Unlike John, designer Sheila Bridges takes the "less is more" approach with her pillow preference. "I design pillows I'd want to live with in my own home. I prefer square pillows for their symmetry, and I like a crisp, tailored look, which is why I don't use a lot of fringe or tassels. I don't mind a little embellishment, but I don't want anything that would make the pillow uncomfortable.
Breathable, natural materials like linen and cotton are my favorites. They're easier to clean than silk and feel good against the skin. I love florals and stripes, too. You can mix the designs if you have a color that ties the pillows together.
I don't care for a ton of pillows on the couch. If you're collecting, that's one thing, but too much of even a nice thing makes an object lose its uniqueness. Pairs create balance, and a single in the middle of a love seat will make the pillow seem special."
If you're still confused about which pillows will complement your home, designer Michele Varian offers a few shopping dos and don'ts:
Lose the swatch.
"A lot of times, people bring their sofa swatches in to make exact matches between pillows and their sofa. But I don't think the eye is so sophisticated that an exact match is necessary."
"Another mistake people make when they buy pillows is that they wait until they're nearly finished designing a room, when they don't have a lot of juice left—financially or mentally. Start looking at pillows early, even if you can't purchase them for a while. Even more than architecture, textiles and color can transform a space. They're what we respond to first."
Buy what you love.
"What I'd like to achieve with my pillows is the antithesis of people walking around with swatches: I'd like people to purchase pillows because they love them, much in the same way a person buys a handbag or a piece of clothing because she can't live without it."
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