I like an all-white room as much as the next overwhelmed American. In a cluttered mental and physical landscape we can be forgiven for wanting any room we can find to be a yoga-like space.
It might feel refreshingly uncluttered for a couple months…
But an all-white environment can get boring fast.
Even if yes, all day you have to fight traffic, and drive past America’s tacky roadside architecture, and have your eyeballs bombarded with advertisements from billboards to your phone, and spend your day in a lifeless office and then stop at a fluorescent-lit grocery store playing bad contemporary music too loudly — even then, only a yoga room should be a yoga room, not your whole house.
That’s by way of saying that “clean” all-white spaces have jumped the shark. The new and comforting move is to put some color and design in there!
Easing in to Color
But if you’ve become accustomed to an ecru-on-ecru home paradise punctuated only by the occasional Monstera plant, perhaps you need to introduce…slowly…some…but not too much…design and color. Jes’ a lil’ bit!
One easy and not-too-expensive way to do that is with pillows.
Throw pillows for the couch, a long bolster for the bed, lumbar pillows for chairs, or even a big lounge pillow for the floor (or for the dog or cat) can get you there, giving you both color and imagery — or one or the other.
So where to find those pillows?
My advice is to bypass all the cookie-cutter places from Target to Macy’s to Pottery Barn to Garnet Hill to even Sundance, whose “authentic” looks have become just another design cliché.
Instead, to display your own personal style in a way that’s more likely to look fresh for years to come, why not consider making — or having someone else make — some fabulous custom pillows using vintage fabrics?
A throw pillow is a little thing that can make a big impact on your room. And making great looking pillows is not as daunting as you might think. But it is an original and affordable way to enjoy high-end design in a way that helps the environment.
First, vintage fabrics will always be more eco-friendly than anything at all you can buy new. Vintage fabric’s use-impact happened twenty years ago or more, so it’s all about upcycling now, and that’s an environmental win-win.
Additionally, vintage fabrics all but guarantee that you’ll be crafting a look all your own (even if you hire someone to do the making).
Speaking of hiring someone, that’s a better move too. Local makers need work, and having it “made locally” positively impacts your community whereas continuing to send a message to the global economy that folks should be getting a buck a day in developing nations to labor away for big American department stores is no longer a tenable approach to the world economy.
Here’s how you get started.
First, if you can sew, you know how easy pillows are. They’re so easy even Lady Virginia, who hasn’t dusted off her sewing skills in many a moon, can make them, as these photos of pillows I made for my hubby (the Union Generals one) and the trees (ones that I made for my daughter) attest.
For a refresher, here are a couple of tutorials for pillow-making:
- Pillow with “envelope closure.”
- Envelope closure with pom-pom trim (or any other decorative trim).
- Pillow with zipper and trim insertion with flange cord trim.
However…if you love to play with design but are hopeless behind the sewing machine, then decide on your project size, price out how much making pillows will be, hunt down your fave fabric, and put an order in to a local maker.
Soon you’ll be adding Mid-Century Modern flair to your living room, grandmillennial chintzes to your favorite cozy settee, flower power for your teens and twenty-somethings, or something floral, animal, or mineral to your space.
You can add bold color, daring design lines, or something personal (like hunting dogs for your hubby’s man cave, or big leaves for your Florida room) that can kick up the neutral base of your room and define it with that one big splash.
One rule — have fun!
— Lindsay Curren, Lady Virginia Vintage Fabrics