Decorating with Pillows: Tips From a Veteran Expert

Christine Skaley
Christine Skaley

LoveToKnow Interior Design was fortunate enough recently to talk decorative accent pillows with a real pro - Christine Skaley of PillowThrowDecor and Just For Looks Custom Drapery. Find out what she has to say about using pillows in your décor and the rules - or lack thereof - using pillows for design punch.

About Christine Skaley and PillowThrow Decor

LoveToKnow (LTK): How did you come to set up PillowThrowDecor?

Christine Skaley (CS): PillowThrowDecor is all about excessive creative energy bursting at the seams!

My main business, Just For Looks Custom Drapery, is about designing and fabricating draperies, bedding and other soft home furnishings for retail clients and designers. However, I just can't resist the eco benefits and the artistic excitement of creating decorative throw pillows with every square inch of leftover, and very often, expensive designer fabrics. Also, my clients love the versatility of adding a new accent colour to a room with just three new throw pillows.

I loved living in a kaleidoscope of colour, but when the stacks of throw pillows in the living room and dining room started blocking window light I knew it was time to share my pillow passion with the world, hence the birth of PillowThrowDecor online.

Decorative Accent Pillow Signature Lines


LTK: You have a few signature decorative throw pillow lines. Can you tell us a little about them?

CS: Luxe and Found Pillows are designs that incorporate luxurious fabric remnants with found, upcycled, repurposed household or clothing items that would normally be shipped off to a landfills. Things like the audio-visual wiring used in the back of your TVs and stereo equipment are what give my GEEK pillows their stunning good looks and cheeky personalities.

Pocket Pillows are multi-purpose throw pillows that add chic to your décor while adding an organizational or convenience benefit of holding on to things like your remote controls, ipod, reading glasses, bedtime toys, almost anything, even a can of beer or a mug of coffee ?

DIY Pillow and Throw Kits are a new line of products that will launch at the end of summer. Almost anyone, with some basic sewing skills, will be able to enjoy the fun and affordability of creating decorative pillows and throws as seen in home décor magazines using designer fabrics and professional techniques. Product research and development is taking me a bit longer, but is definitely worth the wait!

"Eclections" includes everything from basic knife edge throw pillows to embroidered shoe pillows, alphabetized pillows and anywhere else my creative hands and outrageous imagination takes me… and believe me there is lots more wild, weird and wonderful pillows to come yet!

Tips for Using Decorative Accent Pillows


LTK: Let's talk about decorating with throw pillows. What should people look for in the perfect pillow for their décor?

CS: Wow…Defining the perfect pillow is so different for everyone. Most of my customers shop by colour, size, shape, function and finishing detail, and in pretty much that order too. Prioritize these characteristics in your mind first, then the perfect pillow will jump out at you when you see it. While most everyone is attracted to PillowThrowDecor pricing because of the high quality fabrics and finishing, they like knowing they are shopping semi-custom and can in fact find or request the perfect pillow. My personal opinion on perfect pillows are ones that can introduce accent colour to a room, be particularly useful for comfort or convenience (pocket pillows) or really fun conversation starters (Geeks - personality pillows).

LTK: Are there any rules for where pillow chic goes to pillow overkill? For instance, take a sofa - is there a rule for how many pillows should be there?

CS: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS OVERKILL!!! LOL … I personally have three basic rules.

  • Sofas - For high use sofas, never have so many pillows that there is no place to sit. If you have to constantly remove a pillow to get comfortable, it shouldn't be there at all. For living room sofas, almost never used, fill 'er up!
  • Chairs - Never more than two.
  • Beds - For a luxurious look on a queen or double bed, use a minimum of nine pillows which includes three decorative euro size against the headboard, then two feather pillows for sleeping on and two decorative shams covering these and in front of them, at least two smaller, showy pillows. For a minimalist look, only have two decorative shams covering the two pillows used to sleep on.

LTK: What is your favorite pillow in your collection? Why?

CS: My nerdy Geek Pillows are probably my favourite because they take on so much personality they "talk to me". Honestly though, I'm such a pillow tart… every pillow I finish becomes my new favourite! There are however many unfinished and unfavourited pillows in my workroom and it is not because they are ugly. These "in progress" pillow panels are gorgeous fabrics with sumptuous textures but somehow just can't compete with a new shipment of fabric and the wild abandon I feel with a pair of scissors in my hands.

Stay Up To Date with Christine Skaley and PillowThrowDecor


LTK: Tell us about your blog - what can readers expect to find there?

CS: Lots of giveaways! Professionally and artistically I am fascinated with textiles and their applications in interior design and home décor. My goal is to provide valuable information to designers and consumers on the buying, making and decorating with pillows and throws, and also professional tips on draperies, upholstery and other soft home furnishings. I love doing tutorials, before and afters, product sourcing and more! That's pretty broad, and really, blogging is a balance between finding your voice and meeting your audience. I will redefine and narrow my focus as readership expands. If all else fails, I can always write stories about pillows fairies or my fascinating life of menopause, executive retirement… oh yes, and about my two much, much, older sisters.

LTK: Where can we buy your designs?

CS: My online stores are at Etsy, a Canadian site, and soon will be available on my own site at Several home décor retailers in the Vancouver, Canada area carry exclusive pillows from my signature lines. Whether online or locally in my design studio, my custom clientele for pillows, drapery, bedding and upholstery will also find my company, Just For Looks Custom Drapery, most easily at


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Decorating with Pillows: Tips From a Veteran Expert