Pillows are like jewelry for a home!  And I LOVE bling!
They add color, pattern and texture. They add seasonal panache and warmth. Pillows can change with our moods!  
And they are a mini facelifts for any room…

Pillows are the quickest way to update a tired piece of furniture and bring a new burst of color into any decor!
The pillows (Pottery Barn Outlet) on my family room sofa are rather calm and serene right now. Because this room is filled with neutrals, I try to add pillows with a refined and tailored… not fussy feel.
It’s difficult to get a great open shot of my pillows… the sofa “floats” between my breakfast area and family room.
In this month’s issue of SOUTHERN LIVING MAGAZINE, Pheobe Howard shares some simple steps for arranging pillows on a sofa.” Mrs. Howard gives her five pillow approach to creating a well composed sofa”, the article reads. I think they are spot on! Here is a mix of StoneGable’s and Mrs. Howard’s ideas…
1. Don’t be matchy-matchy! Pillows and sofa or chair upholstery should not be the same !  Use a combination of solids and patterns. Add pillows with texture for a big visual punch! Mrs. Howard says to limit patterned fabric to one set of pillows. Good advice, but I say mix patterns! Here is where you can go a little wild! Pillows are not a huge investment… experiment!
2. When arranging five pillows on a sofa, the outside pillows should be the largest. 
My two brown linen, jute trimmed piilows are 22 inches. Next to them are two 18 inch linen pillows in a deep rust. They sport a large tortoise shell button enclosure…. nice detail.  Because I wanted the pillows to give color and texture to the room without a whole lot of pattern I used two different solid colors next to each other.
3. Keep the look balanced but not too symmetrical. Throw in an extra odd shaped pillow. Here is where you can get creative. Choose a third pattern with colors that tie it to the total look.
I chose a beautiful crewel-look pillow in a very traditional pattern. It is timeless. It will never go out of style and will look good in any season. It brings interest to my neutral family room and ties in the colors of my sofa and other pillows. This will be my go-to pillow!
The embroidered pattern adds a touch of refined style to my farmhouse family room!
4. Use pillow covers and down inserts.
There are so many reasons to buy pillow covers. Pillows covers can be taken off easily to be cleaned. Some pillow covers can go right in the washer and dryer!
Pillow covers are often less expensive than ready-filled pillows. And you can control the stuffing material.
When you need a new look, just take off the pillow cover and replace it with another.
My favorite reason for using a pillow cover is that they store beautifully. When the cover is done for the season, I clean them, fold them and stack them in my linen closet. No big bulky pillows!
 Make the investment of good down pillow forms. They look and feel so much better. If you are allergic to down, use a high quality hypoallergenic down. 
I have found a very acceptable alternative to an all down insert as they can be very pricey. It is a feather/down blend insert from Pottery Barn. They are inexpensive, look nice and have been durable… without feathers popping through the casing. To see these inserts click HERE.
5. Overstuff your pillows.
If your pillow cover is 20 inches, stuff it with a 22 inch insert. I learned this trick by trial and error. Upsizing an insert gives a pillow a full fluffy look.  Thin, limp pillows are not attractive!
Use a “euro sham” pillow insert for a 24 inch pillow. You won’t believe the difference it makes!
Mrs. Howard says DON’T karate chop your pillows… I didn’t for these photographs. But the jury is still out… don’t you just want to give those pillows a little quick chop?
I must admit, I have a wee little obsession with pillows, and change them often. Because of this I do not make a big investment in any one pillow cover. There are wonderful places to find upscale pillow covers that can keep us within our budgets… etsy and outlets are my favorite pillow haunts. And don’t forget we can make them ourselves! I have a beautiful piece of washed burlap just waiting to become a pillow cover!
As always, decorating is a personal expression! Enjoy and be creative!
Pin It
I am joining Thistlewood Farm  for PILLOW PALOOZA 2012 


  1. says

    Thanks for sharing the great tips, Yvonne! Your pillow covers are so pretty, I love the selection that PB has. I have so much fun playing with them and it’s a relief to know I don’t have to karate chop them…I am doing that all the time! lol!


  2. says

    Such a fun post. I, like so many other bloggers, am obsessed with pillows too. Sometimes I actually worry about myself! Just an FYI…you can get 20 x 20 and 16 x 24 down inserts at IKEA for 6.99. The nearest IKEA to me is a 2 hour drive one way so when I go I always pick up an insert or two (or more.) Your blog is looking really wonderful. So glad you are back!

