mixing + matching: the versatility of a throw pillow
striking the balance between curated + cozy
and how color + texture can instantly change the vibe
It's amazing to me how a simple thing like switching up your throw pillows can instantly change the vibe of your room.
That being said, I'm gonna go ahead and "blame" Melissa Coleman AKA The Fauxmartha a little bit for inspiring this particular post (side note: I'm so, so excited to read her new book Minimalist Kitchen when it comes out, I think her thoughts and feelings really resonate with us on a minimalist approach to cooking overall.) We were chatting over Instagram about where to find large throw pillows, and it reminded me that I've felt in a rut with some of ours lately. Her home is definitely "house goals" and the level of minimalism is aspirational, but in a very attainable way.
Speaking of minimalism... here's a list of things I know I'm good at in no particular order: self-deprecating humor, making GIFs, drinking one too many cups of coffee between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM. One of the things I don't think I'm very good at? Minimalism. It has been on my mind a lot since we moved in here and made real grown up decisions about what we liked and didn't like. What objects resonate and which ones don't. Our "style" so to speak, and which objects "spark joy", you get where I'm going. There's something about my choices overall that still feel far from minimalist, even though we're super particular about what's out and about in the house. I guess what it comes down to is as a unit, we don't have the strongest feelings on the topic the way some do. We had a noticeable shift after purchasing our home, it's when we became exceptionally more mindful about house related purchases, furnishings in particular of course. I am 100% against buying crap you don't need, and reducing overall consumption as much as you can. A good example in our household is Robert's hellbent attitude for us keeping food waste down, and I have to say we've improved immensely over the past couple of years.
Maybe I think I'm not a good minimalist because striking a balance between curated and cozy is my first priority, and often I feel like things tend to look too sparse if I take away too much, if there isn't enough color, or if there isn't enough texture. As a visual person, picture taker, member of the creative community, I 100% understand leaning towards white and sparse space that lacks color and "too much going on". But at the end of the day, I very much fawn over bright colors, interesting textures, and mixing vibes. I love taking a good risk when inspiration strikes.
There are certain details that I've been massively indecisive about in our living spaces, re: throw pillows, until now that is. I forgot just how much fun it is to mix and match, play up color and texture, and pair contrasting things together to see if they work.
Back when I was still trying to figure out what exactly my own "house goals" were, I bid on a couch during a silent furniture auction that I thought was grey from the photo and turned out to be Tiffany blue, (this couch here). I was mortified when Robert came to pick it up and I had to explain the photo was incorrect. He seemed to not care, and I tried really hard to hide how much I hated it.
Once it was setup in our apartment I actually panicked. I had spent money on a couch I hadn't seen in person, gotten it home and had no clue what to do with it. After some rearranging of other furniture, the addition of a couple of new throw pillows, and eventually, a gallery wall behind it, I fell in love with that couch. I realized that it was a happy accident, and it pushed me out of my neutral toned comfort zone. Ever since I had that Tim Gunn, make it work!, moment I've been a lot more relaxed about adding color, and mixing textures.
It's more fun to give it a try, because if something doesn't work, the world will not end, and it has a high chance of working beautifully in another room, but of course it's aaaalways a good idea to make sure things are returnable.
Which is how I got out of my throw pillow rut- a mix of room swapping with what we already had, and adding a few new colors and textures to round it out. We had some throw blankets and pillows that had made their way from the couch, to the velvet chair, to the window bench. I was completely sold on our furniture, just not all of the accents. My studio chez lounge is the perfect shape for such a tiny room, but felt overly masculine every time I tried to put different throws or pillows on it. Meanwhile in the living room, I kept thinking that the beloved "scotch chair", that velvety, super comfortable coffee colored guy you see pictured, was feeling disjointed from the couch. Well, I ended up striking inspiration gold at Home Goods and found a few throw pillows that immediately stood out, but also did not look like they went together whatsoever, that's the fun part!
When I got them home, realized that plopping a pink velvet pillow on the couch was going to help marry it to velvet chair, and suddenly that corner felt instantly feng shui. I opted to pair some dots and stripes in the studio, and it instantly made me smile. I want that room to remain neutral overall, and something as simple as adding a blue stripe and some very friendly looking dots just made it feel sunnier all around. For our other furniture, I rotated some existing pillows and throws from room to room, and by the end of it, everything just felt like a breath of fresh air.
Things I am gaga for mixing together lately? Velvet, faux fur, canvas/natural material, all of them can be interchanged and moved from room to room. It's a cost effective way to breathe some new life if a piece of furniture is feeling awkward, or a very inexpensive way to transition it into a new season. When I looked at our living room couch after I decided on which pillows worked best together, the aspirational minimalist in me thought- is three pillows too much, when one will do? I decided no, because I'm bad at minimalism, remember?