It’s been two years since our last pillow combo post and I have to say it was extremely fun to get those pattern-mixing muscles working again. I also have to say that this may be my favorite bunch yet. They flowed together like buttah, feel fresh yet timeless, and of course are still affordable. Most of them are under $75 in total:) I was actually planning to write a whole new post but when I look at this one it really had all the info I was planning on including. So let this be a refresher for your pillow refresh. Sometimes a quick reminder of the rules is all we really need. So please enjoy and if you need some new pillows I really hope this helps:
I think that throw pillows get kind of a bad rep sometimes. Even we, proclaimed pillow lovers, fuel the disrespectful fire. When Emily talks about searching for her greater purpose she says, “Surely I’m here to do more than just play with pillows.” And when people used to ask me when I first started at EHD and I would respond, “I basically pick out pretty pillows and put them on the internet.” But what did pillows do to deserve such treatment? What, make our rooms prettier and our heads more cushioned??? Exactly. So I am here today to show you how crucial throw pillows are to your life (but mostly remind you of the rules for making a perfect pillow pairing and to show you my 20 new favorite very affordable combos).
Ok, so to clear we are pillow lovers. They make spaces look more layered, textured, and cozy. They are basically these magical plush objects that can add the perfect amount of personality to a room. Plus, as we are about to prove in this post, they can be really affordable and by simply switching out some pillows you can make your old space feel brand new (I know it sounds not possible but we promise it is).
Since this is my 3rd time writing about pillow combos I am going to bestow my EHD learned wisdom upon you… again. Practice makes perfect, right??
OUR NO-FAIL RULES
1. Keep a cohesive color palette
Look, it’s our favorite rule again (because it’s important). If you don’t have a cohesive color palette then you are setting yourself up to fail (or at least making the job much harder and full of second-guessing). We get it, we love color too, but choose only a few colors you want on your sofa or bed then buy tonally within those colors. Just make sure to leave room for neutrals and deeper/lighter hues from your palette, meaning it doesn’t all have to be the same exact shade of blue or green. If your palette is teal, yellow and rust, feel free to pick a punchy yellow then maybe a pattern with a lighter shade…same goes for all the other colors. This will help give dimension right off the bat.
2. Vary sizes and shapes
Mix it up with size. Buy large squares, medium and smaller rectangles/lumbars, circles, half circles… You get it. But remember, regardless of the shape, just make them different sizes (having three pillows in three different shapes and sizes is a good place to start/build upon). Again, it’s key to give you that sweet sweet visual dimension.
3. Add in different textures
If you are mixing solids or wanting to stay pretty neutral, go for a variety of textures or some pillows with interesting details. That could be anything from the material (like velvet, linen, canvas), interesting hems, tassels, pom poms, or weaving variations. FYI, a neutral color palette can be just as exciting as a bold color combo if the textures are varied.
4. Balance out colors evenly
Spread the love people. This rule applies mainly to sofas and benches. Don’t have all the blue pillows on one side and all the cream pillows on the other. Make sure the colors you have chosen are balanced on both ends. Your eyes will be much happier.
5. Vary the scale of patterns
Don’t pick all large-scale patterns like bold stripes or all small scale like tiny flowers. Mix those up and maybe throw in a solid and you will look like a pillow pro.
Class dismissed. JUST KIDDING. Let’s now get into some examples for those who are visual learners (i.e. me)
Arlyn really nailed her pillow combo on her blue sofa. Let’s see why…
Color Palette: She kept the color palette simple with creams, dark muted blues, mustard, and dark copper which stood up beautifully to the rich velvet blue (but didn’t try and steal the show). Basically, your eyes aren’t on color overload. It’s warm but sophisticated.
Vary Sizes and Shapes: Notice that with each side, she varied the pillow sizes and shapes that were next to each other. It makes it look layered and interesting.
Different Textures: Since the sofa is velvet, Arlyn chose to use only one velvet pillow very intentionally with that dark copper number. Since the colors contrast, it doesn’t just blend in. Then mixing linen, cotton, tassels, and pom-poms make this sofa look SO welcoming and very well designed.
Balance Out Colors Evenly: Arlyn made sure to spread out the colors evenly. Both sides have a dose of cream, blue, and a warm tone.
