Styling Series: How to Pair Pillows with your Rug
Welcome to the Styling Stories Series! I'm Kelley, the resident stylist here at Lulu and Georgia. Each month, I'll be sharing insider tips and rules for tricky styling situations. Over my ten year career as an interior designer and prop stylist, I've styled hundreds of room settings and have picked up tons of pro tips along the way. Today we're tackling rug and pillow combos and how to make them work for you in your space. Here are my five top tips:1
Choose the Rug First
The rug is the largest piece and therefore has the most impact. If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of editing all the textiles in your living room at once, take it one step at a time. Depending on your style, this could be anything from a bold graphic to a traditional vintage find. Choose a rug you love, and go from there.
Pick Your Palette
Use the rug as a guide to start your color palette. There are many avenues here, depending on the style and feel of your room. Here are a few options:
Make it neutral, using either an equally neutral or bolder, colorful rug with the pillows serving as more as a backdrop. When working with a neutral palette, it's important to make sure that there is plenty of texture in your selections. More on this later.
Make it tonal, pulling out a couple of shades from the rug and choosing pillows in that range of hue. It's important to note that when working with a tonal range, it can be very helpful to choose multiple shades from the same color family. For instance, instead of working with the exact shade of royal blue from your rug, you can choose blue tones that are lighter or darker than the main color. This adds depth to your color range and feels more thoughtful and considered than just matching colors.
Make it interesting, using complementary colors or shades that play well together. You can take a look at opposites on the color wheel, or go with pairings that make you happy. Some fresh examples I’m loving right now are pairing terracotta shades with blues, peach tones with mint, or camel with olive green.
Vary the Sizes
When choosing pillows, it’s important to mix up the heights and scale of the pillows. This allows for visual dimension and alleviates a horizontal line from forming across all the pillows when spread across the sofa. Go for different shapes as well; if you have two square shaped pillows, throw in a rectangular lumbar or round pillow as a fun way to add visual interest. If you fall in love with three square pillows, order them in different sizes if you can. You want to keep the eye moving around, and the best way to do that is with varied heights.
When working in a neutral color palette or using mostly solid colored pillows, texture is key. Nothing is more boring than a group of beige cotton pillows sadly tossed around an equally beige sofa. However, beige can be beautiful when done in a tonal palette, adding in chunky knit textures, interesting fringe, luminous velvet and delicate woven details. This can be just as exciting as a bold color palette for the eye if the textures are there adding depth and interest.
Mix and Match Patterns
The key to successfully combining patterns to vary the scale of the print. Choose your largest scale pattern first. This doesn’t necessarily even have to be a pattern-sometimes, a woven pillow can be so textural that it will act as a large scale print. As such, a slightly textured solid can also be the perfect smallest scale pattern to complete a look. When done in a thoughtful color palette, traditional prints can play well with modern, masculine with feminine, etc. Let your personality show through in the selection of patterned pillows you choose.
Still not sure where to start? I've included several pairings I am currently loving below, feel free to choose your favorite, or mix and match according to my rules to find a combo that works for you!
Shop my favorite combos below: