Advice from the founder of Mintwood Home, Heloise McKee Mitchell, on picking the right pillow to spruce up your space

When Heloise McKee Mitchell first founded Mintwood Home, an online marketplace for custom pillows and home décor, she wanted to make custom designer pillows that much more accessible. For one, custom pillows are infamously (and prohibitively) costly and take six to eight weeks. (Mintwood cuts down on the impatient nail-biting with three to four weeks production.) And two, a good pile of pillows is just plain the key to a finished room.

We sat down with her to get her insight on just what to look for when pillow shopping. (Plus, nine of her favorites from Mintwood’s collection of more than 100 options!) Here, her seven things to keep in mind when looking to fluff up any sofa.

Use pillows to dial it up.

“Pillows are hands down the greatest accessories in the room,” Mitchell says. “You can have a boring white sofa, add two or four show-stopping pillows to it, and volia—it is now the focal point of the room. Your guest will always look at your pillows!”

Layering is key.

“Start in the back with two 24 inch x 24 inch pillows then two 20 inch x 20 inch pillows, if your sofa has a taller back,” she advises. “If your sofa has a shorter back, start with two 20 inch x 20 inch and then put two 18 inch x 18 inch in front.”

Style bolder patterns in front. 

“That way they are most visible. Statement pieces are there to make a statement, right?”

Go classic for the base.

“If you are having trouble deciding on the larger pillows in the back, you can never go wrong with a solid linen or velvet fabric,” Mitchell says.

Edges: what you need to know.

“Self-welt is always a more finished, classic look. The knife-edge is more modern,” Mitchell says. “It is important to know which goes in your space.”

Go crazy, but not too crazy.

“Don’t crowd the sofa with too many pillows. The purpose of the sofa is to have a place to sit,” Mitchell says. “Some people like to do five pillows—I prefer four (mostly because I am a fan of symmetry). Add smaller accent pillows to chairs.”

Finally, the insert is key.

“When it comes to pillows, my motto is: ‘a bad insert equals a bad pillow.’ Start with a high-quality insert that will stand up to time,” Mitchell asserts. “There is nothing worse than a flat, weak pillow.”

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Now that you have a few guiding principles laid out, check out her favorite looks. From classic to quirky, these are some of Mitchell’s favorite pillows from Mintwood's ever-growing collection: 

1. Nanjing Porcelain: For the classic blue and white look; this Schumacher pattern will never go out of style. From $145.
2. Gramercy Pillow: This is a great pillow for pairing. The geometric print on the front adds textures as well as an energetic look. From $162.
3. Jamil Natural Pillow: Because what room couldn’t use a little leopard? This pillow plays well when mixed with other velvets or solid pillows. From $125. 
4. Betwixt Water and Ivory Pillow: This shade of green is great for a clean, bold look with subtle texture. From $170.
5. Ivory Riad Pillow: This is a great neutral pillow—perfect for pairing with other pillows that make a statement. From $135.  
6. Les Touches Aqua: An oldie but a goodie. This perfect pattern comes in four different colors (all perfect for a sofa!). Bonus: it complements other fabrics beautifully. From $170.
7. Gerbera Green Pillow: In the spirit of this year’s Pantone color, I wanted to share this beautiful green pillow. Who doesn’t love a good floral pillow? They’re making a comeback after all! From $155.
8. Brookhaven Opal: This is a favorite from Sarah Richardson for Kravet. This geometric and feminine pattern is quite eye-catching. From $135.
9. Bedrock Cobalt: This pattern says “fun!” but in a sweet, subtle way. From $145.