Home & Garden

Pillows give a punch to decor

It takes just moments for Sam June to decorate his family room for the holidays. He simply swaps the earth-toned throw pillows on the sofa for pillows in shades of red, green and burgundy, adds a few ornaments to the fireplace mantel — and he's done.

"It's a subtle change, but it still says 'holidays.' And it's easy to take it down when the holidays are over," says June, a designer who lives in Longwood, Fla.

June and designer Debbie Sheaf offer these suggestions for decorating with pillows:

* A mix of pillows is more interesting than uniform pillows. Mix sizes, shapes, colors, prints, fabrics and trims.

* Knife-edge pillows, which have no trim at the edges, look casual. Basic cording on the edges gives a more-polished finish. (Use same-color cording to unify a mix of pillows). Elaborate trim, such as fluffy caterpillar edging or crisp dressmaker pleats, creates a formal look.

* For custom pillow covers, raid the remnants bins at fabric stores for interesting end cuts of upholstery and drapery fabrics. To cut costs, use an expensive fabric on the front of the cover, inexpensive fabric on the back. Pillow inserts can be found at fabric stores such as JoAnn's. Down inserts are softer than the poly-type.

* When using patterned pillows on a patterned sofa, coordinate the colors but make sure the patterns are different sizes.

* An even number of pillows looks formal; an uneven number looks more informal and dynamic.

* Inexpensive, ready-made pillows can be found at stores such as Kohl's, T.J. Maxx and Tuesday Morning.

* In vogue are pillows in coral, red and black/white combinations; detailing such as fringe, hand-painted designs and embroidered initials or proverbs; and luxurious fabrics such as silk and velvet, as well as durable, stain- and liquid-repellent microfiber.