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The Case for Pillows-A Decorator's Best Friends

If you see a sofa or bed without a display of pillows, you might be tempted to call 911 and report them missing. The old habit of putting a pillow at either end of the sofa or placing a single neck roll astride bed pillows is now a thing of the past. And with good reason: First, pillows are just the easiest and least expensive way to achieve a look, change decor, or make a personal statement. So making a case for pillows is a pretty easy task. Having said that, let’s look at the best ways to use pillows and how to really make them your best decorating friend.

Harbour Pointe Sectional

A CLASS IN COLOR AND PATTERN: Many of us are shy about committing to a color or to a pattern, be it plaid or floral. Creating a display of pillow mixing-and-matching is a great way to exercise your decorating “chops.”  There needn’t be a major investment in pillows: You can find any number of affordable and alluring choices that are ready-

made and come as squares or in a variety of sizes and shapes. And if you shop for odd pieces of upholstery fabrics, you can have a personal and individual display.

COMFORT FIRST: Of course, the main purpose for a pillow is comfort, so you don’t want to get too carried away with the number of decorative pillows. Like the old children’s story reminds us–you want the kind and number of pillows that are “just right.” For bed pillows, you might want to add a few extra sleeping pillows as well as several decorative ones to make the bedroom your own private retreat. A good example is seen on these cozy beds from the Harbour Point collection by Hooker Furniture.

Place your sleeping pillows, a double deck if you choose, horizontally. Then, if you’d like a really soft inviting dress for your bed, place a euro-sized pillow in front of each “stack”–perhaps in a striking pattern that you echo elsewhere in the room. There are many ways to make the head of the bed go to the head of the class, including adding some smaller pillows with monograms or decorative stitching. The combinations are almost limitless.

BE CREATIVE: Whatever your personal passion–you can find a display of pillows to express it. For example:

  • Ethnic Fabrics: Your living room or family room sofa can display fabrics from around the world and many different cultures. Rug patterns, such as a good piece from a worn oriental rug found at a flea market, make interesting pillows. Colors are rich and the patterns and textures make for a full look. And don’t think that the background of the sofa needs to be neutral. It’s a fun challenge to create a travelogue on your own sofa or bed.
  • Family Memories: You have a beautiful damask napkin from Thanksgiving dinners at your mom’s, a slip of fabric from a child’s dress, or possibly a piece of the drapes that used to hang in your aunt’s living room. These can all combine for a personal pillow display. Bind the napkin with a ribbon you’ve been saving; use the child’s dress piece as the center of a pillow made from fabric you used to upholster the dining room chairs.  You won’t find such pillows in the department store or in a catalog. And besides being proud pieces of your own creativity, they are yours alone.
  • Your Natural World: Begin to collect pillows that reflect the things you love in nature–shells, birds, flowers. Then use them about the house for your own nature walk. And of course, dog lovers have for years proudly displayed the breeds they love in needlepoint. You might shop for some of these friendly old standards at yard sales.  The tranquil blue of the sea was the inspiration for pillows used on Harbour Point sectional.

SUMMARY: Pillows as decorative accessories are here to stay–and a stronger trend than ever. They’ve earned their places of honor on sofa, chairs, and beds. To prove a point, just close your eyes and try to imagine a room without pillows. And we are constantly amazed at the vast array of choices. You’re sure to find or create just the ones that will make your home more comfortable and cheerful.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Shirley Jeffcoat September 22, 2011, 12:34 am

    I am a design consultant and I tell my customers the easiest way to change the look of any room is to use different accessories. I love the use of pillows and area rugs to change the look of the room. I do this seasonally. Thank you for having one of the greatest blogs with useful and up to date ideas.

  • Kim Shaver September 27, 2011, 5:12 pm

    Shirly, thanks for sharing your comment, and we are so glad that you enjoy the blog and find it useful! Send your friends, and hope you will subscribe by email so you will always get a notification when a new blog goes up.

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