Beautiful, high-end pillows add elegance and comfort to any space and are possible to create on your own with just a bit of imagination and enthusiasm. When designing your own decorative and unique pillows, consider these simple steps to guarantee fantastic new pillows you will enjoy in your home.
Decide on the direction of your design. What is your preferred style and what are the demands of your space? Contemporary? Traditional? Transitional or vintage? Draw a sketch first to help pull your best ideas and keep things on track.
Know your dimensions. Sizing is key depending on where your pillow will go. Be prepared to make 20” x 20” to 22” x 22” pillows for a sofa and 18” x18” pillows for a chair.
Use plenty of materials for inspiration. I like to gather all kinds of ribbons, buttons and fabric scraps so that I have a good amount of items to choose from when I’m doing my designing.
Don’t discard undersized materials. If you have something extra special you want to apply to your pillow, there are all kinds of ways to integrate small amounts of fabric or ribbon into the overall product. It all depends on your design.
Incorporate lots of buttons! Buttons can be fun to close down the middle. You can display the pillow on either side!
Think out-of-the-box. I love vintage handkerchiefs as they usually have initials embroidered on the corners. Now that I have collected more than 300, I can often find the right letter for a client to incorporate in the perfect spot on a custom pillow.
Try panels with contrasting materials. One of my favorite decorative pillows has a three-panel front and a solid back. Your printed fabric should always be placed in the center panel and the two side panels should be more neutral. Add ribbon detailing to the center seams for a spectacular result!
Jazz up solids. A solid fabric pillow is delightful with a ribbon design on the front. Try using two colors to make it more interesting.
Don’t be afraid to mix florals and stripes. This goes for different textures too. Remember these pillows are about expressing your fun side!
Add some spice to simpler styles. If you like simpler pillow styles, try a solid front and back and spice it up with a double welt at the seams. Perhaps choose a standard cord welt with a flat flange behind it. This adds a great pop of color without a huge commitment!
Be daring! Pillows are like napkins – You should have several to choose from depending on the season, holiday or mood. Switch them out to get a new look for very little effort!
I love my pillow workshops with my clients and use as many unique fabrics and notions as I can find. I always bring many ribbons – some from France with metallic weaving, some from England with fun stripes. I have even garnered elements from French military uniforms. Use your imagination and resources to come up with your own fabulous designs.
See below for photos of our 2015 Birmingham Pillow Workshop – and look for the next Pillow Workshop coming soon! You will find even more design ideas by clicking through our online gallery.