Unless you have a natural eye for seeing how textile patterns go together, a simple thing like combining throw pillows presents a challenge. Throw pillows can enhance a corner of a sofa, a corner chair or a chaise lounge. Or, they can draw the eye in an unnatural and uninviting way. Here’s a guide on how to combine throw pillows in a masterful and decorative fashion.
1. Choose Your Front Runner
Your front runner is a pattern that is will lead the display. This lead pattern should convey your overall statement in a big way. Good choices for your front runner include giant patterns, really bold colors or unusual abstract geometric shapes. Your lead pattern should reflect your home’s décor. For instance, if you’re decorating your seaside cottage, a pillow with one graphic image of a sailboat would make a great front runner. Other examples of good front runners include a pillow with an interesting texture or multi-textures, three dimensional elements, or an unexpected shape, like a heart, star or something similar. Basically, the front runner is the show stopper pillow.
2. Select a Secondary Pattern
The secondary pattern needs to be a complementary pattern color in a contrasting pattern. If your frontrunner is all about squares and straight lines, your secondary pattern could feature swirls and circles or dots. If your front runner is a swirly pattern, like sunflowers in a meadow, choose a linear secondary pattern, such as stripes. The secondary pattern can be either lines or circles, but it mustn’t be the same as the front runner.
3. Opt for a Solid
Your third throw pillow should be a solid color that matches the general tone and hue of the other two pillows. That doesn’t mean the solid pillow has to be the exact same color, and it certainly doesn’t mean the third pillow has to be in third place as far as attention-getting. Say you have a front runner with the giant sailboat, and another pillow with teal swirls that represent water. Your third pillow could be a solid coral color that might represent seashells. It might even have a texture to it to symbolize rough ocean coral reefs.
4. Keep Going
There is a rule of thumb when it comes to decorating with throw pillows, that three is the minimum, and the maximum always has to be an odd number. If you’re intentionally creating an aesthetically-pleasing pillow display, you’ll want to stick to this tried and true decorating rule. But if you’re on vacation, and you see an amazing throw pillow, don’t forget you can begin again, with that pillow as your front runner. There’s no rule about how many throw pillow displays you can have in your home, right? So relax, and bring home that pillow that doesn’t fit in with the rest of your collection.
5. Sentimental Value Trumps All
Finally, don’t get hung up on decorating rules so much that your personal taste or lifestyle is squelched. If your grandchild sends you a personalized photo pillow with handmade frills, everyone will enjoy seeing it displayed in the family room. Sentimental value trumps everything else when it comes to decorating. You might even find that pillow makes an ironic front runner to your designer Nate Berkus throw pillows.
6. Color It Simple
Matching color combinations in throw pillows is the final key to a designer look. Choose a 3-color palette that goes with the room you’re decorating. At least one of the colors should go with everything. Beige, black, brown and white can be put together with any other color that you want to bring out in your home.
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