64 Throw Pillows & Only 1 Living Room

Once again we had a blank slate to work with when it came to our living room. This “before” picture shows the living room in the foreground, the dining room in the background, and the arch separating the two spaces.

Below is my first draft of our living room–I painted the arch a medium green color and the side walls a very light sage green. The sofa and loveseat are actually a cream/khaki color although they look a little pastel in some pictures. This look lasted a couple of months until I decided I wasn’t in love with it. Back to the drawing board.



In true “accessorize first, paint second” fashion, I decided to start the room re-do by choosing new throw pillows. This is a good time to note–there are times when I can see something and know instantly that it will look great in the house and I will love it. However, my usual process is to purchase items I think might work, bring it all home, see it in the actual space, make my decision, and return the rest. I’m a big fan of the in-store return. They know me by name at half the customer service desks in town…and you’ll soon see why.

Pillowgate 2006 all started out innocently enough. A stop at Pier 1 over my lunch break led to might as well go to Target while I’m over here. Swing by the mall after work (hello JCPenny, Kohls, & Pottery Barn) and before I know it I’m doing the equivalent of the “suitcase sit” to get my car doors closed. Purchasing 64 throw pillows in one day has got to be a record. Why 64 pillows, you ask? I drive a Ford Focus. Sixty-five pillows simply wouldn’t have fit.

And what’s a scandal without pics? Presenting the evidence:



Narrowing down my throw pillow options was not an easy task. Here are some finalists that didn’t make the cut (click on pics to enlarge):




And the winners! The lumbar pillow in the center is the same fabric as the drapes in the dining room. I wanted to tie the two spaces together so I really wanted to make this pillow work.

Next up–paint colors. In the end I decided to paint both the living room and dining room (in the background) a wheat color–Sherwin Williams Whole Wheat, and both sides of the arch a dark brown–Benjamin Moore Branchport Brown.



A work in progress…

…and paint job completed!

I got these Victoria Hagen cross-back chairs and matching accent table (perfect for our DVD player and TiVo) at Target. The lamp and oversized clock by the loveseat are also from Target.



And would you believe it?? I went nearly two years before buying another throw pillow! (Well…for the living room anyway.) I just picked up these new ivory pillows from Pottery Barn. Unlike the previous ivory pillows, these have a removable cover and are washable so they’re a little more practical. Another new addition is this fabulous overlapping squares rug from West Elm.

Related Posts:
Anatomy of Our Dining Room
Finishing Up The Kitchen
Parade of Homes–Fabulous 2-Story Living Room

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  1. 1

    The love affair began at pillowgate 2006. :giggle

    The brown arch is probably my favoritest upgrade. It’s a 10.

  2. 2

    I’m so excited that you have a blog. I love your home and your design style and so excited to read about your process!


  3. 3

    Love, love, LOVE everything. The arch looks fantastic, and I love the rug too.

  4. 4

    You know I love it all!! :)

  5. 5

    both rooms look great! I too am a HUGE fan of liberal return policies.

  6. 6

    I love the pillow story!! you’re too funny, D!!

  7. 7

    LOL. I totally thought you were exaggerating the number of pillows you bought until I saw the picture of all those bags!

    It looks fabulous!

  8. 8

    Wow! That’s all I’ve got. You have impeccable taste. I am so inspired! I had to post about how amazing your blog is! I can’t wait until the weekend so I can head to Pottery Barn & Target to get started on my revamp! Thanks for the motivation!

  9. 9

    snazzy! the dark brown wall arch is so dramatic! love it.

    how funny that you got all those throw pillows! your man must have VERY big faith in you :)

  10. 10

    Your house is AWESOME!!! I am so inspired. I am in the middle of revamp myself. I have to ask…do you remember where you got your end table (pull-out magazine rack)? I really like it. And I have to tell you….ever since I have seen your swirly scroll in the dining room, it is all I can think about. It is stunning.

  11. 11

    Hi Debbie–thank you so much! The end table (and the coffee table) are from Ashley Furniture. I believe it’s called the Carlyle Collection. Hope that helps, and good luck with your revamp!

  12. 12

    I must say it’s a little eerie stumbling upon this blog, only to find our furniture and style to be VERY similar… I too have the Carlyle Collection from Ashley, the throw pillow fascination, the big round clock on the wall, etc. Love it! :)

  13. 13

    Thanks Kerri!

  14. 14

    I love your blog. I came across it 5 days ago it’s so darn cute. Were do you find the end tables and coffee table there just perfect. Thanks Jessie

  15. 15

    @Jessie–Thanks! The coffee table and end tables are from Ashley Furniture–their “Carlyle” collection.

  16. 16

    Great blog (linked to it from YHL); I’ve enjoyed looking at your house! Just curious about your living room layout: I would have expected to see the TV centered under the double windows with the large sofa/coffe table facing it (loveseat in the arch instead). Is there a reason you chose this layout instead? Thanks again for all your info in your blog; it’s very informative!

  17. 17

    @JTP–Hi, thanks for your comment! The layout you suggested is actually the EXACT layout I had in mind for this space before we moved in. However, once I graphed it out (I like to graph out my rooms and furniture to see how it’ll work before I do any heavy moving) I realized it wasn’t going to work. That TV is absolutely HUGE! It’s as deep as it is wide, so centering it under the window meants it stuck out halfway into the living room. It’s footprint is shaped more like a trapezoid than a square, with the sides angling in a bit as it goes toward the back, so placing it in the corner made it stick out a little less.

    As for the furniture–I had a couch, loveseat, coffee table, and side table to work with. Unfortunately, there is no floor outlet in the center of the room under the arch, so to put a reading lamp on the side table (and not have the cord going across a walkway) I needed to have the side table up against a wall–the best spot for it being where it’s currently located. Once I put the side table there, putting the couch next to it (facing the windows) didn’t leave enough walkway room for people to enter the living room from the kitchen, so that’s why the loveseat is there instead. Which left the couch to go centered under the arch.

    Thanks for your great question–hope this sheds some light on things!

  18. 18
    Anonymous says:

    hi there! Love your home, beautiful! Quick question: where are your couches from? We’re in the middle of couch hunting/living room makeover and I love yours! Keep the posts coming — very inspirational!

  19. 19

    @Anonymous–Thank you so much for your sweet comment! Our couches are from Slumberland Furniture. Good luck in your search!

  20. 20
    Anonymous says:

    Hi! I am new to your blog and really enjoy looking through. I have a question though – where did you purchase those neat wood blinds with the black bands running down them in your living room? I love them!

  21. 21

    OMG…I love your simple style. The pillow thing is cracking me up. My Sexy Hubby cannot stand anything “fluff” and I have been reduced to a “reasonable” amount of pillowage. (But I sneak!!!)



  22. 22

    @Anonymous–The blinds are Hunter Douglas.

    LOL! Thanks KT!

  23. 23

    oh, MY! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pillows, by, alas, my husband does not. When he walks in and sees new ones, he claps his hands on the side of his face and does a “Home Alone” impression. So, I just keep buying them anyway. lol the screaming is worth a new pillow!

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