How to Decorate for Your Style with Pillows

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on October 9, 2019

When it comes to finishing off the furnishing of a room, decorative pillows are like the cherry on top. Without them, you’ve still got a decent sundae, but that extra treat adds both decadence and comfort. Without a carefully selected pillow or two, a room can come off as empty, unlived-in, or simply blah. 

A few well-selected pillows can help convey your personal sense of style in any room. Adding a fluffy pillow or two to a room can help tie a design together—and encourages visitors to take a seat and enjoy the space. 

Looking to top off that picture-perfect living room or bedroom with a well-placed pillow or two? Or three or four? With accent pillows, it’s often a case of, the more the merrier—just make sure there’s enough space for someone to sit on the couch, chair, or bed where you’ve added them. Stacking a trio of pillows with contrasting patterns or complementary colors can create depth in a space. Arrange each pillow against a contrasting color, height, or texture to make bring out the best in the space, creating a carefully curated moment that looks both thrown together and thoughtful. 

No matter which style speaks to you, you’ll want to follow a few rules of thumb to decorate like a pro:

  • When working with bold prints, try to choose a neutral color tone
  • Mix patterns to your heart’s content, but make sure there’s always at least one color in common across each pillow
  • Work with a variety of patterns, colors, and textures to create a unique something unique to your tastes

We’ve curated a collection of accent pillows to match any style, showing how picking out a few pillows can transform the style of a room.  

Pull off a casual boho artisan vibe with a variety of contrasting patterns, but lie them together by using the same color scheme. Keep it simple—stick to black and white patterns that can pull the look together, while still creating a unique and eclectic vibe that doesn’t look too busy. However, avoid being too matchy-matchy by getting one of each design, instead of sets. Use inverse black and white patterned pillows, and add a textured cream pillow with an intricate border and simple pattern motif to create dimension on your couch. 

Or try varying sizes and shapes, pairing a square tasseled pattern pillow with a rectangular tasseled pattern pillow to create height and depth, mastering the art of the casually thrown together vibe.

Get the modern contemporary look with simple, bold designs that stand out on any couch. The key to nailing this style is to not overdo it with patterns while staying away from blah solid-colored pillows. It’s less about texture and more about minimalist designs that draw the eye.    

Start with a set of matching patterned pillows to frame the corners of the couch, then you could throw in a few pillows with similar designs and the same color family. Finish off the moment with a solo, abstract patterned pillow.

If your style is more glam, opt for bold graphic patterns over glittery or overly complicated color schemes. To create a sophisticatedly styled space, work with modern contrasting graphic designs in classic black and white of a style that’s at once both timeless and modern.

Use a pair of subtly patterned pillows as a base, then add a few bold, patterned designs to the mix–if you’re feeling adventurous try a mature take on animal print, bold black and white design with velvet paneling for texture, then a solid white velvet pillow to tie all the elements together.

Want to achieve that global, jet-setting style without leaving the comfort of your couch? Look for earthy, dyed indigo or shibori patterned textiles for a natural, handcrafted look that’s one of a kind. Nailing the global style is less about perfect matching patterns, and more about playing up the unique pattern, color, and texture of every pillow.  

Stay away from shades darker than dyed indigo, which might look unnatural. Instead, pull in a few off white or ivory pillows that are heavy on texture and handcraft elements mirroring the woven and dyed pillows.  


If your aim is more rustic or farmhouse-inspired, try natural colors with a hint of heritage prints and classic lines. Try a modern update on classic plaid, with a warm flannel texture that welcomes visitors to take a seat. Add a few textured pillows, all pulling from a catalog of harvest, or fall colors. 

Bring in a textured burnt orange pillow, an olive velvet accent pillow, and a terra red set of soft leather pillows. By incorporating a variety of rich textures, you’ll avoid the pitfall of rustic becoming too farm-focused with flannel and plaid. Update the classic look with a deeper fall-inspired harvest palate of greens, oranges, and dark reds.    

If you’re more chic and timeless, with an appreciation for all styles, try a transitional look. However, pulling off this “best of all worlds” style can be tricky–keep it foolproof by sticking to a core color scheme, and a few simple but diverse patterned pillows. 

Start with a pair of richly textured grey velvet pillows as an elegant base to build from. From there, create a striking contrast with a bold black and white pillow, and a simply patterned white pillow with black accents. Finish the look with a rectangular white-patterned pillow to create dimension and height in the arrangement. This subtle mix of patterns, styles, and textures creates a sophisticated and thoughtful vignette. 

Decorating for your style with pillows can be like arranging a bouquet of flowers. You start with a base that sets the tone, then add-in complimentary styles, playing with height, texture, and complimentary colors. Depending on your preferred style, each arrangement, pillow or flower, will end up a little bit different.

Not sure what style speaks most to you? Take Havenly’s style quiz to discover what plush pillow belongs in your pad. 

Words by Emma Diehl