Home decor: Engaging in a bit of ‘pillow talk’

Rancho Santa Fe interior designer Penelope Voisen engages in a bit of ‘pillow talk’

You can never have too many pillows on a bed. The warm, inviting, and comfortable feeling you get when you enter a bedroom and see lots of pillows on the bed instantly gives a relaxed sense of being.

What is it about pillows?

We always seem to need more of them. Pillows are my absolute favorite accessories. It’s impossible to have too many.

There are so many places in the home to use them, and when you want a new look, changing the pillows changes the room.  Whatever your style, the beauty of using pillows, is there’s no commitment. You can move them around as strikes your mood, or as the seasons change.

Pillows are the accessories that offer unique versatility. Adding a pillow,or three, to your sofa, chair or bed lends color, pattern, interest and comfort.

Pillows add dash and sparkle to a space. They provide accent, excitement, frill and lots of personality to decorating.  They can transform a room almost instantly.

Photo by Elayne Barre Photography

The options for pillows are endless. Size, shape, embellishments, fabric and style of pillows are limitless. Choosing the fabric for a pillow is the best place to start.  Fabric allows you to introduce color, pattern and texture to a room.  Fabric makes the pillow and provides real character.

How a pillow is trimmed also makes a big impact. Whether taking inspiration from history, or fresh for today, different touches used on pillows set the mood for the application.

Brush fringe, flanges, tassels, cording, ribbon, beads and buttons are options when trimming a pillow. Some of the newer, colorful trims add eye-catching charm and playful panache to pillows.

Another option for pillows is using a flanged edge. A flange gives a pillow a fluttery effect by using a piece of fabric that extends beyond the seam of the pillow. The flange can be filled for a cushioned effect, or half-filled for a little body, or unfilled for a flat, fluttery effect. I like to use unfilled flanged pillows on beds, in a European square style, which is 27” x 27”. Flanged pillows themselves are a good design as they are neither masculine or feminine.

Self-welt pillows use the same fabric for the welt as the fabric that covers the pillow. You can vary the size of the welt from one-quarter inch to one inch or more, depending on the application, size of the pillow, and the look you are trying to achieve.

Adding detail to pillows should be fun, not intimidating. It’s not necessary to coordinate everything exactly. For example, on a project for a client, I used large wooden buttons on several pillows I had made for her dining nook. The buttons didn’t match the dark wood, so I had them stained to blend in.

You can drive yourself crazy over pillows.The completed dining nook area drew so much of its charm from the medley of patterned pillows – ten to be exact. There were three  with wooden buttons, three more in another fabric with a one-inch jumbo welt, two others in a third fabric with a one-inch jumbo welt again, and two other pillows where I used a contrasting fabric for the backs.

Shag pillows/Pinterest

All of these pillows coordinated with the custom cushioned chair pads on her Windsor chairs. The result was incredible, with lots of color and personality.  Then my client asked, “What am I supposed to do with the pillows when I have guests?”

When placing pillows on sofas, window seats, or nooks, I prefer starting with larger pillows on either side, and one in the corner if there’s an angle, or a sectional. Then, I pair down, layering patterns and textures.

You can never have too many pillows on a bed. The warm, inviting, and comfortable feeling you get when you enter a bedroom and see lots of pillows on the bed instantly gives a relaxed sense of being.

In my bedroom, I have eight pillows on the bed. That’s not counting the sleeping pillows. I layer the pillows beginning with two standard-size down flanged white textured pillows that rest against the curry yellow toile upholstered headboard.  Then, I place two king-size unfilled flanged pillows in a silk check. Then, come two European square pillows in the toile. I finish this grouping with two lumbar pillows in a rich tapestry fabric with bouillon fringe on each end. It can be an ordeal making a bed with lots of pillows, but it’s worth it when you walk in your bedroom and see the cozy, finished space.

Whether your style is traditional, modern or eclectic, using pillows in your décor can emphasize, refine, contrast, compliment and add interest to most any room in your home.

I love lots of pillows!  A profusion of pillows is always luscious. They’re an easy way to add a sense of luxury and well-being.  They’re also great for having a good pillow fight.