Gray Matters (To Me, If It’s A Big Couch)

The great pillow debate

Steven Volpe Paris pied a terre

[ Steven Volpe ]

When we bought our house–and knowing we’d want to start a family at some point–we bought a comfy Room & Board sectional sofa in charcoal gray.  Smart buy, right?  Well I soon found that I was struggling with something that still confounds me to this day: PILLOWS!  Specifically, how many?  What pattern(s)?  What arrangement – symmetrical, loosely casual, equally spaced across the back, or maybe just two long bolsters on either side? I can’t even count the number of combinations I’ve tried and pillows I’ve returned.  I’ve been going crazy and definitely driving the husband crazy. So you can understand why I might feel a small victorious thrill when I see dark gray sofas in magazines and on blogs.  It helps me figure out what works, what I like, what I can realistically afford to tackle for my next attempt.  Take these examples….which do you think work well?

Kelly Hoppen living room Met Home via the house of sukio

[ Kelly Hoppen ]

Laura Day Park Avenue flat

[ Laura Day ]

Lonny March April 2011 Pereira Associates

[ Pereira Associates in Lonny ]

via RUE

[ Tamara Kaye-Honey via RUE ]

Steven Volpe Pacific Heights

[ Steven Volpe ]

Lonny January February 2011 Hilary Thomas

[ Hilary Thomas in Lonny ]

Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

[ Martyn Lawrence-Bullard ]

Monique Lhuillier family room Elle Decor

[ Monique Lhuillier via Elle Decor ]

Monique Lhuillier living room Elle Decor

[ Monique Lhuillier via Elle Decor ]

Kelly Wearstler

[ Kelly Wearstler via Material Girls ]

Lonny October November 2010 Palmer Weiss

[ Palmer Weiss in Lonny ]

RUE Nicole Cohen living room

[ Nicole Cohen in RUE ]

Lonny October November 2010 Ron Marvin

[ Ron Marvin in Lonny ]

Lately I’ve been leaning towards the less contrast/more texture approach, going a little glam. I’ve got a few pillows now that I think are working (knock on wood). We will make a “firm” decision once the beni ourain rug arrives. It could all change again of course!


Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. I’m in love with the extra ling bolster in the first image. And the suzani-ish one in Rue. So, do a long bolster in a suzani! 🙂

    1. Justin isn’t into suzanis, ikats, that sort of thing. (I was shocked he likes the beni ourain rug I bought!) But I do like that bolster look — problem is the two of us actually agreeing on a fabric!

  2. I was just looking at this again. I was drooling over that wallpaper in the Laura Day room. Then I finally noticed the upholstered dining room chairs…I have that on a chair in my living room!! I’ll have to send you a pic…

  3. Ditto, I like the bolster pillow look too. I haven’t seen that much, mostly you see the pairs of pillows in a pattern and coordinating solid, so it’s nice to see a different approach!

  4. UPDATE: bought two West Elm mongolian lamb fur pillows in curry yellow, a la the Laura Day photo above. Love the look! Much more contemporary than we had previously.