At this point, you may already be aware that knowing how to mix and match throw pillows is an invaluable skill when decorating spaces. These home decor accessories enhance the overall feel of a room and can make or break it, similar to how a pair of earrings or trendy headband takes an outfit to the next level. But whether you’re styling a bedroom, couch, small seating area, or an office, throw pillows should always be part of the plan, says designer and HomeGoods style expert Jenny Reimold. “Don’t view throw pillows as an afterthought,” she tells TZR. “They’re perfect for adding color, pattern, and texture to any space and are an easy way to test out new styles in your home.” Plus, “Pillows are a stylish and affordable way to add personality to a space,” the designer explains.
Even though throw pillows have gotten a bad rap for being excessive when certain family members go overboard with a superfluous assortment — if you can’t easily sit on the sofa, it’s too much! — any interior designer will tell you the best throw combinations are all about variety. For 2021, the trends are all about creating a natural and well-balanced vibe: think earthy colors, neutral textures, and artisanal details. “We’re saying goodbye to mass-produced and hello to handcrafted,” says Manhattan Beach-based pillow designer and founder of Elsie Home, Lauren Meichtry. “We’re seeing people pair down consumption and choose quality over quantity. People want to know where their products are being made and what they’re made of,” she adds.
As part of the shift toward artisan-focused businesses, Meichtry highlights texture as the next big trend. “This year, visual interest is coming less from prints and more from texture. We saw some of this last year with boucle making a resurgence,” she explains. “Think handwoven cotton pillows, natural materials like alpaca, mohair velvet pillows, and block printed linen pillows.” Austin and New Orleans-based designer Maureen Stevens echos Meichtry on the texture front, telling TZR, “Cactus silk, Hmong hemp, Turkish kilims, and mudcloth will continue to rise in popularity.” While Reimold adds, “African mudcloth pillows are a popular choice due to their sustainability and handspun fabric.”
Patterns aren’t entirely out the window, however. New York-based designer Eneia White says, “The pillow scene is embracing pattern mixing — I’m noticing stripes paired with floral prints, combined with fun textures and wild patterns.” The designer says subdued velvet pillows are slowly sinking to the bottom of the pillow trends pile, despite the continuing grandmillenial decor trends. Reimold notes, “We see a throwback to classic decor with a modern twist through styles like grandmillennial, which uses an abundance of contrasting floral prints against neutral backgrounds.”
For a tempered take on color, Reimold says, “We’re seeing a rise in earthy colors with global styles. These types of textured, globally sourced pillows mix and match well for a warm and inviting space.” Adding, “Stores like HomeGoods are perfect for finding various options at a low cost – under $25 — so, you can swap out pillows with the changing trends or seasons.” Meichtry also notes the rise in muted colors. “I think we were all looking for the cure for the 2020 blues, which influenced design in 2021,” she tells TZR. “We’re taking a ‘chill pill,’ and that’s translated into a more calm aesthetic.”
Now that you’re privy to the latest trends keep reading for five ways designers suggest mixing and matching throw pillows this season and shop the edit for styles that catch your eye.
How to Mix & Match Throw Pillows: Use Different Sizes
“I always recommend mixing and matching pillow sizes and shapes — when there’s a square, there must be a rectangular one too, and a round one,” Stevens tells TZR. “This variety helps to keep a space fun and exciting while also being functional.” Most important: “The patterns and colors you choose should be cohesive with the palette and design style of the room,” the designer adds. “Details matter.”
How to Mix & Match Throw Pillows: Commit To A Color Palette
“Pick a color palette and stick to it,” Meichtry tells TZR. “As long as each pillow you put together has a similar undertone, you’ll have a cohesive look,” she says, recommending a mix of materials like wool-alpaca-mohair blends, handwoven cotton, and textured linen.
How to Mix & Match Throw Pillows: Use An Odd Number Of Pillows
“For any room, my number one rule is to use an odd number of pillows within a cohesive color palette,” Reimold says. “I like to pick three or so colors and then find throw pillows in various sizes, shapes, patterns, and textures. In living rooms, with a white or neutral couch, I suggest going bold with a variety of colors — this season is all about earthy tones so try opting for gold, coral, and sage green.”
How to Mix & Match Throw Pillows: Embrace Color & Pattern
“Adventurous and playful colors are stealing the show,” White tells TZR. To capitalize on the earth-toned trend, try a bolder motif featuring sunset hues as your focal point, and balance it with textured neutrals. Or, go with a single bold design to dress up a chair.
How to Mix & Match Throw Pillows: Try A Statement Pillow
When decorating a seating area or bed with color and print, Meichtry says, “Choose which pillow you want to be the focal point and design around that.” Suppose your goal is for a textured pillow to stand out. In that case, the designer recommends choosing one large solid textured pillow in the 22 x 22-inch range and layering a muted print in front, and finishing with a small lumbar (around 14 x 20 inches) made from another solid, textured material.
For a bedroom, Reimold tells TZR, “I use four sleeping pillows with a statement lumbar pillow at the front. It’s easy to maintain and can make your bedroom feel just like a luxurious hotel.”