Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Styling the Sofa, Sort of.

I had plans to style the sofa--but it seems I need more pillows--and that involves shopping. Since my retail options are few and far between (and pricey!), I thought I'd cheat and use the internet.

Styling the sofa is really all about combining pillows and throws--putting patterns, colours, and textures together. One of my favourite things to do! I was up until the wee hours last night looking at fabric and pillows and throws--and was right back at it first thing this morning--before my coffee, even!

I've learned a lot about mixing patterns over the years. Here's a great how-to article.

1. First, patterns are loosely categorized like so:



Loose, or open:

Tight, or closed:




or complex.

I have to say this is probably one of the most complex patterns I've ever come across.

There's also all sorts of textures to consider, too, from smooth indoor/outdoor canvas to soft faux fur. (Ok, so I know there's a thing called sequins--and people put them on pillows. But the number one need for a pillow? Nap-time. So, no sequins for me on a couch pillow! Ever.)

Controlling contrast--letting some things be the same and others different often set the mood and style of the whole room. For example:

The strict black and white palette is high contrast--but the lack of colour keeps things clean and pure.

Amber keeps the contrast here remarkably low. The pink keeps things from fogging over. Textures take pride of place.

Emily Henderson mixes both contrast and colour--but controls the pattern closely. Everything is a variation of a geometric pattern. It's crisp and clean and somewhat masculine.

2. Colours don't need to match--they just need to go together.

Each one of the above pillows goes with the one below--even though the colours may not be a "dead match." (Computer monitors vary in how they represent colors. An orange on my screen may read as a red on yours.)

This is a wonderful example:

Makes me think of sherbet and summer time. Nothing matches--but it all goes.

I wouldn't have thought to add that blue and gold pillow--but it makes the vignette.

3. I love the concept of the linking piece (or in some advanced cases--pieces). These pillows from West Elm illustrate the idea perfectly.

sources: 1/2/3

Not only do the supporting pillows echo the colours in the sparrow--but the patterns on his body as well.

So, what combinations did I come up with?
These would be for my sofa, in my living room.

This is where we left off.

Given I put up a faux brick wall in my dining room, I am trying to introduce a bit of coral or rusty orange into my living room to help the two rooms relate to one another.

My selections are all variations of the same combination: organic plus geometric plus a solid. In each, the organic pattern provides the link.

I envision the first pillow as a lumbar (like the faux fur zebra above) with two in each corner of the sofa--one in each of the supporting players.

Combo 1: (Waverly Lotus)
sources: 1/2/3

Throw: black and white or light blue. This is a high contrast look. For the more colourfully inclined, there's a violet lurking in those lotus pads.

Combo 2: (Tucuman Multi)
sources: 1/2/3

Lower contrast--but still, opposites at play. Throw: deep blue--but really anything from the lead fabric would work, even a rusty red.

Combo 3: Zen Garden
sources: 1/2/3

throw: love to find an orangey rust one for this combo. A caramel faux fur would be gorgeous. A silver fox faux throw would keep the grouping tight.

When I tried to deviate from this arrangement, I wasn't as successful:

sources: 1/2/3

One of these just doesn't belong. That first pattern (Iman Gem Market Embroidery Henna Fabric - $55.00/yard)  may just be too dense for the others.

Assuming the reds/rusts can all get along, this may be a better combination.

sources: 1/2/3

throw: a nice darkish grey faux fur for winter or light grey cotton for summer. Or, throw caution to the wind and go for the greeny gold.

You may have noticed a lack of throws. I found the on-line pickings a bit slim. Besides, it's definitely something I'd have to touch and feel.

Here is a masterful example of how the throw can be that lead piece. The orange pillow looked out of place to me--until I saw the throw!

Looking closer, the throw and the front lumbar pillow just might be co-stars in this production.

My favourite is Combo #2, I think--especially as we approach fall. But I think I can make Combo #3 work with what I have--all I need is the floral and I can let my zebra sub in for the snow leopard, and my navy velvet for that stunning pleated diamond pillow cover from West Elm.

What do you think?
Do you have a favourite?
Is there a formula for mixing patterns you like to stick to?

If you'd like to follow my assignments for Justina Blakeney's skillshare course, Style Your Space Like a Pro, you can catch up, like so:

Assignment 1: (Identifying) The Styling Principles Of Justina Blakeney
Assignment 2: Styling the Coffee Table

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