How to Layer Decorative Pillows on a Sectional Sofa

Sectional sofas can sometimes be tricky to style. Based on our experience though, we've found that in most cases, three layers of pillows usually works really well. 

Below is a look at a sectional that we recently helped transform and our tips to help you choose the best options for your own sofa. 

LAYER 1

Start with a first layer of one pillow on each corner.

Fabric: Choose either a solid or a small scale print. For this sofa we went with the Les Touches Orange.

Size: Measure (or find out from the manufacturer) the seating height of your sofa and add 3 to 5 inches to that to get your optimal pillow size*. The seating height of this particular sofa is 16 inches, so the optimal pillow size is 19x19 to 21x21. We opted for the larger 21x21 size for a more luxurious look. 

*Exception: if your sofa has a high back, don't go larger than 24x24.

How to Layer Decorative Pillows on a Sectional Sofa | Layer 1

LAYER 2

For the next layer, add another pillow on each corner.

Fabric: Choose a medium or large scale pattern. For this sofa we went with the two variations of the Hot House Spark - the one with the blue flower for the left and right corners of the sofa and the one with the orange flower for the middle corner. 

Size: Go for pillows that are 1 to 3 inches smaller than the pillows in Layer 1. Here we went with 20x20 pillows (1 inch smaller). 

How to Layer Decorative Pillows on a Sectional Sofa | The 2nd Layer

LAYER 3

To finish it off, add a lumbar on the longest side of the sectional. If both sides are a similar length, place it in the middle corner. 

Fabric: Choose a fabric that pulls out one of the colors in the other pillows and/or coordinates with other accessories in the room. Here we went with the Peacock Velvet, which pulls out some of the blue in the Hot House Spark and also coordinates with a lamp in a nearby side table. 

Size: Opt for a pillow that's 10 to 14 inches tall and a similar width as the other pillows. We went with size 11x19

How to Layer Decorative Pillows on a Sectional Sofa | The 3rd Layer

That's it!

I hope you found this helpful. If you'd like styling and sizing recommendations for your specific sofa, we encourage you to sign up for a Mini Design Consult. You can learn more about that here.

arianna belle designer pillow combination on sectional sofa - Peacock Velvet,  Hot House Spark, Les Touches Orange | Home of Natalie Steen

FEATURED PILLOWS

  

 

Mini Design Consults - Get Pillow Recommendations for Your Specific Sofa - Learn More at ariannabelle.com | Sofa with Decorative Pillows

 

Photos courtesy of Natalie Steen

5 Tips to Keep Peonies Fresh

How to Keep Cut Peony Flowers Fresh Longer | Arianna Belle Blog 

Are peonies your favorite flower? 🙋🏻‍♀️ Mine too.

With their season being so short, below are 5 quick tips to enjoy every last peony bunch as long as possible.

interior design by Jennifer Wagner Schmidt | designer pillows from Arianna Belle | Leopard Linen and Blush Pink Velvet
interior design by Jennifer Wagner Schmidt | pillows shown: Leopard Linen and Blush Velvet with Light Gold Piping

1. Buy them as closed buds  - At the market, choose the ones that are as closed as possible.  It's tempting to get the pretty ones that have already fully bloomed, but those will only last a few days in your home, and they're more likely to get damaged during transit - petals falling off, etc. Buying them as buds requires a bit of patience, however it usually doesn't take long for them to open up. If you want to help them along once they're safe in your home, you can put them in warm water or a warm location. 

Gal Meets Glam bedroom with Confetti Cream pillows with Rose French Piping from Arianna Belle
home of Julia Engel | pillow shown: Confetti Cream with French Rose Piping

 

2. Before placing into a vase, make sure to remove any leaves from the lower part of the stems so that they're not submerged in the water. This prevents them from rotting. 

    Leopard Velvet pillow from Arianna Belle | home of Brighton Keller | pink peonies
    home of Brighton Keller | pillow shown: Leopard Velvet

     

    3. Keep them away from direct sunlight - I learned this the hard way. I made the mistake of leaving an arrangement right next to a window that received a lot of direct sun, and came back to find out they had drastically lost their color and some petals had started falling off. 

    living room with grey sofa and blue tufted ottoman | pillows from Arianna Belle | interior design by Alex Kaehler

    interior design by Alex Kaehler | pillows shown (left to right): Channels Ebony & Ivory, Teal Velvet, Les Touches Aqua

      4. Store them in the fridge at night -  If you have the space, put them in your fridge. Doing so will prolong their life. 

       bright white living room designed by Stephanie Jean | home of Monika Hibbs | floral pillow from Arianna Belle

      home of Monika Hibbs | interior design by Stephanie Jean | pillow shown: Pyne Hollyhock Charcoal

        5. Trim the stems and replace the water every day or every other day - Cut the stems at a diagonal for maximum water absorption. Use cold water or drop an ice cube or two into the vase.

