“Regarding your question about pillows...
...I don’t think I’ve ever designed a room of furnishings without them. As a matter of fact, I can sometimes design a room around just the pillows. I think it's a great way to soften a space, as well as add more expensive fabrics and pattern without going overboard.”
That was my answer to a question a reader of my blog sent me about pillows and their importance to the design of a room.
It’s not that pillows are really that important, it’s just that using them to introduce some color and pattern in small doses is really what makes their use a vital part of the design of the room.
When you only need a few yards of fabric to create a significant statement in a room, pillows are...
The perfect place to invest or splurge.
The perfect place to contrast or introduce color.
The perfect place to bring in a pattern that might, when used in a large dose, would take over the room.
So how can a room be designed around the pillows? Well...
Oftentimes, when we start a design plan we begin with the patterned / colorful fabrics first.
Those are the ones that will telegraph the style and contain the palette we will work with. The rest of the project is then filled out with solids, textures, and, perhaps, some supporting patterns.
PATTERN & FABRIC LAYOUTS: Carla Aston
Let’s say we’ve established we want to go with a gray neutral and then, maybe, some black; and the client likes turquoise as an accent color and wants to use it in their living room.
First, we’ll look for patterns with one, or maybe two or three, of these colors in a pattern that makes the style statement we’re looking for. (That’s actually quite narrowed down if you consider things like types of pattern. A large-scaled chevron might not be appropriate for someone with more traditional taste, etc.)
These are also the fabrics that tend to be the most expensive, so using them in small doses is, many times, most desirable for the budget.
Next - Once the primary, patterned fabric(s) is/are selected, then solids and textures are added in. There are significantly more of those out there to choose from than the first ones we looked for; that’s why they are done next.
Selecting wood tones and other hard materials are also factored in. And finally, at the end, you have your paint colors!
Last - You do this step last on a job because there are an infinite number of possibilities available in every hue. You start with the items in the room that present you with the least number of options and build out from there.
So, as a result of how a design plan is built — from the product with the least number of selections available to the type of product that has the most — can you see how the nature of pillows, just needing a small amount of fabric — perhaps the most expensive patterned, colorful fabric — might be the first thing selected in a room?
(And, btw, can you also see how a designer can be heartbroken if the client decides to go with everything in the design plan, but decides to find pillows on their own??? That’s another topic for another day. :-)
These pretty pillows make the room!
Let’s take a look at some examples of rooms that seem to have been designed around a pillow, as well as rooms that would have a totally different look without them.