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Surrounding ourselves with all things cozy is the name of the game right now and if there’s one accessory that undoubtedly fills a room with warmth and comfort, it’s a beautiful collection of pillows. While the addition of pillows can be a simple and effective update, styling them can be a bit challenging if you aren’t equipped with pointers from the pros. Enter, Lauren Meichtry, the founder of Elsie Home—who not only creates the most beautiful designs but also has a heartwarming story of how she began creating her pillows. We sat down with Lauren to glean a few styling tips that you can put to good use while you’re cozy in quarantine.

Before we dive into the styling tips, tell us a bit about how you got your start with Elsie Home?

My passion started long ago when my Grandma Elsie was moving out of her home of 40 years and into a senior care facility. That’s when her vintage sewing machine found its way to me. While I had never used a sewing machine before, I felt compelled to carry on my grandmother’s creativity. With the help of a close friend, I learned how to sew my first pillow. My amateur status was obvious in the beginning (it turns out that burlap is best used for potato sack races, not pillows), my persistence eventually turned into a skill which later became a deep passion and now, the Elsie Home brand.

How many pillows should you aim to incorporate into a bed, a sofa, etc.?

While every house is different, there are a few basic places to start. For your bed, choose two or three sizes. Create some height by using larger pillows in the back (24×24 or 22×22), then size down from there. Adding a lumbar is sort of the cherry on top of your bed sundae. For your couch, don’t forget couches are for sitting and too many pillows can make your guests feel uncomfortable. Start with 2-3 in the corners and go from there!

Do you recommend using pillows of many different sizes? How do you layer?

I love mixing and matching with different sized pillows. It creates dimension and interest on an otherwise blank canvas. Pair small, medium and large pillows together – a combination of 22x22s, 20x20s and a lumbar is a great place to start.

What is the rule of thumb for mixing and matching colors and patterns?

I’ve never been much of a rule follower, so I generally suggest people start with one or two prints they absolutely love and then layer in neutrals and colors that complement the others. There’s no need to overcomplicate things. Think of putting together an outfit but for your couch/bed. Would you wear these colors together on your body? If not, then they probably aren’t a good fit for your house either. And when choosing patterns, its easiest on the eyes if you pair small scale prints with large scale prints so each pillow has a chance to shine.

How can you switch out pillows for a quick home refresh throughout various seasons?

When choosing your pillows, I like to recommend a good mix of neutral prints and solids so you can add in bold prints and colors as the seasons change. This way you won’t have to swap out every pillow on your couch or bed. You can even choose to buy your seasonal pillows as covers only and then swap out the insert from one you’d be storing for the season anyway. You’re storing and wasting less. Win-win!

What materials do you recommend for family-friendly spaces? For example, are there certain fabrics or textiles that can withstand young kids, pets, etc.?

While it might be tempting to choose synthetic fabrics that wipe clean easily, I think choosing materials without nasty chemicals in them should be the priority. Your kids will be snuggling up with these pieces after all. My choice for families is linen or 100% cotton – both are still washable and spot cleanable with a little dish soap and water.

Thanks, Lauren! You can learn more about Elsie Home and peruse all the gorgeous designs, right here.

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Love what you see? Take a peek at the talent behind the story… Interior Design: Jacquelyn Clark of Lark & Linen · Photography: Will Reid · Location: Toronto

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