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Pillow Talk

One of Canada’s top design/fashion experts., Tamara Robbins Griffith gives good tips.

Tamara Robbins Griffith (TRG) has been giving me reliably good décor advice for more than a decade now. If you ever watched her on CityLIne,  you can probably say the same thing.  She’s a fount of knowledge, and she’s always happy to share.

Most recently, she didn’t disappoint when I asked her how to refresh a chair I love and use every single day.

Found on the  sale floor at Barrymore’s showroom 15 years ago, I loved the colour and the comfort of it, and still do. The Man of the House (MOTH) loves the big rolled arms and the deep seat. And with its ottoman, it’s perfectly sized for me to nap in. It’s given me tremendously good value.

Maybe one day I’ll have it recovered, the arms made slimmer, or the feet changed. But probably not, if I’m honest. It’s chair enough for MOTH and me, and doesn’t seem worth the expenditure of resources, frankly.

But during a recent visit to the showroom for HomeSense,  where TRG heads up the media and design department, I confessed I wasn’t averse to a tweak.

TRG suggested that pillows might be my first, easiest, and most affordable  line of defence.

How to choose? Look at the room colours obviously, she says, but also think about which colours and images I’d recently found engaging or interesting.

Champage bottle with vintage candle holders and candles in a cottage setting.

Here’s my inspo pic. I joke (sort of) that’s it’s a shrine to my late mother.

It was a great tip. I have found myself looking at darker pinks and reds, warm golds, and bottle and fir greens. Also find myself mesmerized by the grey, black and brown of winter woods.

Touring the showroom, we grabbed a big pile of cushions I liked.

Taking pillows home to try on was another great pointer from TRG. Naturally that’s easier if you shop at retailers with good return policies, such as HomeSense.  It’s also easier to judge colour, size, and comfort when the pillows are used on the furniture they’re intended for.

GRey hide pillow on graphic carpet tile floor.

Also really liking textures and green with gray, which is what drew me to this pillow.

If you do, though, here’s a plea: keep the tags on until you’re 100 per cent sure you’re keeping the pillow. Store them in the bags they came in (with receipts) to make it easy to run back to the store, where they can be resold faster, which will reduce waste.

At home, I found that taking the chubby back pillow off the chair reduced its bulk. Replacing it with a well-sized pillow refreshed the corner and still delivered comfort. Here’s my pillow talk/tour.

NOTE: HomeSense loaned me the pillows for the pictures (I promise I will return them!), but did not review this article.

A gold and brown billow on a red chair with an antique lamp anf Keith Haring print in a gold frame.

My least favourite of the three, although its shimmer works with the brassy gold on the lamp.


Graphic hide pillow in grets and browns in traditional red chair with antique lamp and table, vintage art and burlap drapes.

Very much dig the texture of this hide pillow, the strong lines, and the hint of green.


Gold graphic pillow on red chair in mid century home with vintage lamp and table, Keith Haring art and burlap drapes.

Hello sunshine! This one is the winner for me. See the pic below for what unexpectedly cinched my choice.

Mid century modern occassional chair in home office with art and family photo wall, ferns in planters

The graphic gold pillow is reversible. Look what happened when I tossed the other side on my office chair. Bonus.







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