My Guide to Mixing and Matching Decorative Pillows Like a Pro

Including how to mix patterns!
My Guide to Mixing and Matching Decorative Pillows Like a Pro! how to choose the right throw pillows and style them like an interior designer: pattern mixing, print mixing, proportion, scale and more general interior design rules & tips!

If there is one home decor item that I absolutely love, it’s pillows. To me, nothing quite changes up the look and feel of a space as easily and quickly as a good mix of pillows. So today I wanted to share everything I’ve learned over the years for a guide on how to mix and match pillows, including examples from both of our homes and a few of the spaces I’ve styled over the years. I hope you find this easy guide helpful!

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How to Mix and Match Decorative Pillows like an Interior Designer

General rules of pattern mixing

Before we dig into specifics, here is a great overview of tips for mixing patterns in home decor in general:

  • Determine your color palette for the space— for me, this means making sure that our pillows work with our green trim. They don’t have to be an exact match. Think cousins instead of siblings!
  • Create tonal color stories — you can achieve a lot of visual depth by sticking to a tonal color story when styling your textiles. Some designers even employ the 60-30-10 rule: 60% dominant color, 30% secondary color, and 10% as accent.
  • Don’t use the same size pattern — if the prints are all the same size, it will feel like visual noise to your eyes. Instead, let a larger scale pattern be the dominant element, then use smaller scale prints to complement.
  • Mix in solid color pillows, too — choose a color that is pulled from your other throw pillows for a solid colored pillow to anchor the overall look. A neutral also works here!
  • Style in odd numbers — odd numbers actually force the eye to move around, which creates visual interest.
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Play with proportions and scale

Just like when selecting the mix of pattern sizes, I recommend changing up the size of pillows you choose for a particular location. For example, I currently have two 20x20s and one 12×20 on our sofa. Following the odd number rule, I combine a 20×20 with the 12×20 on one side and then the single 20×20 is on the other side for an appealing mix of print, pattern, texture, and scale.

Keep it simple (sometimes)

Sometimes all you need is one! Especially if you’re styling an arm chair. When it comes to this specific application, I typically go for a bold, vibrant accent pillow since it’s got to stand alone.

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My Guide to Mixing and Matching Decorative Pillows Like a Pro! how to choose the right throw pillows and style them like an interior designer: pattern mixing, print mixing, proportion, scale and more general interior design rules & tips!

Texture counts

Often, texture can count as a pattern on an accent pillow. So be sure to factor that in when styling your look. For example, a cream colored cable knit pillow reads as a pattern to your eye, so mix that pillow with patterns that coordinate and complement.

Keep extra pillow covers on hand

Because I love decorative pillows so much, I keep extras on hand to change them out seasonally. The pillow inserts stay the same (these are my go-to down feather fills), but I can easily swap pillow covers for a new look. The key with this is knowing which sizes you have on hand.

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It’s all about achieving a mix that feels right to you, at the end of the day! I hope you found these tips for mixing and matching decorative pillows helpful. If you have any additional ideas, leave them in the comments below. I always love hearing from you!

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Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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