        Hope you found this helpful! For more decorating tips, click here

         
        Shop the pillows shown in this post: 
          
         
        by Arianna Vargas

        Streamline Your Bed with this Decorating Trick

        If you're craving simplicity, you're going to love this decorating trick... 

        home of Ashley Robertson| interior design by Urbanology Designs | photography by Mary Hafner

        Instead of doing several smaller decorative pillows on your bed, opt for an extra long one. It's simple, yet highly impactful.

        For king beds we recommend size 14x48.

        For full and queen size beds we recommend size 14x30 to 14x36.

         

        Click here to view all the pillows we can custom make in those sizes. 

        EXTRA LONG PILLOWS

        for an effortlessly stylish bed 
             

        VIEW ALL PILLOWS AVAILABLE IN LONG SIZES >>     

        by Arianna Vargas

        Using an Anchor Fabric as a Design Springboard

        In her recently released book, Dream Design Live, award-winning interior decorator Paloma Contreras gives us an insight into her design process. 

        black and white chic living room with animal print pillows by Paloma Contreras

        She reveals that when working on a new project, early on, she'll select an anchor fabric to be the impetus for the overall vision of the room.

        textile scheme paloma

        The anchor fabric is typically a fabric that she is very inspired by and whose colors and pattern serve as a springboard for subsequently selecting complementary fabrics, trims, rugs, window treatments, and other pieces.

        living room with Bukhara Ikat Fuchsia pink pillows | interior design by Paloma Contreras


        Since she typically uses solid fabrics on larger pieces of furniture, the anchor fabric is usually reserved for smaller pieces such as pillows.  Small doses of a fabulous fabric goes a long way towards adding personality and making a statement in the room.

        blue sofas with designer pillows


        We were so honored that Paloma chose to feature our pillows in her book (pg 77!) and list us in the recommended Resources section. 
        Below are her picks for which of our pillows she'd use as anchors and which other pillows she'd combine them with:

        Pillow Combinations That Start With an Anchor Fabric

        designer pillow chic combinations - how to mix and match
        Row 2 - Modern TraditionalHummingbirds CreamOlive Green VelvetBetwixt Grass


        SHOP ALL OF PALOMA'S PICKS >>

         

        For more on Paloma's design process, inspiration and tips, be sure to pick up her book!

        Pillow Inserts 101

        The right insert or filler is essential to a great looking decorative pillow.  In short, we recommend feather down inserts that are 2" larger than the cover and have a ratio of 90% feathers and 10% down. Read on to learn more.

        What size insert should I get for my pillow cover?

        • We generally recommend using inserts that are 2" larger all around than your finished pillow size.  For example if you have an 18x18 pillow cover, you'll want to use a 20x20 insert. This will ensure that your pillow looks plump and luxurious. If the insert is too small, the pillow cover will look saggy. The exceptions to this rule:
          • pillows smaller than 18x18 and most lumbars- these work best with inserts that are 1" larger (instead of 2" larger)
          • extra large pillows (24x24 and larger)- these will also work well with inserts that are 3" larger than the cover
          • extra dense inserts - this is rare - they're usually not dense enough, however sometimes small rectangular inserts (such as 10x18) are full enough to use with covers of the same size (for example a 10x18 insert for a 10x18 cover)
          • see our Insert Size Guide for size specific recommendations

        What fill type should I get?

        We recommend going with feather down inserts. Feathers provide firmness, weight, body and support, while down provides softness and comfort.

        What feather/down ratio should I choose?

        A higher percentage of down tends to be considered more luxurious, however depending on the use of the pillow, you'll want to be careful not to go too high on the down percentage as it will make it too soft and unsupportive. The ideal ratio for decorative pillows is 10%-25% down and 90%-75% feathers - not too firm and not too soft.

