Easy ideas and inspiration for DIY budget decorating with pillows. Includes mix and match advice, sources for inserts, and more.
*Author’s Note: this post was originally published in 2015. It’s been edited (February 2021) with current information and updated images.
Today we are talking about one of my favorite things: DIY budget decorating with pillows. Other than paint, there is nothing that can change the look of a room as easily as new pillows. You can change them seasonally or just for fun. It’s also a great way to experiment with color and texture. They are budget-friendly, so even if you make a design mistake you aren’t out a fortune…and I’ve made plenty of mistakes!
*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.
The first thing I want to mention is the importance of investing in good pillow inserts. I am a down/feather pillow lover, so that’s what I have in my home. I have sets in three sizes. 20 x 20, 18 x 18 and 12 x 16. The 20 x 20 size insert can be found at IKEA for $10.00. Another excellent place to buy affordable down and feather inserts is Amazon. I will list some links at the end of the post.
DIY Budget Decorating with Pillows
I went back through the past year, and gathered together the different pillow combinations I used around our house. I have a neutral sofa but even if you don’t, you can still play around. The look above was just this past Christmas. The striped pillows on the sofa were from H& M, and the neutral Christmas tree pillows were from Pottery Barn. (I’m sorry, but both are no longer available.)
For fall, I was able to pull from my core collection of neutral pillow covers. Almost always, my pillow arrangements are symmetrical. For me, it’s calming and easy on the eye. Once in a while I do get brave and throw the symmetry out the window! Definitely do whatever makes you happy when you walk into a room. (Both pillow covers pictured below are from Amazon!)
Tip: when you are shopping for fabric or pillows, think outside the box. If you have mostly neutral colors in your home, the sky is the limit. Last spring, I went completely out of my comfort zone, and decorated with shades of green. It felt very organic, and was such a welcome change. (The green pillow covers pictured below were from Pier 1, and are no longer available.)
I literally have pillows in every room of my house…except the kitchen. I treat my outdoor spaces just like indoor rooms. I have pillows on our front porch all year round. Craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s now carry a great selection of pillow covers that are downright affordable. Another amazing pillow cover source is H & M online.
Normally when I update a room or switch to seasonal decor, I mix pillow covers I made with purchased ones. I don’t worry about the colors matching exactly. As long as they are in the same color family, I’m OK with going darker, lighter or a different shade.
By keeping your pillow collection to just a few colors, it’s easy to move them around your house. The colors on my first floor revolve around varying shades of blue with many different neutrals. I can take pillows from one room and put them in another. A whole new look for no money.
A favorite trick of mine, well…really it’s Sarah Richardson’s trick, is to make reversible pillow covers. DIY budget decorating at its best. Two looks for the price of one. Rarely do I make a pillow cover for my own home with two matching sides. Getting a new and different look is as easy as flipping over a pillow.
The most important thing to remember, in my humble opinion, is to be brave. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Mix a plaid with a floral or a stripe with a check. If you don’t have any pillows at all, start small. Just get a couple and put them on your sofa. I bet you will fall in love.