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Tips and Tricks

DECORATING WITH PILLOWS
"Nothing adds richness to a rooms decor like leather. And, there is no need to spend thousands on large leather upholstered pieces when you can achieve this richness for a few hundred dollars by adding leather pillows..." J.D.-Designer

COLOR

Color is probably one of the most difficult elements of a design to pull off, and one that people spend the most time focusing on. We won't bother with a lot of color theory, as it can be complex and at times confusing. Let's just look at few things to consider, and some ideas that might make it simpler to decide what colors to use.


Often, we try to look for colors that will match whatever piece of furniture we are placing the leather pillow on. This is essentially an impossible task. While we do have nearly every color leather you can think of available, there are so many different finishes and manufacturers out there, that to try to match a color is just not realistic. With that in mind, perhaps you should coinsider looking for colors that will compliment the color of the furnishings, rather than match them.


Try looking to other elements in the room for colors for your pillows. Colors found elsewhere in the room can be used to help "tie together" these elements, and create a unified look. Consider the colors that are in an area rug, or the wall or trim color for inspiration. Perhaps your wallpaper has a dominant color that can be used? Often, something like a painting or poster on the wall next a piece of furntiure can be used to find a color that works for your leather pillow. Perhaps a table lamp on an end table next to your sofa has a strong color element. Look all around the room for different colors other than the main body color of the furniture. You might find you have many possible choices that will work, and not just make the sofa look great, but may serve to unify the entire room, pulling these seemingly different elements together, creating a cohesive look. You may also consider using more than one color pillow, as combining colors creates visual interest. Look around at the other elements of the room for color combinations already in play. You might be surprised at what you find if you look at just colors that are present. Seek out classic color combination such as reds and greens, reds and grays, reds and black, blues and browns, greens and grays. And remember, black and white will go with nearly any color. These two colors can be used in nearly any location, against nearly any other color, and they will work. To put it simply, carefully examine other elements in the room to find a color that can used to tie things together.


It is nearly impossible to get a true idea of colors off a computer moniter. Each computers color settings are different, so the colors will appear different. With that in mind, it's always a good idea to order our free leather swatches, and hold those swatches up against the piece of furniture you are going to place the leather pillow upon. This is the only way to see the true colors of our leathers. Try doing this at different times of day. Natural lighting conditions, window placement and the different kinds of lamps and light fixtures and their location relative to the furniture will all have an effect on colors, and how they are perceived. The type of light will also have a profound effect. Incandescent bulbs will cause a warm golden glow, while flourescent bulbs will create a cool, blueish shift in colors. Both will effect how our eyes percieve a color. For example, Oxblood might appear to be almost rudy black in low light conditions, but in direct sunlight, it will be clearly seen as a dark, rich burgandy.


STYLE

What a style pillow should you buy? That depends. On what look you are trying to achieve, and what other elements are already in the room. Usually, by the time pillows are being ordered, the larger pieces of furniture are already in place, the walls are painted and the floors are done. The over all look is pretty well defined.


Are you going for a traditional, clean, tidy tailored look? Consider putting buttons on your leather pillows for a more formal appearance. Trying for a chic, clean ultra-modern look? An even number of basic black square pillows might fit the bill. Looking for a light, shabby chic feel? Try a few throw pillows in True White or Ivory leather, with buttons and fringe. Going for a masculine, rugged, western style? Medium Brown or Rich Brown leather accent pillows with fringe might work for this. Going for a casual, family type room? A pair of 27" leather floor pillows in Hampton Toast will help you pull off the look. Do you have a large dominant piece of furniture, one that is the natural centerpiece of the room, or are you looking for something to be the focal point of the room? Consider some outstanding Western Style pillows from our popular Two Rock Collection. Or, you can create your own unique look with our full color imprinted leather pillows from the Theme Pillow Collection. We feature everything from Victorian Angels to Vintage Racecars, from Old Fruit Box Labels, to Vintage Botanical Prints. There's something for everyone avaialable there. Looking to add a personal touch? Consider using some of our Create A Pillow Color Photo Pillows as unique centerpiece pillows. Think about using some old, vintage family pictures. Maybe some older baby pictures from when the kids were little? Have a favorite poem? Maybe scan an old love letter or personal note? How about a diploma or other special recognition? The possibilties are limited only by your imagination. Any of these collections can be used to bring a central element to a space, creating a theme, and bringing in colors that can be used elsewhere.


