Design Debate: Our Love/Hate Relationship with Throw Pillows

Designers across the board are big fans of throw pillows. We see photo after photo in design magazines and online of sofas, chairs, and beds piled up with pillows that add so much beauty and character to a space. We can all agree — throw pillows are the easiest and least expensive way to add lots of color, texture and pattern to a room! But, there’s another, more complicated side to these designer beauties.

Kate’s Take: 6 Reasons I’ve Given Up (Most) Throw Pillows (For Now) 

Though I admit to having bought my fair share of throw pillows over the years, (I mean I do love a well-dressed room!) in my “real home”, shared with 1 husband, 2 kids, 2 cats and 1 dog, throw pillows are, quite frankly, a bit of a pain!

Here are 6 things I hate about throw pillows:

  1. My husband hates throw pillows. At 6’4” he takes up all the room a seat has to offer, so he naturally tosses any throw pillows off the chair/sofa when he wants to sit. Every time.
  2. My kids love throw pillows! They show their love by tossing them around the room, playing with them, jumping on them, building forts with them, and just generally littering my floor with them. Every day.
  3. The cats also apparently love throw pillows. They sleep on them, which then leaves fur all over. (With my white Persian cat, Marshmallow – no more black pillows for me!)
  4. The dog must be in the “hates it” camp, as he chews the corners off any pillow left on the floor. which we’ve already established is every time my husband sits down or the children enter a room, so, yeah, we’ve had our share of pillow fatalities.
  5. Guests are sooo confused by them. Present a guest with a pillow-filled sofa and they literally do not know where to sit. The pretty little pillows are taking their spot – should they perch on the sofa’s edge, remove your perfectly fluffed prizes, or just sit on the floor! (Oh wait … there are pillows there too left by the kids and my husband … )
  6. I get tired of managing them. So especially when it comes to beds, I limit the pillows. The last thing I want to do (after a long day of picking up and fluffing throw pillows from around my house) is to add and remove one last pile of pillows from my bed.
Yes, this is pretty … but seriously, this three-seat sofa now only has room for one!

For these reasons, I rarely buy decorative throw pillows anymore. Still, for someone who loves a well-styled room as much as I do, the throw pillow habit is hard to break. For me then, the key is moderation – and budget. When I do want to dress up a sofa or chair, I spend as little money as possible. For bedrooms, I am a big fan of European shams. They have big visual impact with little effort, plus provide a useful backrest for those nights you’re up late reading our blog!

Demonstrating that less is more when it comes throw pillows: 2 simple pillows were all it took to add some serious punch to this client’s space.

If you don’t experience the same frustrations as I have, then by all means purchase as many pillows as you want and make your heart sing! For me, I’m finding my bliss these days by adhering to the old motto – sometimes less is more!

Shari’s Turn: In Defense of Throw Pillows

Yes, I get it. I absolutely sympathize with all the ways that throw pillows can drive a person insane (well, except for #4 because my dog prefers to chew on (i.e., destroy) wood over fabric!). And yet, as irritated as I sometimes get when I find these these pretty poufs all over my floors instead of my furniture, I just can’t give up my pillows! It’s like the occasional three hour happy “hour” or the (not so occasional) binge watching of the latest Netflix series – sometimes a fun indulgence is worth a little pain!

So despite the headaches …

Here are 6 things to love about throw pillows:

  1. Throw pillows are the easiest and least expensive way to introduce a lot of color, texture, and pattern into a room. You could invest in a beautifully upholstered statement chair or spend hours hanging graphic vintage wallpaper, or you could buy yourself some throw pillows. You choose.
  2. Throw pillows are easy to change out. I’m a gal who likes variety – I rearrange my furniture yearly and switch between 2-3 purses each week. So for me, throw pillows are the quickest way to change the look of a room. Whether, I’m just shifting seasons or have fallen for a new favorite color, a different throw pillow or two can satisfy my craving for novelty.
  3. Throw pillows are comfy and cozy. Sure, my husband and kids may throw them on the floor, but when I sit on the couch, I promptly gather them all up. I prop one under my arm for support and another on my lap to hold my computer. If a child wants to cozy up on my lap, we need at least one more to protect from bony elbows and hips. And yes, I’d like a throw blanket to complete my nest, please.
  4. Throw pillows expand your decor choices – especially if you can sew (or better yet, talk someone into sewing for you). Home decor, like fashion, is ruled by trends. For independent spirits who refuse to embrace the color pink or floral on-demand, a fabric store and a sewing machine broadens your choices of colors and patterns significantly.
  5. Throw pillows are the quick pick me up of home decor. It’s like buying yourself a new shade of lipstick or finding a cute purse on clearance! Pillows don’t have to “fit”. You don’t have to spend hours researching “the best throw pillow for your lifestyle and budget”. You can just waltz into your favorite shop and enjoy the impulse buy! It’s about as much bliss as $20 can buy you in the world of home decor!
  6. Nap time. Not a single couch I know can support a good afternoon catnap without a throw pillow or two.  And that folks, is a confession from my “real home”.
Fabric picked by me; pillow sewed by Grandma = win, win!

So yes, throw pillows can be a pain, and I do think they should be used with restraint. As with many things in decor, you can easily have “too much of a good thing” and be left with a cluttered space. Also, as an allergy sufferer, I completely agree with Kate in that, personally, there is no place for a stack of pillows in my bedroom that lay on the floor gathering dust each night as I sleep. Achoo! But beyond that, I will continue to keep throw pillows on sofas and chairs in my real home.  They’ll perk up my rooms and litter my floors! Sometimes bliss has a price.

Sure my kids will throw these pillows on the floor, but if they get the subliminal message to “live, laugh, love” on the way down, I’m good with that!

Your Turn

So there you have it friends, the good, the bad and the ugly (scratch that last one, throw pillows are almost never ugly!) of decorative throw pillows.  We’d love to hear what you think. Different homes have different needs, as do the people within! What’s your happy place? Count them up if you care too … tell us how many throw pillows are in your real home. Are they bringing you bliss or frustration?

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