Vary The Scale Of Patterns: On the left side of the sofa, you have the slightly larger scaled triangle pattern on the mustard lumbar paired with the more delicate and smaller ticking stripes on the large pillow. Then on the right, you have a large-scale floral print, a solid tone, and a smaller weaved pattern in the lumbar. No one is competing and it all looks balanced. You and your eye are very happy, right?
A living room is not the only room where these rules apply. Yep, same goes for the bedroom so let’s jump into this Parisian Suite we designed in Pasadena and pretend we are all in Paris right now.
Color Palette: Ginny was the main designer on this project and she chose to keep things very neutral with black, white, gray, and a hint of red:) We always love a pop of color.
Vary Sizes and Shapes: As you can see, she only used lumbar pillows (even on the bench) but varied their heights and lengths. Because of this, you don’t even really notice at first glance that they are all rectangles. Very smooth, Ginny:)
Different Textures: She kept it simple with cotton, linen, and canvas. BUT those wonderful Rebecca Atwood pillows have a hand-stitched detail that really brings the whole combo to life.
Having a pillow with a 3-D element like embroidery, poms or tassels will really amp up the style factor in your combo.
Balance Out Colors Evenly: Since you can see the bench in nearly the same sightline as the bed, Ginny made sure to give each moment a bold dark-toned pillow. Then let the rest be lighter toned so as to not make it all look too visually heavy.
Vary The Scale Of Patterns: Both of those dark-toned pillows also have bolder patterns than their pillow partners. Those pillows have smaller, very busy patterns to bring more life to the whole design. Otherwise, the room could have looked stuffy fast.
Ooook! Now that you have the rules and examples you can throw them out the window because I did all the work for you with these 20 combos UNDER $100 (Disclaimer: A couple of these are cushion covers so you might need to buy an affordable insert). Ok, check out what I’ve cooked up for you…
1. Oversized Embroidered Block Print Square Throw Pillow | ÅSVEIG | Striped Square Throw Pillow
2. Oversized Blocked Woven Square Throw Pillow | Chunky Knit Pom Pom Square Pillow | Libb Pillow Cover Throw
3. Oversized Teddy Boucle Square Throw Pillow | Colorblock Verging Stripe Pillow Cover | Round Gusseted Velvet Pillow
4. Embroidered Floral Decorative Throw Pillow | Woven Geo Striped Square Throw Pillow | Velvet Throw Pillow
5. Linen-Blend Cushion Cover | Double Cloth Printed Decorative Throw Pillow | Tufted and Braided Lumbar Throw Pillow
6. Basket Weave Knit Throw Pillow | Linen-Blend Cushion Cover | SIMHALL
7. Windowpane Plaid Pillow | Floral Embroidered Lumbar Throw Pillow | Stone Washed Botanical Square Throw Pillow
8. Oversized Placed Striped Square Throw Pillow | Oversized Textured Woven Lumbar Throw Pillow | Andover Square Pillow Cover
9. Euro Woven Plaid Decorative Throw Pillow | Woven Striped Textured Lumbar Throw Pillow | Ivory Abstract Lines Throw Pillow
10. Velvet Cushion Cover | Embroidered Thin Line Lumbar Throw Pillow | Dorado Handwoven Thro Pillow
1. Oversized Chunky Woven Textured Square Throw Pillow | Floral Lumbar Throw Pillow | Textured Boucle Throw Pillow
2. AROMATISK | Woven Plaid Throw Pillow Cream | Edgar Throw Pillow
3. Wool-Blend Cushion Cover | Cowhide Print Lumbar Pillow | Cotton Canvas Pillow Cover
4. Floral Printed Square Throw Pillow | Windowpane Woven Throw Pillow | Chenille Diamond Patterned Square Throw Pillow
5. Linen-Blend Cushion Cover | Jute-Bend Cushion Cover | Woven Plaid Square Throw Pillow
6. Satin Cushion Cover | Oversized Embroidered Pomegranate Lumbar Throw Pillow | Velvet Throw Pillow
7. Oversized Woven Textured Check Square Throw Pillow | Olander Kilim Throw Pillow | Wabi-Sabi Floral Pillow Cover
8. Linen-Blend Cushion Cover | Oversized Space Dyed Striped Lumbar Throw Pillow | Striped Color Block Throw Pillow
9. Oversized Cotton Woven Striped Square Throw Pillow | Crescent Shaped Velvet Pillow | Floral Block Printed Square Throw Pillow
10. Linen-Blend Cushion Cover | Oversized Washed Pieced Chenille Lumbar Throw Pillow | Floral Jaipur Block Print Throw Pillow
Is anyone now pumped to start freshening up their home with a pillow or two..or three? Do you have the rules memorized yet? Kidding. Well, if you are ready for some new pillows I hope this helped. BUT if you have any more questions let’s chat in the comments:)
Love you, mean it.
