Tag Archives | pillows

Spring Living Room Tour and a Paradox

I realize that I’m a decorator/stylist blogging here, and I haven’t shown you pictures of my house lately.  The thing is, it doesn’t change that often.  Maybe this is kind of a paradox in the decor blog world, but truthfully, I have some minimist tendencies and once I get a room “right” for me, I like to leave it alone.Spring Living Room_2

If you know me in real life and you’ve seen any of my closets or my garage you’re laughing at the thought of me being a minimalist, aren’t you?

But, I don’t really shop much for my home.  I mean, I did when I was first decorating each room.  But now, I like to use what I have and I don’t like bringing in anything that isn’t going to add a lot of purpose.

After coming out of a little season of some major discontent, I pulled open the shades a little higher, fluffed the pillows a little more, and started seeing things (literally and figuratively) in a whole new light.  Fluffing smushed couch cushions, bringing in some fresh greenery, and clearing out clutter can really make a world of difference in how I feel about my home.

Spring Living Room_5

I have a small assortment of pillows and covers that I change out somewhat seasonally, but really its more just about what sort of colors are “speaking” to me at the moment.  Right now, I’ve been wanting subtle neutrals, not a lot of brightness.

I changed out the coffee table books and added in a small succulent that was a gift from a sweet friend.  I’ve had it for a few months and have not killed it, so I’m calling that a success!

Spring Living Room_4

The top two little books on the coffee table are ChatBooks made from getaways Paul and I took together- one in New York City, the other in San Francisco.  I used to keep them on the shelf, but they’re so pretty and I love having them down where we can look through them now.

Spring Living Room_3

I’m still really enjoying the ottoman and side table here for early morning moments of quiet.  Of course, we use it all throughout the day, but it is totally my happy spot.

I haven’t changed or rearranged the bookshelves one bit with the exception of adding or changing out books as they are read or loaned.  These shelves are as functional as they are decorative for us and I love the practicality of them.

Spring Living Room

New around here? Check out my shelf styling tips here.

If I’m being truthful with you here, what I’ve really been wanting is a new couch.  It just isn’t in the budget right now though so instead of buying a bunch of smaller and less expensive things to fill that void, I’m making peace with waiting.  I’m working to get the “bones” of my house right and I don’t want to fill it up with things I don’t need.

Less really can be more.

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A Few More Words on Pattern Mixing & Pillows

Last week I talked about the concepts behind pattern mixing and walked through a kind of formula for selecting fabrics or pillows.  While that formula is what would be considered the “ideal,” I realized after posting it that I have personally never purchased pillows or selected fabrics in that way.  It would require starting from scratch and creating a whole new color scheme all at one time.  I love the idea of it and have done that with my kids’ nurseries and bedrooms as well as for clients, but never with my own living room.  I’m always working with what I already have; adding to or changing my collection.

And truly, isn’t that how life is?  Your home is meant to be a collection of things over time.  Most people don’t decorate rooms all at once and then say “its finished!”  Things change with seasons of life, changes in taste.  As you change, grow, mature, so does your home.

So what do you do if you already have pillows that feel matchy-matchy but you’re not wanting to start completely from scratch?  Here are a few tips on how to add to your collection but still work with what you’ve got.

Find a colorful fabric/pillow that has your colors plus a few more.Living Room // The House of Figs

In my house its the big Turkish Kilim pillow I bought on etsy.  It has the black, gray, and mustard colors from some of the other pillows, but also added in a lot of other color- blue, purple, red, pink, etc.

Search “Turkish Pillow” on etsy for a whole range of similar looks.  You could also find a great colorful floral or geometric.  Just make sure the background isn’t white and it has lots of color.

Add in large pillows in a solid color that contrast with or brighten up your couch.

I love a velvety or linen texture- something that will be different than the fabric of your sofa.  My white ones are linen from Pottery Barn that I bought eleven years ago.  Yes, eleven.  The gray solid ones are from HomeGoods.

Add in a textural or “wild card” pillow.

In my house, its always been this pillow from Ikea- the Lappljung Ruta.  I’m in love with the black and white goodness of it and it has this nubby texture that is just amazing.

Ikea Black & WhiteI recently bought this one from Ikea and love the color and texture as well.Ikea Isunda Pillow

A few more tips on pillows:

  • Toss or recover the pillows that come with the couch (couch manufacturers are usually not designers)
  • If a pattern is really bold, I like to think of it as “one of a kind” and only use one pillow in the room that has it.  More than that can feel overly matchy.
  • Remember to consider the background, scale, and type of patterns like I mentioned in my last post.  Go for contrast!
  • Feather filled pillows keep their shape over time much more than poly filled.  They can be smushed and refluffed a million times.

Pattern Mixing Pillows

That’s it for now… I’ll be back soon!



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Decorating UNschool: Pattern Mixing

We’ve talked about lighting and we’ve talked about rugs.  Today its all about pattern mixing, which for me in my own home, and very often for my clients, means pillows, curtains, or bedding.  Since I tend to campout in neutral land and I like for my large expensive purchases to be able to stand the test of time (and my ever changing taste) I generally go for solid pieces of furniture and curtains (we’ll get to those in another post). But when it comes to mixing and matching patterns, pillows are where its at for me.

Pattern Mixing Pillows

I used to feel so daunted by pattern mixing.  I loved examining the work of designers and seeing a room that felt so put together, yet in an effortless way that wasn’t overly “designed” or matching.  I just couldn’t quite grasp how they did it.

