Design Dish: Sofa Pillow Styling

I get many requests from e-decorating clients where a client just needs a little help with some styling in a space. Most times clients are the most perplexed by figuring out their toss pillow arrangements.

Here are a couple of tips for tackling your own pillow talk situation.

Formula for traditional:
– Qty 2: Two toned fabric for 20″ pillows
– Qty 2: Floral fabric for 18″ pillows
– Qty 1: Lumbar pillow in accent color 16″ x 24″

sofa pillow styling
{Turkish Toile Pillow, Orangerie Pillow, and Teal Lumbar Pillowon Downtown Elise Sofa}

For a traditional setting I would recommend two large pillows (20″) with a two tone pattern like the toile featured above or a gingham, polka dot, stripe, etc. I would then add a floral or paisley option that has multiple colors, one of which should coordinate with the two toned patterned pillows you have. I would make these 18″. To finish everything up I would pick a solid lumber pillow that is an accent color from the floral pillow. Typically I make lumbar pillows 16″ x 24″.


Formula for traditional with a twist:
-Qty 2: Solid fabric for 20″ pillows
-Qty 1: Multi-color pillow for 18″ pillow
-Qty 1: Two-toned pillow for 18″ pillow
-Qty 1: Lumbar pillow in a multi-color pattern that is the opposite scale of whatever fabric you choose for your multi-color fabric.

sofa pillow styling
{Orange Pagoda Pillow,Confetti Pillow,Get it Girl pillow,and Pink Agra lumbar pillow.on Downtown Elisa Sofa}

For a traditional with a twist setting I would recommend two large pillows (20″) in a mainly solid color with perhaps a contrasting trim. I would then add 2 pillows in the 18″ size, but instead of a floral I would go something like multi-color like a confetti print. Instead of getting a match set I would break it up with a two toned pillow in this case one with type on it. Lastly I would still add a lumbar pillow, but instead of solid I would twist things a bit with a pattern and since our multi-color fabric is so tight it’s best to go with a larger scale pattern.


Formula for Eclectic Styling:
-Qty 1: Two toned pillow for 20″ pillow
-Qty 1: Multi-Color floral for 20″ pillow
-Qty 1: Two toned pillow (18″ pillow) in a different scale from the above pillow options.
-Qty 1: Two toned pillow (18″ pillow) in a different scale from the above pillow options.

sofa pillow styling
{Turkish Toile Pillow,Fuchsia peek pillow,Everyday I’m Hustling Pillow,and Peacocks and Petals pillowon Downtown Elise Sofa}

For an eclectic styling really all bets are off. You can do whatever you like. I have a little formula that I still like to use for an eclectic mix, because in my book eclectic and that undecorated look is the hardest look to tackle. For this mix I would recommend two large 20″ pillows and break them up with a two toned patterned pillow and multi-color pillow like a floral. Scale wise I would make them equal. In this case they are both busy with very little of the background showing through the pattern. I would then add two 18″ pillows that are both two toned patterns like a chevron, stripe, dot, type, gingham, etc and have them be opposites with their scale. So in this mix the chevron number is a bit tighter and fills the whole pillow and the other pillow has type on it and there is a lot more of the background color showing through.

Decorators tip: Always buy your pillow inserts a size larger than your pillow covers. So if you have an 18″ pillow cover than purchase a 20″ pillow insert.

To get my views on whether to karate chop of not head here.

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4 Responses to Design Dish: Sofa Pillow Styling

  1. Love this post. Especially since I can look at pillow arrangements all day. :) Great tips!

  2. Julie says:

    these are really great tips, Camila! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jen says:

    What about pillow styling on a sectional? I always struggle with this.

  4. Manju G says:

    LOVE all of these vintage cushion pillow covers , so beautifully produced and perfect for drawing,bed,sofa couch. Such a beautiful blog you wrote.

    You can find some more on my etsy shop as well

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