This article appears in Spring Home & Garden 2018 magazine.
When it comes to pillows on the bed, how many is too many? Cathy Hobbs, interior designer and founder of Design Recipes, shares her insight and expertise on style, size and pillow arranging.
“For many interior designers, toss pillows are not only a secret design weapon, but also the icing on the cake. Toss pillows, instead of being an afterthought, can and should complete a color story, serve as an opportunity to bring in graphics and texture, as well as serve as a prominent design accessory,” Hobbs said.
How many pillows is not only a matter of personal preference, it’s a great debate. While “displaying pillows properly does require some thought and planning,” in general there are no rules, Hobbs said.
Scale and proportion
To achieve proper balance, start from the back and work your way forward, Hobbs said.
“Organize your pillows by size, with the largest pillows in the back and the smallest pillows in the front. A cascading layout in which the heaviest concentration of pillows is in the center and then the display becomes thinner on either end remains a popular trend,” she said.
A look that’s especially “en vogue right now is the use of pillows that are all the same height. Instead of using a series of pillows that are high and low, pillows that are all the same height and even the same color is a current popular trend relating to displaying toss pillows,” Hobbs said.
“One popular trend is to dress a bed only using decorative pillows and place one’s sleep pillows in a closet or under a bed only to be used at night. … Beds are large and as such this is an opportunity where you can display a larger amount of pillows and not overwhelm,” Hobbs said.
As a general rule: two or three decorative toss pillows work well on a twin bed, five or six pillows on a full or queen bed and king-sized beds can typically accommodate seven to 10 pillows, Hobbs said.
Dress (your bed) for success
— Determine how many rows of pillows you wish to have. One or two rows work well with twin beds; three rows are ideal for full, queen and king beds.
— Begin by positioning large decorative pillows against the headboard: 20 by 20 inches or 24 by 24 inches are good sizes. Choose just two or enough to extend across the length of your headboard. As this row serves as the anchor for the pillow display, solid colors work best.
— For the next row, go a size or two smaller, such as 18 by 18 inches. In this middle row, you can mix pillows of different colors and textures.
— For the third row (the front), make a statement. One or two pillows perhaps in an interesting shape or material will help make your display shine.
“Pillows are considered to be portable design. ... Use toss pillows as an opportunity to introduce bold patterns and textures such as faux fur or metallic, and if you don’t like the look you can always try another space in your home,” Hobbs said.