Pattern mixing House Beautiful

source– House Beautiful

Pattern Mixing Holly Mathis

source- Holly Mathis

At some point in my “research” and blog hunting, I took a brief online course all about creating a color scheme and pattern mixing.  It was like it finally all made sense.  I’m still no expert and definitely have a lot to learn of course (that’s why this is UNschool), but it was really very simple once someone explained it to me and I started playing around with patterns in my own home.  And by the way, I still love to examine the work of my favorite designers, looking at each element and determining what is it that makes the room so great.  That’s my design school.

Pattern Mixing House of Jade

source – House of Jade

Pattern Mixing - Milk and Honey Home

source – Milk and Honey Home

So, here is my version of basic pattern mixing:

Its best to start with your busiest pattern, your pattern with the most color.  Find something you love that contains all the colors you want in the room, and maybe even a few extra.  If you are color-phobic like me, I have found that a good rule of thumb is for at least one pattern to have 4-5 colors and no less.  This is so you don’t end up matchy-matchy.  Remember the goal here is to not have everything match.  We’re not necessarily picking out colors that you must adhere to.  Just finding your inspiration.

Pattern Mixing- Spring Fabric

Because I’m longing for spring and Valentine’s day is around the corner, we’ll start with this beautiful floral that has some pink and purple in it.

Next, add in a more simple or subtle pattern to contrast.  In order to do this, you must consider the scale of each pattern.  If you have a very large scale pattern, add in medium and small scale patterns.

Similarly, consider the type of pattern.  All geometric patterns is overkill.  Try a floral mixed in.  Or a stripe mixed with an ikat. Too many patterns of the same scale and/or type will look busy.

Something else to consider is the background color of the patterns.  I love a nice crisp white, but if every pattern is on white, they will start to blend together.  Its good to have some creamier colors in the backgrounds for contrast and yes, you can definitely mix white with ivory.

Pattern Mixing - large and small scales

I’ve added in two more patterns with my floral. I’ve pulled the tones from the original pattern but the scales and types are much different. The gray buffalo check, while it is still a large scale pattern, has very subtle colors. The polka dot is a small scale pattern and its dark background gives a nice contrast with the other two.

Its always nice to have a solid with some texture to balance it all out.  I like to do this with a velvet or linen pillow to contrast with the sofa fabric.  Do you feel like your sofa is too dark?  I always encourage my clients to add in some oversized white or ivory solid pillows.  This helps to lighten everything up.

Pattern Mixing adding in solids

So let’s pretend like these are pillows on a dark gray couch. I’ve now added in some washed white linen pillows. They add in some lightness and texture to the mix.

Now, we could definitely leave it as is, but for a little more dimension and color, I’ve added in one more pillow- the wild card.  Its just for some extra texture or contrast.  For this example,  I pulled from the pinks in our original pattern, but the scale and background of the florals are different.

Pattern Mixing with The House of Figs

These concepts don’t just apply to pillows.  Its the same when considering patterns on rugs, curtains, bedding, even furniture pieces for the brave among you.   Remember to consider scale, type of pattern, the background color of the pattern, and always add in solid colors and textures when its feeling busy.  Don’t go for matchy-matchy, go for compliment and contrast.

So that’s it for today- class is dismissed!



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Transitioning to Fall with Pillows

Around here, its too early for fall. Even though school has started, we are still hitting high 90s every day with lots of humidity and there’s no end in sight.  But its taken me years to admit that.  When I was in elementary school, I lived in Pennsylvania, then Tennessee, then Germany (army brat, here).  So school starting meant leaves changing colors, buying new clothes like jeans and sweaters, and an actual crispness to the air.  Something like the cover of a Bernstein Bears Book and a bouquet of sharpened pencils.  Anyone know what I’m talking about?  But when I married a Houston boy and we made our home in this area, it took me a while and a lot of convincing from him that it is just not the case here. I’ve finally come to realize that no matter how early I want it to feel like its fall, it just ain’t happening until at least October, sometimes November.  I’ve finally come to terms with it.

So I don’t pull out any pumpkins or leaves, I don’t change out any wreaths yet.  But this year I made some simple changes to the pillows on my couch that made a small enough difference to satisfy my yearning for fall.

Fall Pillows // The House of Figs

No more bright colors, a little more black and white, and that golden yellow added in.  This to me is a subtle way of introducing fall without screaming fall.

How adorable is that new number 5 pillow?  That’s the only new one here, the rest I already had.  Kendra over at So Vintage Chic made it for me and is offering my readers a 20% discount for one week only with the code HOUSEOFFIGS.  How sweet is that?? She’s got some beautiful ones and I love the black and white look- so great for any season.  Graphic neutrals are my MOST favorite look.

Fall Pillows // The House of Figs

I tried it out across the room, too. Love it with my Ikea blanket!  Even if its not cold outside, I’ll snuggle up with a blanket, pillow, and a cup of coffee any time of year!

Fall Pillows // The House of Figs

Kendra’s got some beautiful and fun pillows in her shop and she’s got more than pillows, too!  T shirts, tea towels, and she’ll even do personalized and custom items and baby gifts.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

Swiss Cross Pillow Ampersand Pillow Anchor Pillow Hello Pillow

And how about these adorable superhero pillows?  A great way to give your kid a pillow he or she loves and one that you might like too. 😉

Superhero Pillows

Fall Pillows // The House of Figs

One more thing- I know I’ve shared this but I’m working on a video for my subscribers and I’m planning to release it very soon!!!  So excited.  If you’re not a subscriber, click here to sign up so you won’t miss out!  Don’t worry, I will never ever send you spam.  You’ll just be the first to know about blog posts and you’ll also get occasional exclusive material, like fun videos!

Thanks so much for reading!  Hope you find a pillow or something from Kendra that you love!



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