Today we are talking pillow decorating.

Yesterday I was worried it was going to snow so I sat around the house and watched Gray’s Anatomy and watched a tutorial on how to make a messy bun in my hair….

….and decorated this built-in bench four different ways with pillows.

I’m not sure what is more random about this post.

That I had enough pillows scattered around to create four different pillow looks just by shopping the house.

Or that I got in a hurry to put them out when I made them….

….and most of them were still safety pinned shut. ūüôā

 decorating with pillows neutral

Okay here’s where we started with the pillows on the original built-in bench…..neutral.

I love neutral.

It’s my comfort zone.

It makes me happy.


pillow decorating neutral colors

Decorating with pillows is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

Pattern.  Texture.  Solids.  Statement piece.

For example…..with this neutral pillow arrangement.

1. ¬†Pattern: ¬†There’s pattern with gray damask.

2. ¬†Texture: ¬†There’s texture with burlap.

3. ¬†Solids: ¬†There’s solid with an off-white pillow with gray trim and khaki linen.

4. ¬†Statement: ¬†It’s hard to tell from the picture….but the overall floral on the center pillow ties the whole color scheme together.

pillow decorating blue and white

Same song second verse….except with a little color.

Here are the same built-ins decorated with blue and white.

Perfect for spring.

Perfect if you need to lift your spirits and smile.

Clean and classic.


blue and white pillow decorating

Here’s the view of the current bench decorated with blue and white pillows.

1. ¬†Pattern: ¬†There’s pattern with blue stripes¬†and an overall floral with tiny vines and swirls.

2. ¬†Texture: ¬†There’s texture with burlap.

3. ¬†Solids: ¬†There’s solid with a lightly patterned gray pillow and an off-white pillow with gray trim.

4. ¬†Statement Pillow: ¬† There’s a statement pillow with a blue and white floral and a monogram.

(total aside: ¬†best pillow tip ever in the history of ever. ¬†Get a statement pillow….it looks so expensive and makes all the other pillows look like they came from the Ritz Carleton).

decorating with pillows black and white

This was my go-to color scheme about 10 years ago.

I bought all my furniture from yard sales and painted it black.

(total aside: ¬†there’s an armoire in my laundry room I bought for $5.00 at a yard sale and painted black. ¬†Best $5.00 I ever spent)

I love the simplicity of black and white with its great graphic contrast.

I always feel a little sophisticated with this color scheme.


pillow decor black and white

Here’s the view of the current bench decorated with black and white pillows.

1. ¬†Pattern: ¬†There’s pattern with¬†black stripes and a variety of damask patterns.

2: ¬†Texture: ¬†There’s texture with burlap.

3. ¬†Solids: ¬†There’s solid with a white pillow with gray trim.

4: ¬†Statement Pillow: ¬†And there’s a statement pillow with an old-fashioned flour label on it.

decorating with pillows color

And last but not least…..color….glorious, wonderful color.

I’m drawn to neutrals, but my heart always smiles with a little bit of color.

I can get tired of a color quickly.

But it’s wonderful while it lasts.


pillow decor color

Here’s the view of the bench filled with color.

1. ¬†Pattern: ¬†There’s pattern with the orange and pink stripes¬†and a¬†light pink and hot pink pillow with¬†swirls.

2. ¬†Texture: ¬†There’s texture with the burlap.

(total aside: ¬†I know my texture has been the same for each look. ¬†It’s what I had….but you could think outside the box with thick cotton or velvet or needlepoint, too)

3. ¬†Solids: ¬†There’s solid with a patterned white¬†pillow and an off-white pillow with gray trim.

4. ¬†Statement Pillow: ¬† There’s a statement pillow with the silhouette of the bird on it.

decorating with pillows neutral

pillow decorating blue and white

decorating with pillows black and white

decorating with pillows color

And now which do you like best?

Which one would get your vote for the best pillow display on a built-in bench award?

Any one without safety pins gets my vote.

