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 matching pillows and rugs and how to find the best combination for you in your space. Here are my five top tips:

A white linen sofa sits atop the Taza woven rug in black and white. A rounded light wood coffee table sits in front of the sofa.

1. Choose the Rug First

The rug is the largest piece and therefore has the most impact. Area rugs with matching pillows will emphasize the importance of selecting the right rug even more because of the larger size. 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 small accent. Choose a rug you love, and go from there.

The neutral-hued Earth Maze Moroccan Shag Rug designed by Elan Byrd sis in a modern living room with a built-in white stucco sofa with tan linen cushions and neutral colored throw pillows.

2. Pick Your Palette

When matching pillows and rugs, use the rugs 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 ideas:

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. You also want to be sure you’re considering your wall and floor color before you make your decision. 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 decorative than just matching colors.

Make it interesting, using complementary colors or shades that play well with your decor. 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.

A simple yet plush creamy area rug sits underneath a blush velvet upholstered platform bed with cream colored bedding. At the foot of the bed is a rounded boucle bench. A modern grid-patterned wallpaper in tan and white hangs as a backdrop.A neutral diamond patterned plush area rug anchors a cozy yet traditional living room with a dark green sofa with chaise. On the sofa are two black and white geometric square throw pillows and a mustard boucle lumbar pillow and a cozy mohair throw blanket. A square bamboo and rattan coffee table sits in the middle.

3. Vary the Sizes

Whether in your bedroom or living room, when matching pillows and rugs, it’s important to mix up the size 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 furniture. 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.

A large stack of throw pillows lays on a wooden floor and against a wood paneled wall. The pillows are in hues of cream, gray, blush, navy and mustard.

4. Incorporate Texture

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.

Two rounded ivory linen sofas face each other atop the ivory and gold striped Iconic Stripe Rug by Sarah Sherman Samuel. Two round rattan ottomans sit in between the sofas and a plush fuzzy ivory Arches pillow sits on both sofas while a broken stripe lumbar pillow sits on one.

5. 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.

Shop our complete rug and pillow sections below!

A modern ivory sofa with chaise sits on a jute rug with fringe. On the sofa are moss green and mustard throw pillows. A round rattan coffee table sits in the middle. Cream and blush throw pillows sit on a modern cream colored sofa. A neutral plush area rug with black geometric shapes anchors the space and a small round and small square light wood table come together to create a coffee table in the center of the room. A large arched nickel floor lamp hangs over the sofa.