Pillow Pairing & Sizing 101

People tend to really struggle with how to pair pillows as well as how many to use on certain pieces of furniture. I’m here to help!

I have a little bit of a formula when it comes to pillow patterns– I like to mix a solid (with or without trim), an organic (florak, ikat, etc.) and a small scale or geometric.  Like below, on the sofa are a solid and small scale/texture and on the chairs are a floral.  The scales are all different, which is important, especially given that the chairs have a pattern on them too.  The tiny stripe on the sofa would have been way too busy on the chairs and too similar on pattern style. So the floral breaks up all the linear pattern and the sofa has a nice mix of saturated color and smaller scale movement.

As far as size goes, I like my pillows to be a little on the larger side and ONLY use down filler.  Here’s two examples of sizes and pattern pairings that work well!

Pillow Pairing 1: Purple Stripe // Floral // Small Scale

Pillow Pairing 2: Greek Key // Pattern // Geometric  

COMBOS TO AVOID:

  • All geometric patterns together
  • All the same scale pattern
  • All the same material (I like to mix velvet, linen, wovens, fur, etc. to create texture)
  • Get rid of the pillows that come with your sofa. Always.

When it comes to how many and what size to use on various sofas, here is a cheat sheet.


And since men tend to feel like this about most throw pillows (or having too many) I noted where you can option out with the third pillow :)  Too many pillows looks ridiculous and creates issue when you try to actually sit, too few looks sad and anemic.

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Another example of a great pairing of patterns and sizes

On daybeds I go a little nuts because I want daybeds to function as seating and sleeping space. So typically we make round bolsters for the ends and then put three Euro shams pillows along the back and a pair of king shams in the front.  On top of that you can add one or two accent pillows too.

For regular beds, I am a BIG fan of one long, large lumbar pillow. I do this in almost every king or queen bedroom I design.  I make these custom, so the sizes aren’t something you can just pick up most places.  But you can message the many Etsy vendors who make custom throw pillows to ask them to custom size one for you.  For king beds, we do an 18″ x 40″ pillow, for queens slightly smaller 16″ x 36″.  For full and twin beds you can use a square accent pillow or regular size lumbar!

I hope this little cheat sheet helped! If you have any other pillow questions, ask in comments!

Photography of our work above by Michael J. Lee, Michael Partenio and Sarah Winchester.

Pillow & Planter Pairings!

(blue & white planter above, on sale right now!)

I’m in the middle of a little patio refresh right now and even if you aren’t adding or replacing any furniture, you can perk up old pieces or add color to smaller spaces with the right pillows and planters!  Here are a bunch of combinations I’m loving– from neutral and timeless to statement making!

*Of note, when buying outdoor pillow covers from Etsy vendors make sure to get the right insert pillows such as these.

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Timeless Classics from Williams Sonoma Home.

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When working with our clients, we have a key “library” of online retailers we like to source from.  Some are very affordable, others a little more expensive, but all offering a wide variety of styles we mix and match to create custom looks for each space we work on.  One of our most consistent sources is Williams-Sonoma Home.  Higher-end than company siblings Pottery Barn and West Elm, this resource is wonderful for all traditional-meets-modern pieces that will last the test of time (both in style and quality).  Their styled spaces online are fantastic for inspiration too. So I was psyched when they asked to partner with me to show off my most favorite selections-from cashmere throws to canopy beds!  Plus right now they are offering 20% off bedding and bath and a clearance sale with up to 75% off.
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25 Favorites from Nordstrom Home

I’ve always loved Nordstrom for clothing, accessories, makeup and shoes but never really thought of them for home goods.  Well, they are adding a lot of great stuff to their e-commerce site for the home and they asked me to share some of my favorite items (most for under $200!)

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1. & 6 These black and cream Danby cookware pieces are SO CHIC. I’d happily trade my bright red Le Crueset for them!

2. Adore these polka dot stemless wine glasses form Kate Spade.

3. Cool branch candlesticks.

4. The prettiest packaging on these Monique Lhuillier candles (my wedding dress designer!)

5. LOVE this cutting board. Like, for reals.

7. A rustic woven throw perfect to add texture to any space.

8. Vintage cool alarm clock.

9. A crisp black bordered pillow.

10. OK, this little plate made me laugh because it reminds me of this one time my parents got a grill with a rotisserie and after working so hard to get the chicken on the thing and then actually roasted, my mom could notfigure out how to get it OFF the rotisserie. Cut to me walking outside to find her whacking at the chicken with a butcher knife in frustration, with all the dogs standing around her delighted as pieces of chicken rained down on them. I think she needs this.

11. A pretty, detailed quilt, great for layering on a bed.

12. Cool grey and white ikat chevron sheets.

13. Adore the little sayings on these Andrea Schroder candles, and Basil Lemongrass sound perfect to light in the kitchen!

14. Simple, pretty hem-stiched sheets.

15. Adore the emerald stitching on this accent pillow.

16. Yummy towels. I always need new towels and these have good reviews!

17. They sell the Westin Heavenly Bed line and I bet this comforter rocks (may have to order for my new bed!)

18. This stripe throw reminds me of my favorite striped shirts!

19. I’ve used these hobnail candles on a couple photoshoots. Love the texture, and you can use the glass to hold makeup brushes or pens when it’s burned down!

20. Adorable navy ikat polka dot shower curtain (paired with navy walls- adorbs.)

21. Velvet and tassel pillows in a few colors.

22. Another hilariously awesome gift- a wine holder for the bathtub or shower. I mean, if you drink wine in the shower you might have a problem, but in the tub is TOTALLY acceptable. And this keeps it from slipping off the edge of the tub and INTO your bath (which has totally never happened to me. Ever.)

23.  A petite Merci sign to remind one of Paris.

24. Adorable print tiny bowls perfect for sauces, snacks and the like.

25. I love the brass bathroom accessories from Waterworks Studio (also the marble ones!)

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* This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All selections and opinions are my own.

An Inspired Patio

I saw this drop dead gorgeous image of the terrace at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York and thought it was fantastic inspiration for anyone’s own patio!  I have some of Peter Dunham’s Fig Leaf pillows in my own sunroom and even though it’s been seen everywhere I have to say I STILL love it above all other pillows in my home.  Some things just stay fresh, and this print is one of them.

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So here’s how I’d translate this terrace into a patio or porch design…

inspired

sofa // curtains // light // pillow // glasses // table // chairs // lantern // string lights // rug // planters

And if the Peter Dunham is too pricey, there is a great alternative on Spoonflower by Domesticate called Tropicali Afternoon.

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