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The Rule Of 3: How To Perfectly Combine Throw Pillows

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My friend Casey requested that I write a blog post about throw pillows.  She basically asked me, “How the heck am I supposed to know which patterns go with what?”

She’s not alone. I actually hear this pretty often, and it makes perfect sense – if you’re not naturally talented at decorating, how are you supposed to know what patterns look best together?

Credit: Caitlin Wilson Textiles

I’m happy to report that picking matching throw pillows doesn’t have to be a big mystery. Just like styling a bookshelf or a hallway console table, there is literally a formula for success. For those of us who really feel lost, I’ve devised a three-step foolproof method for choosing throw pillows that match:

Choose a “lead pattern”

Choose a stripe or dot

Choose a solid
 

That’s it!  Okay, let’s see this formula in action.

Here’s a first great example:
 

Credit: Hot House Flowers via Etsy; Jonathan Adler Navy Chevron Stripe via Etsy; Silk Linen Pillow in Rose via West Elm

The first pillow is a large floral pattern called “Hot House Flowers” by Schumacher. I call it a “lead pattern” because it’s big. And it has multiple colors. The second pattern is a blue chevron stripe. For your second pillow, all you need to do is pick a color that you like from your “lead pattern” and then pick a stripe or a dot in that one color. The third pillow is a solid I found at West Elm. For your third pillow, pick another color from your lead pattern and find a solid pillow in that shade.  This one is a fabulous textured linen, but you can also go velvet which is really in right now.

Ready for another example of the three-step formula?
 

Credit: Hot House in Mineral from Etsy; Betwixt in Stone from Etsy; Cream Linen pillow, with Jute Braid, from Pottery Bar

You’ve got your lead pattern to start (it’s big! It has a few colors!); you have your “dots” in a color taken from the lead pattern; and you’ve got your solid linen pillow as a nice backdrop.

And one more example for you orange lovers out there:
 

Credit: Nate Berkus Ikat Pillow from Etsy; Wavy Navy strip pillow from Etsy; Orange velvet pillow from World Market

Do you see the formula at play here? Lead pattern (big pattern, multiple colors—boom!); wavy navy stripe—boom! Bright orange velvet pillow—bam!

Some of you might be wondering “wait, can’t I pair stripes AND dots? Or different stripes together?!” Yes. Yes you can. Of course you can! Decorators riff all the time. But if you just want something straight forward that you know will look nice and you don’t have to worry, this three-step formula can’t be beat. It is literally fool proof.


Lorri Dyner is an interior designer and blogger who believes in the power of “decorating for the rest of us.” Using clever, accessible, and affordable ideas, she brings us insider tips and tricks that make our living spaces feel pulled together. Lorri resides in Westchester with her husband and two small children. Visit her at lorridynerdesign.com.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Westchester Magazine editorial staff.

Lorri Dyner is an interior designer and blogger who believes in the power of “decorating for the rest of us.” Using clever, accessible, and affordable ideas, she brings us insider tips and tricks that make our living spaces feel pulled together. Lorri resides in Westchester with her husband and two small children. Visit her at lorridynerdesign.com.

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