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Pillow Talk: Refresh Your Décor and Mood With a Soft Touch

Pillows from Elegant Strand’s Summer 2020 collection shows you can be bold, even with subtle and sophisticated natural hues.

Timeless furnishings—such as a sofa/loveseat combo or bedroom set—anchor a room just as a little black dress and impeccably tailored suit do in one’s wardrobe. In both cases, the essential pieces you’re investing in should last for years. On the other hand, as we all embrace and crave change, carefully selected accents and accessories ensure we can always keep our signature look fresh.

Changing up a blouse, shoes, jewelry or scarf assures that the dress or suit will look new again. The same should go for the rooms around your home, and here, you can think of throw pillow or cushion covers as the jewelry or scarf that will give your room a whole new flavor.

“If you’re fond of a bold hue like red or yellow, start with a few vibrant throw pillows on a sofa or chair,” suggests Elegant Strand owner Mark Lorberbaum (elegantstrand), who turns to designer Charlotte Dunagan, Interior Designer and founder of Dunagan Diverio Design Group, to put Elegant Strand’s chic pieces to good use.

Lightening the Mood: Elsie Homes’ Summer 2020 pillow collections by Lauren Meichtry feature cool and calming colors that are offset with lively patterns.

According to Dunagan and designer Lauren Meichtry (whose pillow designs are part of Elsie Homes’ collections), the look for Summer 2020 involves a balance of calming colors juxtaposing bold patterns. Her two latest collections reflect a curated mix of mellow hues, subtle texture combinations and classic patterns, which can bring a ray of sunshine into the house without being overpowering. Mixing and matching different sizes and shapes of decorative pillows are a fun and easy way to add layers and texture into your home without making major changes.

“Cushions often add the final layer, creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere,” continues Dunagan, whose six decorative pillow collections feature zippered removable covers and a feather down insert, and various sizes. “Pillows can so easily be changed up for a new look, whether seasonally or just to add some new colors and textures to a room. Always remember that decorating with throw pillows may seem like a small part of the design process, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Subtle Gems: For Summer 2020, Charlotte Dunagan for Elegant Strands demonstrates how different-sized pillows and one dramatic accent color can be soothing and refined at the same time. A lumbar pillow (on top of the display) provides a nice finish and extra comfort.

While the bedroom is a natural place to start when adding pillows, Meichtry recommends sticking with two or three pillow sizes. Larger pillows create the illusion of height, and should be placed toward the back of an arrangement with smaller pillows filling the look in. She likens a small lumbar pillow to the cherry on top of your “bed sundae.” In a family room or living room, she encourages people not to forget that sofas are made for sitting. Too many pillows can make those using the sofa feel uncomfortable. While we all have different design preferences, comfort is typically top-of-mind for many of us, so start with two to three in the corners and go from there,” says Meichtry, who recently launched a new collection full of light and bright patterns highlighting earthy and natural elements, and luxurious texture for the summer. Her upcoming fall collection, meanwhile, will feature two wool pillows inspired by nomadic Mongolian cultures. Wool is blessed at every stage from steering to felting.

Regarding the new collection, she notes, “We love incorporating textiles with a rich history.”

Charlotte Dunagan and Lauren Meichtry offer the following tips on how to pick out the right the “soft wares” that will make your summertime living surroundings pop.

  1. Room for Improvement: The shape and size of the decorative pillows you choose may depend on the depth of the furniture piece and of course the style even more so than the room’s size. Larger, deeper furnishings can easily feature decorative pillows as opposed to narrow furnishings. However, if you add too many pillows, it becomes hard to manage. Dunagan advises three or four pillows maximum for a bedroom. While a family room can have additional pillows for comfort and relaxing, a minimal number of pillows works better for a living room. Meichtry observes that anything overcrowded with pillows will take away from the comfort and detract from the functionality that your home should have.”
  2. Colors and patterns imbue strength and personality as well as seasonality to your space: The best canvas on which to build a mosaic of pillows are furnishings or backdrops with neutral color palettes. From there, you can select your pillows or pillow covers to further define a room’s look based on the season’s palates or global cultures that truly speak to you. During the summer, Dunagan likes to add pops of color, patterns and textures to spice up a room design and to add layers with cushion covers made with lighter fabrics like linen or cotton. Meichtry is inspired by printmaking and weaving techniques from different cultures from around the world.
  3. Simply Stated: The “simpler is better” rule applies here. Dunagan and Meichtry point out that the most common mistakes people make in working with pillows are using the wrong sizes and or having too many pillows. Mixing patterns can be difficult for nonprofessionals, and too bold a pattern can be unsophisticated. The marriage of too many color palettes can compromise the look of your more luxurious furnishings, according to Dunagan while Meichtry points out that too many pillows on a sofa or bed means less space to relax and enjoy one’s surroundings.
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