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Updated: Feb 24, 2023

People say changing paint colour is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to transform a room. I would argue that changing up your throw pillows does that and more. Pillows can add those pops of colour and pattern while updating the style of a space. It can set the tone of a room. As you can see that I’m passionate about my pillows! After all...

Now let’s talk about how to make the magic happen! Layering pillows and coordinating textiles effectively and confidently requires some knowledge and strategic planning! Just like coordinating an outfit, there are literally endless fabrics and possible combinations. So, having a go to strategy to help select and coordinate textiles for layering is an absolute must! I use the word ‘coordinate,’ as the goal for a professional looking result does not have to mean ‘matching’ exact colours and patterns but rather, choosing combinations that, as an ensemble are pleasing and complimentary.

Whether you choose a single unified pair of pillows or a motley layered ensemble will depend on several things; the size of your sofa and the aesthetic you're looking for. A smaller sofa May appeared cluttered with too many throw pillows and May end up being thrown on the floor or held on laps when people actually want to sit. If the pillow assortment interferes with the function of the sofa, this defeats the purpose. You may be able to accommodate an assortment of pillows but prefer a clean less is more aesthetic.

There’s no exact ‘formula’, but if you are interested in pillow layering, there are some tried and true tips that can help you put together a composition that combines patterns and/or colors to achieve a well coordinated look!

Step 1: Pick a colour palette!

Never underestimate the importance of

colour choices in room design. Many of my clients prefer to upholster larger scale furniture pieces in neutral fabrics so a great way to inject pops of colour is through throw pillows. Colour can set the mood, influence our emotions and bring life to a space.Often it can be hard to know where to start when choosing a color palette for your design.

Are you drawn to vibrant colours, perfect pastels, airy coastals, warm earthy rustics, or is a neutral palette more your speed? Looking at these colour palettes below, start to identify the combinations that are appealing to you to determine your colour palette preferences. Knowing your colour and style preferences will be key to making colour choices that help you achieve the design style and look you’re after.

There is a shortcut for those of you who prefer a simpler way to establish a colour palette for your pillow choices. A foolproof strategy is to pull colours from wall art that is already in the room.

Another option is to find an 'inspirational fabric’ to pull colours from to build your colour story. Notice the fabric pictured below Centre serves as inspiration for other fabrics selected.

Once you have chosen a cohesive colour palette, it is of the utmost importance that you stick to it. A professional and well coordinated ensemble will result from sticking to the plan!

Step 2: Combine pillows that have:

Texture (velvet, woven, fur, hide, silk)


Large Scale Pattern


Small Scale Pattern

It‘s the most visually pleasing to choose one print to dominate and the other pillows as accents. Typically the largest pattern will be dominant and serve as a jumping-off point for other patterns and colors.

Step 3: Time to Consider the number of pillows and size. The following is recommended:

2 x 20” Pillows


2 x 18” Pillows


1 x Lumbar (14" x 20")

As mentioned, for a smaller size sofa, fewer throw may be a better choice. In this case, you may want to incorporate 2 elements rather than 3 such as a large scale print + texture. Another option is to consider an asymmetrical look using fewer pillows while still combining all 3 elements.

So here’s a recap...

1. Determine your colour colour palette:

2. Select Pillow(s) with Texture

3. Select Pillow(s) with a Large Scale Pattern

3. Select Pillow(s) with a Small Scale Pattern

4. Establish the pillow size plan for each fabric

4. Put it all together!

Et voila! Now that you have all the tools of the trade, have fun, go for it and layer those pillows! Put some of your personal style on display! Send photos! I’d love to see what you come up with!

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