Bergeron's own couch and throw pillows were featured in the May 2019 issue. Photo by Melissa Oivanki.

Designer tip: Dan Bergeron on the art of throw pillows

An easy way to revamp any living space? Throw pillows. Whether it’s the living room, family room or bedroom, pillows are one of the easiest ways to add a touch of personality and style to a room. However, there are a million different styles, sizes, textures and prints to choose from. To master the art of throw pillows, we spoke with Dan Bergeron of McMillin Interiors.

“I like to keep pillow styles classic and transitional, but if the room allows, go more bold and unexpected,” Bergeron says. “Pillows can be so easily changed in the future, but they should always be seen as one of the jewels of a space.”

Photo courtesy McMillin Interiors.

A simple solution to spice up sofa pillows? Layering. The ingredients of the perfect layering combination are pillows with textures and patterns. Bergeron’s go-to technique is combining large, open-scale patterns with more geometric and linear designs that are complementary in color.

When it comes to coordinating a pillow fabric scheme, he suggests using a multicolor fabric (embroidery, floral, ikat, etc.) as a color base to source complementary pillows. Use one or two patterned fabrics as the stars of the design, then add more toned-down fabrics to complement.

What not to combine: muddy colors with true colors or pillows with similarly scaled patterns. He also says to stay away from patterns that appear washed out from a distance, unless the overall feel of the room is more solid and tonal.

“I always try to achieve an eclectic and unexpected look when it comes to throw pillows, as they can contribute the most to completing the overall design and color scheme,” he says.

To immediately elevate a space and add some spark, Bergeron uses one of his favorite throw pillow fabrics: cut velvet. Another favorite throw pillow fabric is a geometric embroidery for its richness in texture.

Currently trending in the world of throw pillows are solid pillows–whether velvet or linen–with a decorative trim box banding. These pillows add color without having to commit to a graphic design and they are easy to coordinate with when adding future pillows to the space, Bergeron says. 

“I like to make sure there is a balance of pattern and solid tones in the room to avoid the risk of patterns and colors competing with each other, and not allowing your eye to focus on anything in particular,” Bergeron says.

Take a look inside Bergeron’s own home in this story from the inRegister archives. For more about McMillin Interiors, check out