Want more pillow combo magic? Check out these posts too: 18 Neutral (and Textured) Pillow Combos + 5 Rules for Guaranteed Combo-ing Success | 14 Rules for How We Style the Perfect Bedroom (+ 3 New Reveals) | 18 No Fail Pillow Combos | 22 Pillow and Throw Combinations for Any Style | Mixing Pillows and Patterns; 7 Different Ways | 18 Fun and Affordable Pillow Combos | How to Mix Decorative Pillows (+ 20 Guaranteed-To-Look-Good Combinations)
Opening Photo Credit: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: How We Styled Our Living Room To Sell
These are lovely and I can’t wait to get far along enough in my room design to get to worry about pillows 🙂 I would have loved some outdoor options too, maybe next time!
Yes! I need outdoor combinations. I’ve been looking for round outdoor pillows, hoping to vary shapes a bit.
I, too, am a pillow lover and think these combinations are beautiful. I struggle with using pillows on loveseats. I have two loveseats (and two chairs) in my main living space. How do I make use of some of your suggestions without overwhelming the diminished size of a loveseat?
This is the post I needed!! Do you have any advice for pairing pillow inserts with cushion covers? Should the size of the insert match the size of the cushion? What’s the ideal ratio? AND, do you have any inserts you recommend? It seems like the fullness of inserts from various companies can vary, and I don’t know how to choooooose! Thanks for any help! 🙂
Oops, I meant: Should the size of the insert match the size of the cushion COVER? I got too excited about all of this pillow talk (lolol) and didn’t see that mistake!
Here’s the rule:
If your pillow is 18″ or larger, the insert should be two inches larger on each side or 20 x 20. But if it’s a lumbar pillow and one side is smaller, or a square with sides less than 18″, the increase is only one inch. It’s better to go too big than too small.
For example, if the pillowcase is 14 x 24, the insert should be 15 x 26.
Great posting. Never too many pillow tips. 2 questions:
— Where is good place to get not too expensive, good quality inserts for all the covers I’ve bought?
— How in the world do you get pillows to stay upright on a slippery leather sofa? Have a consignment store “new” (my last pre-covid purchase) absolutely yummy, warm caramel brown, curvy leather sofa that just screams “give me yellow and cream pillows”. Then the pillows slide down and lie flat when no one is looking or the earth spinned too fast for a moment there or something–it’s a mystery to me.
Thinking those schlumpy large pillows I see in photoshoots would work better at staying place, but I’ve never seen square inserts that aren’t the standard pointy-sided ones. Have looked at feather pillow inserts that might stay in place better, but yowza….$$$.
I think I saw somewhere that you’re supposed to size up for the insert in order to make it nice and full, eg if it’s a 20″ square pillow you should get the 22″ insert, but TBH I think off the shelf inserts are harder to find over 20″… But if you’re even mildly crafty you could order the stuffing from a craft store
You can get inserts at most fabric stores. There’s also a chance that Crate & Barrel sells them separately. They don’t list their covers and inserts separately on the website, but I’ve talked to an in store salesperson before.
I just double checked on Crate&Barrel and depending on the size and fill, the inserts range from about $7-$22.
IKEA has some affordable cushion inserts, and they sell them separately
I have to confess that I am a pillow hoarder! Every time that I see a pillow that I love I buy it. My biggest challenge is trying to find a place to keep them all.
I confess the same thing.
Nice work with the combos! So many gorgeous options!
Does it bother anyone else when the back is just a really plain fabric? To me, it makes the pillow look cheap.
I love these…but how old do my kids have to be before the throw pillows stop being stepping stones for “the floor is lava”? I recently reduced our total number of pillows by half because I was tired of the kids leaving them all over the floor!
I kind of disagree with the color palette thing. I stayed at the most charming English cottage recently. Those pillows clashed like the dickens and yet the whole thing added to the charm. It was a revelation.