Today, I’m kicking off a new series of posts that I’m calling ‘Decorating 101.’ In this series, I’ll be offering ideas and solutions to common design dilemmas. Whether it’s how to hang wall art, how to mix pillow patterns, or how to style any surface in your home, I’ll be breaking down decorating into easy-to-follow tutorials that will help elevate your space, taking it from being merely functional to something beautiful, fully decorated and uniquely your own. In today’s post, I’m showing you how throw pillows and blankets can make your space look better INSTANTLY.
Regardless of the room, size or style, these ‘twin towers’ of home decorating – throw pillows and blankets – add loads of personality, not to mention a feeling of cozy comfort. So, if you are looking for some fresh inspiration or just need a couple of ideas to help ‘finish off’ an area of your home, read on.
But first, a digression: I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating – I’m not a professional decorator. For some, decorating comes easy; for others, it’s hard work. While I count myself a ‘style enthusiast’ with natural instincts for decorating and space planning, I still find the process slow and, at times, downright difficult. (Sometimes, it can make me want to rip out the cabinets, pull off the curtains, and drag the rugs outside to start a bonfire in the backyard that the neighbours will not soon forget! Anyone with me on that?)
And yet, I LOVE to decorate! Before I started this blog, I found myself spending countless of my off-work hours either dreaming up ways of how my home should look or adding accessories that would take me one step closer to what I imagine in my mind.
One of the things that I’ve learned along the way is which solutions have that ‘wow’ factor that I want and how to achieve this within a reasonable budget.
Among the easiest of the ‘wow’ factors that I’ve found to work exceptionally well when finishing off ANY space, adding both style and comfort, practicality and beauty, are throw pillows and blankets. SERIOUSLY, they are by far the most stylish, affordable accessories that can make a room look better INSTANTLY.
WHERE You Can Add Throw Pillows and Blankets
The 6 most common places that you can add throw pillows and blankets are:
There may be a few more you can think of, but these are the most common.
In examining this list, it is easy to see why blankets and pillows are among the most affordable and accessible accessories you can use to take your space from boring to stylish.
The explanation? There are at least 1 OR 2 OF THESE ITEMS to be found in NEARLY EVERY ROOM in your home.
Your living room, for example, will have at least 1 sofa and maybe a chair. Your dining room, moreover, will have a table with an entire set of chairs. Let’s not forget, your bedroom will have a bed and perhaps a basket or chair in it. And, finally, your entryway will likely have a bench or stool or basket…And the list goes on, depending on the number of rooms you have in your home.
The benefit of investing in pillows and blankets is, therefore, obvious: they will add style and comfort in every corner of your home.
HOW To Add Throw Pillows and Blankets
So now that you have your list of areas that you can add your throws to, the challenge now becomes how you can style these surfaces in a way that you love.
First up: SOFAS AND CHAIRS
There are a lot of different ways to add blankets and pillows to a sofa or a chair. It all depends on your style: Are you a ‘neat freak’ or do you prefer a casual vibe? Do you take a minimalist approach or do you like layering accessories? You’ll need to decide this before adding anything to your seating.
While I am not a stark minimalist, I do prefer decorating with a ‘light hand.’ For me, it’s important to have some breathing space between decorative objects in order to allow the personality of the furniture – whether it’s the grains in the wood or sleek lines of a modern coffee table – to peek through. Regardless, the following decor pics from my home provide a useful baseline from which to get some inspiration for your own home.
When it comes to styling a sofa, I have an easy formula that has worked for me time and time again:
1 throw blanket + 2 pillows
I often start with this grouping of 3 and play with it, either adding to or subtracting from it.
The ‘Rule’ of Three: In fact, this ‘rule of 3’ is a basic design principle. It goes something like this: arranging things in odd numbers is more appealing than grouping accessories in even numbers. That’s because it is unexpected, visually interesting, and more memorable. While three is a ‘magic number,’ so are groupings of 5 or 7, for example. While I am not a stickler for this rule (and break it often), I do find it a useful guideline that I often return to again and again.
You can see this formula (more or less) working in a a few key places in our living room.
Let’s break it down. The couch on the far wall is a classic example of this formula.
On the far right is a throw blanket placed diagonally across the arm.
And on the far left are two throw pillows. (The fur along the back is a throw rug that I added later to hide a sagging back 😉 ).
On the second couch, I break the formula…somewhat. I still use the ‘rule’ of three, except that I apply them primarily to my pillows with 2 on one side and 1 on the other. This provides that odd number that is appealing to the eye. I then went ahead and added a throw blanket UNDERNEATH the single pillow to add some layering to that end of the couch, which I felt it needed in order to feel ‘finished.’
