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How To Use Pillows to Make Over a Room

Today I want to share my design inspiration using pillows. Good design begins with paying attention to detail. Giving your pillows a facelift or changing them altogether can transform an ‘okay’ room into something special. In most homes, pillows and draperies add the final touch to a room. But when I design a room, pillows are where I start.

What? Yes. You read that right!


Good design begins with paying attention to detail.


When I design a room, I start with the pillows and draperies.


Last week, I talked about keystone fabrics. So when building a room from scratch, one or more of my pillows will be from that keystone fabric. Then I build from there. The draperies, rugs, and additional pillows will all incorporate some aspect of the keystone fabric. It could be color, scale or pattern. It all depends on the room and my client.

So what if you don’t have the time or luxury of building your room from scratch? How can you incorporate a keystone fabric idea to do a budget makeover of your room?

Here are a few pointers I think will help!

If you live in Santa Fe, head to Reside Home for inspiration!

Reside Home is a great place to go for ideas. Notice how each display uses color, pattern, texture, and yes- pillows to form a cohesive room. Study this, or the pictures on our website and pinterest for ideas about how colors, textures and patterns can be put together.

Study your room

What colors pop out for you?

What patterns?

Of those, what are your favorites?

You may want to purchase an inexpensive color-swatch guide so that when you go shopping you have something to go by. While pantone swatches can cost a few hundred dollars, this CYMK guide on Amazon is only $25, and will help.

Make note of the colors you want to incorporate and then head shopping.

One of the most effective ways to make a room ‘pop’ with pillows is to mix patterns and scale.




Look for a ‘keystone pattern’ that incorporates the colors you want. Can you then find a pattern (the same or contrasting) in those same colors but on a larger or smaller scale?

Think chevrons, stripes, flowers, paisleys, etc… or mix them. One pillow could be large stripes, another small pinstripes on a diagonal, or a repeating pattern that forms stripes… you get the idea. The sky is the limit.

If you can splurge

If you have the budget, consider having one or two pillows custom-made. Or, if you sew and you have some budget, but not enough for custom-made pillows, consider recovering your existing pillows.

Often you can find beautiful remnants at your local fabric store for a good price.

If you decide to give your room a facelift, post the before and after pictures of your room below. We’d love to see what you’re doing in your home!

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