Change a Room’s Look with Throw Pillows

I wanted to share with you a post I recently wrote for If you are sick and tired of your room’s decor, never fear because I have an easy fix for you!  To get a completely fresh look, all you need to do is change out your throw pillows and a few accessories.  Don’t believe me?  Well let me show you how I achieved two very different looks on a very tight budget.

For my first look, I wanted to create a soothing coastal/cottage living room.  

To achieve this, I purchased decorative pillows in nautical colors which were on sale at Macys. These pillows were still a bit pricey even on clearance.

I used a white throw to soften the corner of the couch and a fun blue birdcage filled with old books and starfish. When layering throw pillows, consider having a mix of sizes, prints, and textures. The navy pillow is a solid color but has a beautiful ruffly look that gives it much more interest than an untextured pillow. The smaller pillow has a three dimensional quality to it that plays off of the blue hue in the birdcage. With a very limited amount of pillows and accessories we’re able to create a personality to this space.

But what if you’re just not feeling nautical any longer and you want a completely different look? Keep reading to find out how to make easy designer pillows at a fraction of the cost!

For my next look, I wanted a space with more energy, so I chose primary colors in vintage-inspired florals.  I achieved this look using…are you ready for it?  

…a placemat and some cloth napkins!

Placemats and napkins make fantastic pillows because they are already hemmed for you.  All you have to do is place a pillow form inside the fabric and do a little bit of sewing.

To create the smaller pillow, I purchased a Vera Neumann placemat and used a seam ripper to open up one side.    

Once opened, I placed a small pillow form inside and sewed it shut by hand.

For the larger pillow, I sewed two Vera Daffodil napkins together on three sides, placed a pillow form inside, and stitched the last side up by hand.  Voila!  Designer looking pillows at a fraction of the cost!

decorating with pillows

To add a punch of playfulness to the room, I layered some extra Vera napkins on the coffee table and added some fun accessories.

decorating with pillows

My mission is accomplished!  I was able to create two completely different looks in the same room with a little ingenuity and savvy shopping!  If I can do it, so can you.

decorate with pillows

Here are some other quick tips for decorating with throw pillows:

  • Vary your pillows by size, texture, print, and style for the most eye pleasing arrangement. Your pillows do not have to match but should blend and work together.
  • If you’re not sure where to begin in choosing your throw pillows, use a piece of artwork in the room to glean color inspiration. Pick a few colors from your art and then find various prints and patterns that reflect the same palette.
  • Down filled pillows are squishier and will look fuller than polyfilled pillows but down/feather filled pillows will be pricier.
  • Don’t forget that napkins and placemats make excellent pillow covers and that bed pillows can be cut to size to fill your homemade throw pillows.

decorating with throw pillowsHousetoHome 

How abou you? Do you have any favorite throw pillow tips and tricks to share?

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    • Beth @A to Z says

      Yay for napkin pillows! My first napkin pillow creation was when I was in college in 1995 and I’ve never looked at a napkin the same again :).

  1. says

    Loving the bright floral prints…I never seem to have luck finding pretty placemats or napkins that are reasonably priced. I do however find tons of down feather inserts in thrift stores (then freeze them, dry them on hot to lose the ick!)

    • Beth @A to Z says

      I really need to find some more! Someone at Snap had a great tip: Buy a large down bedroom pillow and cut it to size to stuff your throw pillows.

  2. Kathy :) says

    My Mum used to do this when I was young, she would change pillows etc and her curtains…..makes a huge diff.

    Have a great week-end Beth….

    Kathy :)

  3. says

    Love the bright floral print! I used a silk placemat on my bedroom pillows. Didn’t even sew it on, just draped it over! No one ever knew:)

    ~ Emily N. from “too Blessed to Stress”

  4. Marie B. says

    Love this idea! Except instead of sewing all sides, I may Velcro one for quick change! Do you think it would work?!

    • says

      Oh wow! My husband has banend me from buying anymore pillows… I might have a slight hoarding problem. And he totally doesn’t get why he’s not allowed to bunch them up and lounge on them! Ha! But these are some great Spring finds. I might have to sneak a few in the house!

  5. Melanie S. says

    That’s my girl! I love your placemat pillows! They have inspired me. The trick is finding really cool napkins or placemats, I’ve found. Miss you!

  6. says

    Some of my very favorite pillows are some that I made years ago using beautiful linen napkins…I thought I came up with the napkin idea, but apparently great minds think alike! :-) I’ve also used some upcycled curtain fabric to make some pillows, some old burlap coffee sacks with nice, fluffy down inserts…you make make almost any type of textile into a pillow…love it!

    Blessings, Grace

  7. tammy stinedurf says

    i love the colorful rug in front of the white sofa where can i get it? the website you are listing isnt coming up. im in thr usa if that makes a difference

  8. says

    I am obsessed with throw pillows. I love mixing textures and patterns and colors. The problem is my sweet dog likes them, too. That means no pillows on the main floor, which could be amazing! Oh well. I just looked at Home Goods yesterday for the perfect pillows for my bed. I love your easy ideas. Now I just need to learn to use a sewing machine…

  9. says

    LOVED your illustration of how DIFFERENT a look you can get just by changing out the throw pillows. So going to take a few arm corner shots like this of my couch to finally figure out what style I like best.


  10. says

    Love the placemat idea! I will have to try that. Different size pillows look great on a bed, but my problem is knowing where to put them while sleeping. Where do you store them?

  11. says

    Oh Beth! Those pillows are fabulous! I just *adore* the colours you used…the perfect punch of fun to brighten the room. I have brown furniture too, so it’s so nice to see how others use pillows to brighten it up too! Have a lovely week and Happy Mother’s Day! Angie xo

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