I’m just sayin’. ūüôā

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  1. Image for Vivian Vivian

    Karianne, I love them all, but I think I am drawn to the black and white. I would die for a window seat such as you have!! BTW we did get a little snow overnight in my neck of Kentucky. Not quite as much as they were saying we would get, but a nice covering.

  2. Image for Lisa at celebrate creativity Lisa at celebrate creativity

    Good morning, Karianne! They're all quite pretty and each arrangement definitely offers a different presentation. If I had to pick one, I'd have to say the neutral group is my favorite. I also really like the window seat concept framed by the bookcases which is a wonderful use of space.

  3. Image for Karena Karena

    Karianne I like the pop of color, however they all look great! You are genius at mixing textures and pattern and I love the idea of the statement pillow! xoxo Karena The Arts by Karena New Feature

  4. Image for Cindy Cindy

    I have two built in benches by my fireplace and I love your ideas! However, I tend to struggle with how many pillows for sofa if I have a lot on benches! Or if I should use the same or just similiar pillows on sofa! Thanks for the post!

  5. Image for Kris Kris

    If it's snow you want, I can send you some! :) Is it a "vote" if I vote on all four??? I would probably trend toward the neutral scheme and trade them out when I need a pick-me-up. I had a brilliant idea about a year ago ... pillow covers that can be changed seasonally--only to discover that someone else came up with the idea before me (on the bright side, I bought a couple of pillow covers with birds embroidered on them for a great price). I don't have a large house with lots of storage space, and pillow covers don't take up a lot of room, so it's a nice way for me to change things up without using up my minimally available closet space.

  6. Image for Ashley Ashley

    Okay, Universe, I hear you! All of my favorite blogs and my entire Instagram feed are full of glorious pillows today! I need pillows! lol Want more pillows! KariAnne: What are some of your favorite resources for pillows, besides making them yourself? Ash

  7. Image for barb barb

    Love them all but the heart melts with the black and white pillow arrangement. Question. Are folks allowed to sit on your window seat? Valid question I think, I mean, how could anyone SEE the lovely pillows :)

  8. Image for Becky Becky

    its a snow day here for us today, again! I like the blue version but a think the neutral is my favorite. Pillows are just an easy way to change up your look. And you did a great job. I think it would be fun to use all those looks though out the year depending on the season.

  9. Image for cynthia cynthia

    Love the pop of color. Although they are all tastefully done , the color one says, "Come sit awhile, read, relax, look out the window, dream.....". I'm a gardener, and even though my house is done in pastels , the assories say I love nature. Love your blog ,especially your home. You can definetly see the love that resides within it's walls. Thanks for today's inspiration!

  10. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I love all of your combinations!! I've pinned them so I have them as a reference -- we have a nine foot bay window with a window seat -- you've inspired me to do something with it. And the other day when I was snooping around your house I noticed the safety pins but I wasn't going to tell. I figured since you were nice enough to invite me to look around your house I wasn't tattle on the little short cuts. :-) Buona giornata, amica

  11. Image for Tina@shopmarket51.com Tina@shopmarket51.com

    I am right there with you! I love pillows so much, I started my own business/etsy shop of pillows last year. I'm all about the statement piece. The days of matching sofa pillows are over. Today, it's all about the mix. There's no better way to change up your space quickly on a limited budget than a can of paint and a few pillows. And you,my friend, are the master. Thanks for sharing with the best advice mixed with the perfect mix of humor.

  12. Image for Pam Smith Pam Smith

    Hi Karianne! Love all the looks! I am drawn to the blue, since that is my favorite color, but you have inspired me to go a bit more neutral and then change it up with little bits of color. Thanks so much for all the inspiration!

  13. Image for Wendy@OldLakeGeorge Wendy@OldLakeGeorge

    Good morning from chilly Minnesota! I make and sell pillow covers for a living. HOWEVER, I have fallen into a winter creative slump. I couldn't dream up the next item. And then, viola! You came to the rescue. THE STATEMENT PIECE. duh. That's what I need to develop for spring. You are a life saver! Winter slump be gone! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  14. Image for Debbie Debbie

    lol my family laughs at my pillow addiction... I should count them up one day. And I am a HUGE neutral fan but I am loving those coral coloured pillows!!

