You’ve probably noticed. Pillows don’t match anymore. They don’t match each other, and they don’t match the furniture they grace. This opens up so much opportunity for expression and creativity through color, texture, prints, and/or pattern. It’s freeing because there are no rules about what has to go with what.

these are my current mismatched pillows

Yet, a complete lack of rules is complicated. I spent 3 HOURS trying to pick out these three fabrics. Now that I look at the picture, that seems ridiculous. So I feel the need to explain. I’m indecisive. I was in a legit fabric store, so things weren’t cheap. I ruled out a lot of choices based on price. But most confusing is that there are so many different ways to do this look. It’s hard to know where to start! I need to crack the code of beautifully mismatched pillows.

First up is variations on neutrals with texture. The look is calming and sophisticated. This is like Intro to Mismatched Pillows, and I could probably select these 4 fabrics in less than 3 hours. Beautiful. But I crave more color than this, so what’s next?

Next up is Mismatched Pillows 101, where the pillows are all the same size. This grounds the look with one element of uniformity. The pillows on the Union Jack couch are all different, but not too wild because, well, the couch sorta is.

Here’s another look with same-sized pillows. The solid pink couch is the perfect backdrop for a fun mix of colors and prints. Ignore the blue pillow for a sec and say there are three prints here, a small single color graphic (the dots), a large single color graphic (chevron), and a medium floral. All three prints have a white background. The single blue floral pillow is like the punch line of the joke, and I love that it’s not in the center. A second floral works because it’s a larger print, a different color background, and repeats the pink color of the couch.

Swoon. Now we’re moving into Mismatched Pillows 201. The pillows are not the same size or color family. Yikes, can we still crack the code? Totally! A bold navy and white stripe, a solid, and a multi-color print that includes both pink and blue. The navy and white is repeated on the small pillow in a different print. This is an amazing space with thoughtful attention to detail. There’s a lot of white in this space allowing these colors to pop.

Still in level 201, but the thoughts from the last picture apply here, too. Seven of the pillows are either solid or some version of black/white. The other two print pillows are random and different, but both include yellow. I love that this is a yellow and blue palette without a single fabric that has both yellow and blue in it. I thought you needed one pillow that pulls all of the colors together. But you don’t. How freeing!

Now we’ve moved into Advanced Mismatched Pillows. Like Master’s level. Different colors, different sizes, lots of different prints. I think it works because all of the fabrics are bright and colorful, different, even whimsical. Then most everything else is white – walls, couch (daybed?), flooring, tables, and even accessories. Also, most of the pillows repeat a color from the painting. Smart. I’d like to throw in one more photo just to prove that not everything is your house has to be white to have fun with mismatched pillows.

This space features a lot of natural materials – leather and wood, and the pillows echo the colors-you-find- in-nature theme.

Final Thoughts

There may not be rules for this look, but I’ve picked up some ideas to give me confidence as I grow my own pillow collection. I hope this helps you, too.