, inspired by African Mudcloth ($55)
  • Pillow J - Pillow Restock, Kris pillow cover, inspired by African Mudcloth ($42)

What do you think? Will you change the way you mix and match throw pillows in your home? Feel free to leave your questions in the comments below! 

 

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