(If you like the look of the striped, boho-inspired pillow, check out how to make it here: How To DIY a Woven Pillow).
The two armchairs in our living room also get a lot of love with pillows and throw rugs in place of throw blankets. No ‘rule’ of three on the chairs, but the overall vignette reads as ‘three’ because there are two chairs with a side table in between. Regardless, it’s the pillows and throw rugs that help finish off this seating area.
On another note: Don’t be afraid to experiment with how your pieces are placed on your sofa. I’ll often place a throw blanket diagonally along the corner seat of a sofa with a couple of pillows at the opposite end. And at other times, I like to create a more streamlined look with one throw blanket folded neatly over the arm and two pillows at the other end as I did in our den.
(For a basic breakdown on styling your sofa, check out 3 Steps To Styling A Sofa.)
Even our front hall entry gets a touch of love with a pillow and throw blanket that create instant pizzazz! Notice, the ‘rule’ of three remains intact with a pair of chairs and side table in between. If you look close enough, you can probably spot other decorating ‘trios’ in this small space:
(If you missed it, check out the rest of our front foyer reveal here: Modern Rustic Fall Foyer).
Without these two very basic decorating items – blankets and pillows – a sofa or chair is simply a bland (albeit still functional) piece of furniture that is not nearly as cozy or stylish than when you add these accessories.
Next up: STOOLS AND BENCHES
Stools and benches can be tricky to decorate. That’s because there is little room to place anything and, sometimes, there is no back to rest a pillow or blanket on. You also have to consider its use. Is the blanket or pillow going to clutter the space or get in the way? Is the stool used very little and can afford to be decorated? Is the bench used primarily for storage or do people need to use it to put on their shoes? In the end, only you know what your stool or bench is being used for and how many accessories you can add.
Usefulness aside, the following images from our home are only guideposts. But, I must say, any little accessory adds instant appeal. Here are just a few examples in our home:
When adding a pillow to a backless stool, I always angle it. Without a back to anchor it, the pillow looks better when casually placed. Neither stool pictured above is used much, so placing a pillow on each works well.
The same goes for benches. I only have one at the moment and it’s situated at the foot of our guest room bed. In this case, a pillow does not work here because the bench is level with the bed, but a throw blanket is perfect as it is both functional and stylish.
Next up: ON A BED
Of course, the most natural place to find a pillow or blanket is on your bed! But, in this case, we are talking about decorative throw pillows and blankets. For some, 1 or 2 extra throws (a combination of pillows and/or blankets) are enough to make a style statement; for others, they can’t have enough! Again, only you can decide if you are a minimalist at heart or if you love to add layers of coziness in your boudoir.
I must admit, our master bedroom and guest bedroom still feel incomplete. Nevertheless, I do have throw blankets and pillows that help create a slightly more ‘finished’ look that I will build on in future as time and budget allow.
Tip: If you are working with a tiny budget, do what I did in both rooms: Use the shams that come with the bedding set and then add an extra pillow in the middle (‘rule’ of 3 in action!) to finish off the look.
It may feel a bit ‘matchy’ but it can be a good temporary solution to help create a more layered, comfortable look.
Finally: IN A BASKET
Baskets are one of my favourite ways to inject both form and function into a space. This is because it is as much about the style of the basket as it is about the items stored IN the basket. I always choose coordinating throw blankets and pillows and make sure the nicest ones peek out at the top.
While styling a basket may seem odd, it does not take much to give even that little spot it’s shining moment! Angle a pillow and casually drape a blanket over the edge of a storage basket and you’ve got INSTANT visual appeal. This showcases both items, while also creating a beautiful vignette.
Choosing pillows or throws that coordinate with the colour palette of the room (or add pops of colour) are also a lovely way to add some eye candy to a room. Not only do your pillows become functional pieces, but they add those finishing touches that help complete the overall appearance of the space.
Throw pillows and blankets are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to add style to a space. They are both functional and attractive pieces and are the perfect addition to any space. When it comes to decorating your home, never under-estimate the tremendous value there is in decorating with everyday essentials like throw pillows and blankets. They add instant style and help make a space feel ‘complete’ and finished while also providing a functional space for all.
Happy decorating 🙂
If you enjoyed this post, check out some of my other decorating posts:
For the best expert tips to styling your home, check out a few of my favourite home style bloggers:
Style By Emily Henderson (vintage, boho, eclectic)
The Inspired Room (coastal, classic)
Sarah Richardson Design (traditional, fresh, feminine)
School of Decorating (contemporary, colourful)