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Lessons Learned from Throw Pillows

I have acquired my “collection” of throw pillows over a number of years and they fall into two categories…those that have both sentimental and decorative value, and those that I love mainly for their decorative value.  In a 2015 blog article, I confessed that throw pillows are one of my favorite things.  They still are.

They come in many sizes from very small to very large, and in my opinion, are the most versatile decorating accessory!  Throw pillows (sometimes called accent pillows) are most often used to accessorize beds, chairs, benches, and sofas …sometimes even floors.  The choices for covers are too numerous to list, but include fabric, faux fur, (even real fur), leather, and the list goes on!


In addition to being one of my favorite things, I have sentimental attachments to quite a few of my decorative pillows.  Ironically, my smallest pillow is also my “largest pillow” in terms of sentimentality.  It measures about 7” by 10” and is made from a hand-stitched quilt top intended for my mother’s doll bed when she was a child.  She used silky “almost square” pieces of fabric to create her work of folk art.  I recognize one of the fabric squares as a scrap from one of her mother’s dresses.  (It’s the striped one in the far right corner).


A pillow known as the fox pillow holds second place for “the most sentimental pillow”.   It is an oblong needlepoint pillow with an image of a red fox.  It now rests on a brown leather sofa and is layered against a square needlepoint red leopard-print pillow with dense “blonde” fringe.  The fox pillow earned its sentimentality standing by being our beloved gone-but-never-forgotten Wire Fox Terrier’s favorite pillow to sleep against.


Before moving away from sentimental attachments to pillows, allow me to share the story of “The Chateau” pillow.  Earlier in my floral career, I worked in positions that required travel and sometimes extended stays.  When I returned from one extended stay, I came home to not only a husband who was glad to see me, but also a beautiful tapestry pillow picturing a French chateau.  He knew from stories of my earlier visits to France before I met him, that a chateau pillow would be a wonderful “welcome home” gift!  He was right!

jack-pillow_1 jack-pillow_2


Taking a few steps away from the decorative and sentimental category are the “Jack” pillows. “Jack” was my husband’s beautiful Orange Belton English Setter.  You may have seen the large “Jack” pillow before, but there’s another smaller “Jack” pillow that sits on an antique child-size chair.  The little chair is my handy footrest when watching TV and “Jack” loves being right at my feet.


In my husband’s office (which has lots of reds and blues) you will see a blue leopard print pillow and a small white pillow with a picture of a Hula dancer.  Soon after he had returned from a job assignment in Honolulu, we were looking around in a Pottery Barn when of all things, a Hula dancer pillow jumped off the shelf and said “buy me”.  Imagine that!


It’s starting to seem like I have more pillows that are in the decorative and sentimental category.  However I do have at least one solid example of the “love for decorative value” category.  This example illustrates a patterned pillow against a patterned chair, which can be tricky.  I like it, and I think it works.  The chair is a bluish-gray toile print and the square pillows appear to be hand painted, but of course, are not.  The scene on the pillows pictures a mostly cloudy sky above green hills and trees.  The subdued colors of both the chair and the pillows help to make it work.  So does the larger scale of the pattern on the pillow.  There must be enough difference in the scale of each print that each maintains its identity.

The lesson my pillows have taught me is about scale!  Experimenting with print against print is fairly new to me.  So is the idea of blue leopard print!  I now realize that if the blue leopard print were to be a larger scale, it would dominate the proportions of the pillow, and the softness that I see in the print would surely be lost!

I hope that you’ll soon be trying a “print on print” decorating challenge!

by Evelyn Kinville, Behnke’s Garden Blogger

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Basically, the scale is an important aspect when looking into buying a throw pillow since it would help you learn if it would be aesthetically pleasing or if they would end up clashing. That’s a perfect lesson I haven’t even taken into consideration myself. I’ll be sure to take this into account when I start purchasing some garden throw pillow for our outdoor sofa and chairs. Hopefully, they’ll turn out as well as yours. Thanks!

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