        Below is a summary of the pros and cons of the various ratios: 

        • 95% feather / 5% down (95/5)
          • lowest priced feather down blend option
          • firm density
          • due to the small percentage of down, some people may find it to be too stiff
          • due to the majority of the fill being feathers, can sometimes be too prickly since the quills are more likely to poke out
          • good if the pillow is just for looks and/or you like firm pillows
        • 90% feather / 10% down (90/10)
          • an ideal feather down ratio for decorative throw pillows
          • not too soft and not too firm - provides support and flexibility
          • softer and more luxurious than 95/5 inserts due to higher down percentage
          • firmer than 75/25 inserts
        • 75% feather / 25% down (75/25) or 80% feather / 20% down (80/20)
          • another ideal ratio for decorative throw pillows
          • softer than the 90/10 pillows and usually higher priced due to higher percentage of down
        • 50% feather / 50% down (50/50)
          • soft-density and lightweight
          • comfortable, however doesn't provide as much support as inserts with a higher percentage of feathers
          • if used for decorative pillows, will require constant fluffing to keep it from looking flat
          • better suited for pillows that are used for sleeping

          What kind of insert should I get if I want to "karate chop" my pillows?

          • Feather down pillow fillers will hold a chop. 

          Why are some inserts pricier than others?

          • The majority of inserts you'll see available for sale are 95% feather and 5% down and these will be lower priced because the cost of feathers is lower than the cost of down.  As the percentage of down increases, so will the price of the insert.  
          • Other things that affect price include where the insert is made, where the feather/down is sourced from, and how full the insert is. 

          What if I'm allergic to down or feathers?

          • If allergies are a concern, good quality alternative down inserts that mimic the softness of down are the next best thing. 

          Watch video below for a quick tutorial on how to easily get your insert into your pillow cover

          Pillow cover shown in video is our Leopard Velvet  

          by Arianna Vargas

          How to Mix and Match Pillows

          How do you create a pillow combination that works? Below is a simple and easy-to-remember formula we like to use to effortlessly mix and match pillows plus some examples of it in action. Make it even easier by starting with a multi-color pillow to guide your color palette

          How to Mix and Match Pillows - Decorating Guide

          by Arianna Vargas

          How to Easily Jump-Start Your Room's Color Palette

          When designing a room, one of my favorite ways to easily decide on a color scheme is to start out with a multi-color pillow that I love.  I look for ones that preferably have 5 or more colors, although those with as few as 3 colors can work also.

          Once I decide on that one pillow, I look closely to identify all the colors within the fabric. Then I start looking for other pieces (throws, lamps, art, books, trays, decorative boxes, rugs, furniture, etc) that have those same colors.

          Doing this makes it so much simpler to sort through all the options and easily decide what will and won't work. Of course, it doesn't have to be an exact color match and you can bring in as many neutral pieces as you'd like, but by using the pillow palette as an overall guide, you'll ensure you are creating a cohesive look.  

          You can also do this with a piece of art or a rug, however what I love about pillows is that they're small enough to take along with you when you go out shopping for other pieces (tip: remove the insert and take only the cover).

          Below is a visual example of how a pillow, in this case the Sinhala Linen Jewel, can be used as a starting point for a room's palette:
          How to Jump Start Your Room Color Palette with a Multi-Color Pillow

          Interior design by Shay Geyer of IBB Design

          Product sources: pillow - Arianna Belle Sinhala Linen Jewel, rug - Nourison, sofa - Article Sven in Grass Green, art- Wendover Art, fabric on wall- Genesis Shay Blue by Shay Geyer

          To recap:

          (1) find a multi-color pillow you love
          (2) identify all the colors within the pillow to establish a color palette
          (3) stick to that color palette when sourcing other pieces for the room

          Once you bring everything together, you'll have a beautiful cohesive look! 

          Here are other multi-color pillows you can use to kick-start the color palette of your next decorating project (click right arrow to view more)
          
          

           

          by Arianna Vargas

          Budget Friendly Source for French Bistro Chairs

          If you've followed me for some time, you may know about my obsession with French bistro chairs (just the other day instagrammed this photo).  I always seem to be drawn to spaces incorporating this type of chair.

          Santa Barbara bakery with french bistro chairs taken by @arianna_belle

          photo posted on my Instagram of a cute bakery in Santa Barbara 

          French bistro chairs tend to be expensive and hard to find (they're often sold just to those in the restaurant industry) so I was delighted to discover a budget-friendly source...Overstock! I don't have any space in my current home for these, but when we get a larger place - perhaps with a breakfast nook or nice outdoor area, I'll be getting some for sure.  A little round-up below:budget friendly source for french bistro chairs

           

          1salcha grey & white chair, 2hooper blue & white chair, 3barrow off-white chair,

          4'paris' black and white bar chair, 5paris chair, 6salcha red & white chair

          .

          photo credit: cococozy

          .

          You might also like: the white and blue kitchen with french bistro stools in this post, and the breakfast nook in this post

           

          by Arianna Vargas