Create gorgeous pillows that look like you spent a fortune.

How to Embellish Pillows

by Traci LaRussa

Professional decorators use accent pillows as an important element in the finishing touch of a room design because they provide interest and can revive a room instantly. Since designer-style pillows can be a bit expensive, many times costing hundreds of dollars, it’s worth learning how to spruce up basic pillows to add an artistic touch to your home décor. Even on a budget, you can create impressive-looking pillows that look like they came directly from a designer showroom.

Styling With Stencils

Easily add beautiful designs to pillows using stencils and fabric or acrylic paints. Stencils come in a variety of patterns including floral, letters and abstract designs that will match any style preference. Though it is ideal to remove the pillow form from the cover before stenciling, it is not necessary. Secure a stencil to a pillow with tape, and stipple the paint using a flat-head stenciling brush or sponge. Before you begin painting, blot your brush on a paper towel so only a little paint remains. If you use too much paint you will risk paint seeping outside the lines of the pattern. Begin with one color at a time and let the paint dry before using another color.

Tie It Up

The quickest way to embellish a pillow is to wrap with a scarf or fabric sash around it and tie it in a bow or knot. Add dimension by attaching a brooch to the center. You can also braid rope or tie it in a square knot around pillows for a nautical theme. For a less rustic look, paint the rope with acrylic paint to match your décor. For instance, a navy blue rope is the perfect pop of color for a white canvas pillow.

Feminine and Floral

Fabric flowers in subdued or vibrant shades make an eye-catching display when covering an entire pillow. For a softer look, simply use a few flowers or a large one in the center. Sew beads or buttons to the center of flowers for added charm. If you prefer the appliqué technique, use silk flowers removed from the stem and arrange them on a piece of fabric with temporary adhesive. Lay sheer fabric on top and stitch around the edges. Cut out the design and hand-sew or use fabric glue or fusing tape for easy application.

Embellishing with Memories

Transfer drawings, letters, photos or vintage ads to a pillow using an inkjet printer and fabric paper, which can be found at most craft stores. Create a memorable gift by painting or stenciling a tree to a pillow and have family members add a thumbprint with acrylic paint for leaves. Write their names on the prints with a fine-tip permanent marker.

More Ideas

Creating visual appeal is easy when adding buttons, ruffles, fringed trim or tassels. To personalize your space, stencil quotes or large single letters on each pillow to spell out a word when placed on a couch. Use scraps of fabric and ribbon to create unique designs. Or simply layer lace or antique feed sacks over the front of a pillow. For a naturally neutral look, wrap twine around a linen or burlap pillow and adorn with twigs.

About the Author

Traci LaRussa is based in Florida and has been writing professionally since 2002. She currently consults with clients in need of expertise in home staging, interior decorating and organization. LaRussa is also an artist who has painted miniature works as well as large scale murals.

Photo Credits

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