  3. says

    I love pillows, too. I have some beloved ones that I have had for years…pack them away and then take them out again! I am so glad that knifed pillow look has basically bit the dust. I never liked it to begin with (there-I’ve said it right out loud). Nice post today- xo Diana

  4. says

    Yvonne! I am with Ms. Howard on the chopping technique. I like a more natural expression when it comes to decorating so the chop is not for me. You gave some great advice on pillow placement and your sofa is a perfect example of how to do it RIGHT!!! Great job!!

  5. says

    I recently started doing this when I made one of Michele Hill’s gorgeous applique pillows. Down is so forgiving and always plumps back up. Great Post. I’m off to make your laundry soap. :)

  6. says

    Yours are so pretty and really add some Ummph to your sofa. I made the ones I have now 4 years ago and its way past time to change them up.. Maybe I can use the ones you posted as a sample to go by..

  7. says

    Yvonne, your pillows are wonderful. I just recently purchased PB’s down filled inserts. My 1960’s vintage beach furniture I have in my living room came with three down filled pillows I love-all from a garage sale. Thanks so much for your comment today, it means more than I can ever convey. Hugs, Olive

  8. says

    Yvonne I am with you all the way. Changing out pillows gives a room an instant lift!!

    It is great at Pottery Barn even if they are not on sale!

    ….I wanted you to know…I am featuring Anita Rivera, our Friend, Designer and Paper Artist with Castles Crowns & Cottages, & her Giveaway on my site!

    Art by Karena

  9. says

    First of all, I love Phoebe Howard…and I did read her article on the pillows…I agree totally with her..but like you, the jury is still out on the “karate chop”…..Your pillows are perfect on your sofa…I love Pottery Barn pillows…and their pillow inserts are great and reasonable…

    This past week I went to Arhaus and discovered their beautiful pillows too…they are pillow covers, but come with the insert…

    Great post Yvonne…so informative and beautiful at the same time…Love those “freshy” pillows….

  10. says


    I love this post! You combine beauty with great advice. I’m with Shirley in that I love Phoebe Howard…..but I do karate chop my pillows (yikes!)

    Thanks for linking up!


  11. says

    I adore your pillows; the fabrics, the designs, etc., etc.! I do have one obsession: stripes. I insist that any decorative pillows I have be stood so that the stripes are vertical, not horizontal. I think the vertical draws the eye upward and gives height to the room (can a ceiling ever be too high?). Is this just me being OCD, or what???? Please…HELP!!! :)

  12. Pam says

    Yvonne, I love your beautiful blog!! I recently bought a good sized leather sectional that is the color of dark fudge. It didn’t come with pillows. How many pillows would you use?

  13. says

    I had two pillows in my cart at Home Goods yesterday then put them back. I couldn’t decide if they would work or not. I agree, pillows can make or break a piece of furniture!

  14. says

    Great post with such great advice! I may still hold off on the more expensive down filled inserts … only because my kids are still so very hard on pillows. They get tossed and sat on and used to create bridges across the floor …

    So very happy that you linked up to our Pillopalooza slumber party!


  15. says

    I loved this post, actually I love all your posts, Yvonne:) Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. Your house always looks so beautiful and I love the colors in this room… beautiful vignette on the coffee table. Have a wonderful day!Hugs,Poppy

  16. says

    I love pillows, but I could never have such a beautiful arrangement of 5 on my sofa. My husband walks into the house and immediately moves whatever pillows I have on the sofa and loveseat to the floor. I don’t know if he is afraid of spilling something on them, or if they just drive him crazy…but, every morning I put the pillows back on the couches. So, I tend to just have a couple on one end…not nearly as pretty as yours!

    We so loved Asheville. It was certainly a culinary tour and we found the food there the most interesting of our week away. Stay tuned…we really did some interesting things last week by spending a couple days here and couple days there. That is a bit different than how we usually travel and we really enjoyed all of it.

  17. says

    Love this post! Great advice! I have been slowly switching over all of my inserts to down as well! Your pillows look lovely! I saw that pillow cover at Pottery Barn, and thought it was so pretty. It looks great on your sofa!

  18. says

    Love the “pillow talk” as I’m getting ready to purchase a cream colored sectional sofa for a new beach home. I’m wanting to add lots of pillows to it for color and comfort. Thanks!!
    Ladybug Creek

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *