How To's

How to Mix and Match Pillows Like a Pro

Throw pillows are a simple way to add color, interest and texture to a space. Changing out your throw pillows is also an easy and affordable way to update a room. But finding the right combination of throw pillows can feel like a daunting task. We all want to get that “magazine look,” but we’re not sure how.

Fortunately, styling a sofa isn’t rocket science…but it is a bit of an art. Most professional designers have an eye for mixing and matching colors and prints without giving it much thought. Lucky for us regular folks, there are some fairly simple principals and formulas we can follow to achieve the “professional” look ourselves.

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The first step is determining how many pillows you want. You don’t need an exact number, but start thinking whether you want a large collection of pillows or just a few. What is your #1 priority…style or function?

If you’re dealing with your main living room that gets a lot of tushie traffic, you might not want to toss six or seven pillows on the floor each time you want to sit down. But if you’re making over a formal living room at the very front of the house, your goal might be an impressive focal point.

Some of you design-obsessed people out there might not care if you have to clear the sofa of twenty-seven pillows before you sit down…to you, it’s worth it.

 

Now that you have a rough idea of whether you’re working with a plethora of pillows or just a few, let’s talk about mixing color and pattern.

When mixing colors, its usually best to choose complimentary colors (opposites on color wheel), analogous colors (next to each other on color wheel), or mix variations of the same hue.

colorwheel

 

Check out this complimentary color scheme SwatchPop! designer, Megan, created for a client who wanted to bring a bold pop to her more traditional space.

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1. Blue dot designer pillow

2. Floral pillow

3. Coral with trim pillow

And here’s an analogous combination of blue and green created by designer, Heather, for her client who was going for a sophisticated mix of pillows for her neutral sofa.

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Solid Indigo pillow

Green velvet pillow

Blue and ivory Duralee pillow

Blue ikat pillow

 

So color combos are easy enough, right?

As for pattern, the most important factor is scale. Patterns are considered either large scale, medium scale or small scale.

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Floral print pillow

Black and ivory abstract

Black and ivory dot pillow

 

As a general rule, you don’t want to mix more than one large scale or small scale pattern in the same arrangement. Medium scale is the exception…you can mix multiple medium scale prints but choose a contrasting color or enough contrast in the pattern itself so the eye isn’t confused.

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Blue and white trellis print pillow

Blue vine pillow

So now you know how to mix color and pattern. Next, let’s talk about some “professional looking” arrangements…

1) The 2-2-1 arrangement. This is a great option for lovers of symmetry.
– 2 large square pillows in one pattern or on each end (22-24″)
– 2 smaller pillows in a second pattern next to each of those (18-22″)
– 1 smaller rectangular pillow in a third “statement” pattern in the middle

Kristen coffee table edited high res

2) An asymmetrical arrangement. Start with two of the same large, solid or large scale print pillows on the outside. Next, choose two slightly smaller pillows, each in different patterns, to place next to those. And finally, a small pillow for the center (or off-center). This technique is seen below in this design created by SwatchPop! designer, Heather, for a Las Vegas client who was making over her entire living room.

 

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3) Mix several pillows of the same size. Choose some matching pairs and fill in with 1-3 other patterns, depending on how many pillows you are using.

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There you have it! Hopefully these guidelines for color, pattern and arrangement will help you achieve a professional looking design in your home. Or you can make it really easy on yourself and submit a project to the expert designers at SwatchPop! Whether you simply need help choosing throw pillows, or you need help throughout your room, we’ll create a look you’ll love in just 3-5 business days and starting at only $49.95. Get started now!

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