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How to Decorate with Pillows: The 6-1 Rule

Updated on May 1, 2015
janikon profile image

I'm a thirty-something writer who lives in downtown Toronto. I've been an online writer for over seven years, focusing on health trends.


So, you've bought a couch or invited friends over for a pillow fight or just broke-up with your whoring boyfriend and need something to punch repeatedly, obviously it's time for some pillows. Like many things in this world there are some rules one should adhere to before turning your living room into a harem. Yes, there is such a thing as having too many pillows.

No one should be spending more than thirty seconds moving pillows off the couch before they sit down. In no way should the couch, bed or window seat begin rejecting pillows while you're out of the apartment or house, instead you come home to three suicidal shams lying by your potted ficus.

Are you a pillow hoarder? I know. The first step is admitting you have a problem followed by stepping away from the Pier 1 pillow wall and heading to the nearest IKEA outlet for a throw to accessorize your living room with. What is even worse than being a pillow hoarder yourself is knowing a pillow hoarder and having no control to stop them from hurting their interior aspirations - my own sister is a former p-hoarder but has reformed her ways and now lives firmly by the 6-1 rule when decorating with pillows.

building your life around the 6-1 rule

So, remember when I mentioned there being a rule to decorating with pillows? Well, my decorating friend, read no farther if you feel you cannot adhere to something as rigid - and as amazing - as the 6-1 rule. The rule basically states you should never have more than six pillows to one piece of furniture, ie six large pillows on your bed or six small pillows on a chesterfield. If you feel six pillows is too many for any piece of furniture than a good rule of thumb is buying the same amount of pillows as you have backer divisions in your couch.

The most important thing to remember when buying pillows is to keep in mind the space you're accessorizing. You would never buy large overstated pillows, great for relaxing into while watching a great movie, for a formal sitting area nor would you buy small uncomfortable tassled pillows for your patio. You really should not be buying uncomfortable pillows at all but in the rare case you feel it necessary, they should always be decorative pieces on antique furniture you are not allowed to actually sit on.

The 6-1 rule can help to moderate your design plan and curb the tendency to overly accessorizing, but it can be used most effectively in the bedroom (it helps eliminate the everest of pillows some people assume looks chic on their beds).


what kind of pillows?

Nowadays there are pillow designs for everyone and now can be matched to any space or personality. Whether you want the space to be formal or whimsical, there is a pillow for you. I was skimming some design magazines the other day while waiting for a friend and it seems the new thing - when you are decorating a children's room - is to use pillows shaped after their favourite cartoon character, ie Dora the Explorer, Diego or Spongebob Squarepants - to name a few.

These pillows are a great way of incorporating a specific theme in the room but also can also be played with during playtime; the pillows are soft enough to assuage the fear of children hurting themselves and, if anything, could break any toddlers fall if they are particularly clutzy.

Not only can pillows grow and change with the theme or the subtle personality changes over the years but they often can be reused in many different spaces. When my mother redesigned the family rec-room she took the pillows from that space and used them on the porch furniture, most pillows these days come with a durable fabric to withstand the test of time.

There are a lot of things you can do with pillows, unfortunately I need you to stay away from beaded pillows unless you are using them on seats not used for sitting. If you know anyone like me then it would be a disservice to your design plan to employ beadwork in your spaces, I have a tendency to pick at things like this and suddenly it's a beaded waterfall. This picking issue is not only a problem for people like me but also terrible for designers with pets and small children.

So, my friend, when designing with pillows, please remember the 6-1 rule and multipurpose durable fabric, have fun.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. Now I know the 6-1 rule.

    • janikon profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      @simonesmith thanks! tell anyone who will listen - tell that person standing next to the water cooler or the one lounging in the break room; pillow hoarders the lot of them! very right you are too, ratio rules are pretty fantastic and help in every facet of being

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa! I love this rule! Ratio rules rock. Like the half plus seven rule. I'm going to tell my pillow-happy buddies about this!

      Love your writing style, too. Keep it up!!

    • janikon profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      @sallyTX it's okay, not hopeless - just in love with pillows. If you believe they are vital than who am I to say they aren't, but keep tabs on pillow happiness; if they begin jumping ship then it may be time to cut back.

    • SallyTX profile image

      Sally Branche 

      8 years ago from Only In Texas!

      Great pictures! I have 7 pillows on my bed and each and every one of them is vital! I guess I am hopeless! Voted up and awesome! ;D

    • janikon profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      thanks @applecsmith i love his designs as well (will one day be able to afford him, as well) // thanks @prektjr.dc i completely agree, pillows can add a bit of whimsy to any room and i LOVE those pillows - i'm currently on a hunt to find them.

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 

      8 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      What a good hub! Lots of information and some awesome pictures! I love the Ctrl, Alt, Dlt pillows! Pillows can add a bit of whimsy to a room! thanks! voted up, useful and awesome!

    • applecsmith profile image

      Carrie Smith 

      8 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I love any kind of pillows, and this is a great post. I especially like the Jonathan Adler picture.

      Thanks for sharing - voted up and interesting.


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