statement pillow DIY

The Statement Pillow – What does your decor say…

One of my design heroes is Coco Chanel. She was an underdog, an orphaned child who became an early, rare female entrepreneur, creating clothing that let “liberated” women express themselves, finally uncorsetted. She had many memorable quotes, but the one that lives on my inspiration board is: “An interior is the natural projection of the soul.”


As a trimmings designer and design writer, I’m always looking for what is trending in fashion and home design to inform my work. What fascinates me most in this process is digging to find the origins of the trend. Just as Coco’s drop-waist dress was created in reaction to the cultural zeitgeist, all trends are birthed by something current.

The Maximalism trend afoot is described by Julie Lasky in The Wall Street Journal as, “a layered décor style packed with delightfully disparate elements.” She says, “Maximalist spaces reflect their occupants’ travels, pasts, and quirks,” something Chanel understood a half a century ago; decorating is a form of self-expression.

Kelly Wearstler embraces this blow-out esthetic of leaving no surface unembellished. Her dramatic interiors are a rich, ebullient mix weaving vintage and modern seamlessly.

Layering is next to godliness, it’s all about creating spaces that feel well loved and accumulated over time. Fresh, and yet always rooted in tradition. The master bedroom at our House of Bedlam in High Point, North Carolina perfectly fulfills this mission statement.     – Jason Oliver Nixon, Madcap Cottage

Not that I scooped the WSJ, but one of my most recent articles for Vision Magazine spoke to this design tendency on the rise. “There isn’t much subtlety here (Maximalism) because in the age of social media sharing, these graphic patterns, colors and over-scaled embellishments, are photogenic. The Maximalism trend relates who we are, what we want to show the world, literally, in pictures.” click to read article

statement pillow

It is an interior designer’s job to interpret their clients’ taste, personality, lifestyle and even values, and apply that interpretation to the design of their home. And whether a consumer realizes it or not, the décor of their interior reflects all these characteristics.

statement pillow
Playing with materials for a trimmings collection.

My job when designing a trimmings collection is similar; I take a theme — say Belle Epoque, for example — and interpret its essence into narrow textiles, a woven cord, a gimp, fringes, a jacquard and/or an embroidered tape. These eventually become the tools that people use to layer into their pillows, upholstery, and window treatments to convey their personal story.

The easiest way to add your soul to your décor is by adding embellished statement pillow, whether they are purchased, custom-made, or DIY, to your living room and bedrooms. I call this DIY process of embellishing with trimmings, Trim Alchemy — the transformation of the ordinary into the extraordinary using trims. What is it that you want your décor to say about you?


Are you a bohemian jet-setter who loves traveling to exotic locales? If that’s you, add jute fringe and ethnic banding to your pillow. If you’re a connoisseur of the arts and a history buff, then add a Greek Key or a Fret Tape as the pillow’s gusset. Do you appreciate all things handmade?  Add an over-scaled passementerie to your sofa pillow, or a Czech glass button perhaps. Pillows, grouped together, can begin to express the complex story of who you are.  Have you heard of the statement necklace? Well, pillows speak volumes too.

Mary Jane McCarty is a vintage textile expert and couture pillow & lampshade designer.  Her Fortuny cushions caught my eye on Instagram (MUST FOLLOW) and I was curious about her personal interior.  She gifted me with the voyeuristic photo below of her dressing room. What does it say about her?   She has a connoisseur’s taste with a whimsical side! We are Instagram pals but in the not too distant future, our passions will have our paths crossing in real life.

Beth Lacefiled, of Lacefield Designs, is a designer that follows her curiosity.  Her varied interests may take her traveling for inspiration or to study new subjects or fabrication techniques.  She’s an award winning designer also gregarious and approachable, and her sofa reflects this!

Beth’s styling tips are:


add details,

and alway be comfortable”.

 Yes Mme. Chanel, my interior is a projection of my soul; a lover of artisans, part fashionista, and a designer not mired in tradition, but rather inspired by it.

Look around.  What does your interior say about you? I’d love to hear in the comments below.  Until next time, keep #trimspotting so I can share your creativity!


  • [email protected]

    I never thought to add trim to a store bought pillow. Duh! Good idea. Which reminds me, my mother always added trim to her sheets and towels. I’m going to go get some trim and make my home more "me" and more beautiful. Thanks!

    1. [email protected]

      Linda, thanks for reading. That is so wonderful your mom took the time to embellish. I think it’s so important in this busy busy daily life we take a moment to express ourselves and add our small touches to things to give soul to our homes. Share your creativity if you do it, I’d love to see! xJana

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