SIZE

Pillow size is usually dictated by where the pillow is to be placed, and what the decorator is planning on using them for. Accent? Focal point? Comfort? Floor surfing? While a large, overstuffed sofa with big arms will likely look great with a bunch of 20"x20" pillows, or even a few 22"x22" pillows, a smaller, modern style sofa with low arms might look good with an 18"x18" pillow. Try to let the piece of furniture tell you what size will be best for it. If you are going to use the leather pillows for more than just a decorative touch, they should be at least 16"x16", but preferably 18"x18". On a large sectional sofa, used for everything from naping to viewing home theater, a variety of sizes might be appropriate. Try mixing 20"x20" and 22"x22" with 14"x22" and 18" rounds, even. On the floor next to large sectional sofa, perhaps a pair of 24"x24" floor pilows,or even a 24"x24" with our Titanic 24"x36" monster would make more room for the family. On a smaller piece of furniture such as a love seat, 16"x16" pillows might be appropriate. Or, for a single accent or comfort pillow on an upholstered chair, a single 16"x16" pillow might work fine. To add a splash of color to a small piece of furniture such as a single chair, a 14"x14" pillow might be OK. However, these are generally considered to be too small for practical use on any but the most dainty of furnishings. The industry standard is an 18"x18" pillow, finished size about 17"x17". And don't forget that leather pillows can also be used to add that rich touch in the bedroom! A few leather throw pillows can go a long way in reducing the sometimes overwhelming visual impact of that huge expanse that is a king sized bed!


SCALE

Scale differs from size in that you need to take into consideration everything in the room, including the size of the room itself, when deciding what scale pillows you want. Do you have a small room, with a monochromatic whites or light color based scheme, with lots of frilly fabrics, lace and smaller pieces of upholstered furniture? Then a couple black 27" floor pillows likely isn't a good choice. However, on a small slip covered chair in off white linen, a good choice might be a simple 14"x14" True White leather pillow with fringe. A large "L" shaped sectional in an open floor plan "Great Room" will accept larger, more dominant leather pillows than will a single sofa in a formal living room setting. Generaly, the larger and darker the piece of furnture, the larger the room, the larger the leather pillows can be. Conversely, the smaller the room, and its elements, then the smaller the leather pillows could be, and still look in proper proportion to the other elements in the room. Look at room size. Look at all the furnishings in place. Look at the room in total. A large room, with large pieces of furniture will accept larger leather pillows, while a smaller room with lighter, less bulky furnishings will call for some smaller, perhaps lighter color leather pillows for accent or decorative elements. Consider all elements when deciding on what scale to use.


QUANTITY

Follow "the rule of three"? Five? Four? Two? What rule?

The rule of three is that when grouping things of similar size or "visual weight", three items just looks better. I will say that when grouping pillows, if you have two of the same size, a third pillow in a slightly smaller size will look better. By making the third pillow slightly larger, it just doesn't seem to have the correct balance visually. And remember that everything does not always need to be symetrical, meaning exactly the same on both sides, evenly distributed. And, rather than putting one very large pillow in a space, consider using two or even three slightly smaller pillows, to create a balance of visual weight.


I've been told that an even number of pillows is more formal, more traditional, a more conservative look. And that an odd number of pillows seems more relaxed, more casual. I also feel that placement of these pillows has a lot to do with how they look. Putting two pillows on one end of a sofa and one on the other sometimes works. Or two on one end and three on the other. Or four, two larger and two smaller, one of each size at the arms of a sofa can look great.

Consider a sofa with three seperate cushions on a seat and three on the back. I 've been told that three pillows would be appropriate for this style sofa. A loveseat with two cushions on the seat and one or two on the back would call for two leather accent pillows. A sofa with a two cushion seat and an attched two cushion back would call for two accent pillows, one on each end. Or, you could use four leather accent pillows in two sizes, large in back and small in front, placed at the arms. The truth is, rules were made to be broken, so experiment and see what you like best. To simulate pillows, try folding bath towels into squares and rectangles, and place them on the pieces of furniture you are planning on dressing with leather pillows. Maybe try stuffing pillow cases with folded towels of various sizes and shapes as a visual aid. Stand back and look. Move things around. Try different combinations of size and shape. Whatever helps you visualize the end product. This can help with how many to order, and what size to order. Whatever looks good, has the correct visual weight and balance...If you like the way it looks, then it's fine!



SHAPE

Mixing pillow shapes can be as important as size and color when selecting decorative leather pillows.

Mixing squares, rectangles and round shapes can go a long way in making your accent pillows look great. By mixing rounds with squares, the rounds tend to visually soften the hard, even lines of the square shaped pillows. Mixing different shapes of leather pillows can be as important as color is in creating a pleasing arrangement of pillows. Not sure what different shapes would look like together? Try folding some bath towels into 18" round and 16" and 18" and 20" squares, and 14"x22" rectangles, then lay them on the sofa in different groupings. Maybe stuff some pillow cases with the towels to create mock pillows. Move them around. Stand back and look. It's a project that will take a few minutes to do, but you might be surprised how much it helps to see actual shapes and how they relate to each other. This excercise can also help you to see scale, and what sized pillows will work on what piece of furniture.


HAVE FUN!

Most importantly, try to enjoy the process! I think the main thing is to have fun with this experience, don't agonize over it! We'll do all we can to help you get exactly what you want in a leather pillow! And if for any reason you are not happy with your leather pillows within 2 weeks if receiving them, just let us know! We can exchange them for a different size or color, no problem! Good luck with your leather pillow ordering and if you have any questions, we'd be happy to try and assist you in any way we can-call us toll free at 877-723-7253 or email us at: info@leatherpillowfactory.com



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