  15. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Well...since you so nicely asked...I do like me some blue and white...but...my favorite is the "color" bench! Safety pins are optional! I am a color person...blue and white is a neutral to me...isn't that weird? I love your window seat...I envision myself sitting with a cup of something, gazing out the window in between chapters of a great book. I need a window seat...with the "color" pillows of course! ;)

  16. Image for Peggy Zortman Peggy Zortman

    I'm a neutral person. Blue and white is my go to for everything. It is so peaceful. But this morning I am enchanted with that pop of coral! Ooh-la-la!

  17. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    Black and white for sure!!!!! I could even add a gray or R E D with this and have my world lite up! What is the most practical size for inserts? Where do you recommend we buy the inserts? HELP! You started this, help us out here.

  18. Image for LaurieRae LaurieRae

    love the look, neutral, color and B&W, but I stopped using most of my pillows because my house is small, there is Only one livingroom, it is the only place to gather, relax, watch TV, etc. my pillows were constantly thrown into a corner. I recently donated most of them....believe me, it's a challenge to walk by so many beautiful pillows in Home Goods or Target, but I am "over them"

  19. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    LOVE your easy, informal and gorgeous way to decorate your built in with pillows! I am a neutral girl too, with touches of black. Your black, neutral with a touch of gold pillow arrangement stole my heart! SIGH!

  20. Image for Gail Gail

    Hi Karianne- Just started following your blog a few months ago and you have quickly become one of my favorites. Never left comments before but felt inclined to do so today because I... ~L.O.V.E. pillows ~Share your eagerness for setting out new pillows and have forgone the hand stitching for straight pins (not as kind as safety pins;--) ~Have a long window seat that I switch out seasonally ~Want to thank you for the statement pillow idea. Never thought about that before but you are so right!!

  21. Image for Heather C Heather C

    Wow, you have a lot of pillows, I would be hard pressed to decide which ones to use. They are all so beautiful!

  22. Image for Jaimee Jaimee

    Can I pass on picking a favorite and shout out a big THANK YOU for the simple tip of Pattern, Texture, Solid, Statement? I've heard so many tips on styling pillows but this is the first one I can count on ~ as evidenced by your four examples. It works! And your advice about a statement pillow making the rest look like they're from the Ritz Carlton....I'm convinced :-) Thanks for another delightful, and helpful, post.

  23. Image for Barbara Ann Barbara Ann

    I love the fact that this bench looks like it gets so much natural light. So in another space color or black&white might be where I'd go. But with this much light the neutrals look great. Barbara Ann etsy.com /shop/barbaraannscreations

  24. Image for EmilyB EmilyB

    I love every single thing you do.... And you have been my favorite forever. But just sayin' ( and said with only the intent that you may want feedback) that I am NOT loving the new look of your website. It was so much more inviting before. I miss the pictures at the top where I could see the previous posts. I miss the beauty of it. Am I missing something? Is this new look permanent? I'll still come here, but just won't feel the joy I used to with this new format.

  25. Image for Kim @ hunt and host Kim @ hunt and host

    I just got some new pillows and it is close to embarrassing how much joy it brought me! They really liven up a spot. I am on a neutral tone on tone jag right now, so they win my vote for today...tomorrow might be different!

  26. Image for vonna vonna

    I also love the neutral pillow set but I'm really lovin the black and white. I have a big picture window in my Kitchen and I am going to have my husband build a window seat for me since he is a contractor and built our house. I will want the seat to have storage underneath. Does your seat have storage?

  27. Image for Lourdes Lourdes

    I love all of them but I think the neutral are my favorite! I really love this post - I feel like running out to the fabric store and I don't even know how to sew! My mother is a professional seamstress - it's time I get some lessons! Thank you for always being so inspirational - You always put a smile on my face! Have a wonderful day! xo

  28. Image for Amanda Amanda

    Neutral is my default too, but sometimes we all need a little color in our lives! Mostly, I just want that window bench. I really, really need a window bench somewhere in my house.

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