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How to Mix Your Pillows With Style

by Andrea Doxey April 09, 2018

Sawyer Pillow Styling

Pillow Style

So here's the thing, pretty much every time I'm at a friend's house I get asked questions about styling, furniture placement, paint colours, etc. It's hugely flattering and fun, especially because there's nothing I love more than exiting the party for a few minutes with my gal pal to reimagine or reconfigure a room. It's through these discussions that I was so encouraged to start Rainsford Company, but I digress (more on that another day).

For most of us, a room refresh doesn't mean starting from scratch. We often have to balance our many wants and needs, and sometimes differing opinions. With that in mind, I think pillows are one of the easiest and MOST impactful ways to add new life into a room, without having to start over.


Iprefer pillows on the larger side so that they look proportionate to your sofa, chair, etc. Too many small pillows and it starts to look a bit "tea granny". For example, when styling a sofa, start by choosing a larger pillow for the corners (22x22 or 24x24) – these larger sizes help to act as a backdrop for smaller pillows you'll place in front.

Once you've got your larger pillows in place, add in a smaller 20x20 or 18x18 infront to add depth.  I also like the look of a lumbar (e.g. 12x24) in front of a larger square pillow.

Pattern & Texture

Don't be scared of mixing patterns. Remember to look at your "anchor" piece first for inspiration. Your anchor piece is often your most colourful piece in the room (i.e. a rug, piece of artwork or a pillow). You can use a mix of stripes, geometrics, florals and solids together – the tricky part is doing this so it looks balanced and not "overdone".

Here's our guide to styling pillows 

  1. Choose your anchor fabric first – the largest pattern or most colourful.
  2. Select a pattern that is smaller in scale in comparison to the anchor fabric (e.g secondary fabric could be a geometric shape or stripe that has some of the same colours as the anchor fabric).
  3. For the third pillow you could (i) add a solid colour fabric, or (ii) a third pattern with two to three colours from the anchor fabric.
  4. Remember - you don't have to match your pillows on either side, but if you want to keep it simple and balanced, you always can!
  5. When selecting an insert, choose a faux down (vegan down) or down insert only. Do not choose the stuffed poly filled inserts – they are generally not as comfortable and look stiff. I like to invest in quality inserts and just switch out my pillow covers seasonally.  

      Quick Tips

      • Use pillows made with natural fabrics when possible – they are often higher quality and have a nicer feel
      • Make sure your pillows are stuffed to all 4 corners for a full look
      • Buy your inserts 2" larger than the size of the pillow so they look and feel full (we have already done this for you on our site, so if you buy a 22x22, just buy the 22x22 insert)
      • Do not place your cushions on a point, always long edge on the bottom
      • Try and fluff your cushions daily or every other day so that they stay looking their best

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