5 Tricks For Styling Cushions & Pillows Like A Designer

Achieve an interior-designed look with these pillow pairing and cushion styling tips...

Want to achieve an interior-designed look? The right pillow pairings and cushion styling will help give a room a more polished aesthetic.

We spoke to the cool cushion expert behind Elsie Home to learn the different styling tricks.

'Since establishing myself in the home decor industry as a pillow maker and designer, I've received tons of questions from friends, families and customers: How many pillows should I use in this room versus that room? Is there such thing as too many pillows? How do I know which pillow sizes and patterns to mix and match? Are certain textures and patterns better for different times of the year? The list goes on! And although I'm not one for following rules when it comes to decorating (every space should be designed just the way you like it!), pillows can be surprisingly overwhelming and I've found that a little bit of styling direction can go a long way. To help guide your next pillow refresh and styling session, I've outlined just a few helpful design tips that I always like to keep in mind', Elsie Home's founder says.

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1. Styling Pillows in The Bedroom Vs. The Living Room

When it comes to styling the bed, choose two or three pillow sizes to layer. Create some height by using larger pillows in the back (24x24 or 22x22), then size down from there. Adding a lumbar or bolster is sort of the cherry on top of your bed sundae.

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When it comes to your living room, don't forget that sofas are made for sitting and too many pillows can make you and your guests feel uncomfortable. While we all have different design preferences, comfort is typically top-of-mind for many of us, so start with two to three in the corners and go from there!

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2. Layering with Different Pillow Sizes

Mixing and matching different sized pillows creates both a relaxed and a curated feel. It creates dimension and interest on an otherwise blank canvas. Pair small, medium and large pillows together; a combination of 22x22s, 20x20s and a bolster is a great place to start.

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3. Mixing & Matching Colours & Patterns

Start with one or two prints you absolutely love and then layer in neutrals and colours that complement the others. There's no need to overcomplicate things. Think of putting together an outfit, but for your sofa or bed. Would you wear these colours together on your body? If not, then they probably aren't a good fit for your house either. And when choosing patterns, it's easiest on the eyes if you pair small-scale prints with large-scale prints, so each pillow has a chance to shine.

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4. Switching Up Pillows for a Quick Home Refresh

When choosing your pillows, opt for a good mix of neutral prints and solids, so you can add in bold prints and colours as the seasons change. This way, you won't have to swap out every pillow on your sofa or bed. You can also choose to buy just the cushions covers and then swap out the insert from the one you're replacing. By doing this, you're storing and wasting less. It's a win-win!

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5. Choosing the Right Materials For Your Lifestyle

While it might be tempting to choose synthetic fabrics that wipe clean easily, choosing materials without nasty chemicals in them should be the priority. If you have kids, think about how often they'll be snuggling up to these pillows. For young families especially, go for linens or 100% cotton. Both are very gentle, but are still washable and spot cleanable with a little dish soap and water.

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Lotte Brouwer

Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.