Pillow talk: Black-and-white graphic designs make a bold statement

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

The Marimekko Tiiliskivi black/white throw pillow, $50, can be ordered from Always Mod

Scandinavian design prioritizes simplicity, utility and clean lines — all of which are captured in Ikea’s popular Stockholm cushion. Featuring a monochrome pattern in a soft cotton-velvet blend, the throw pillow is not only versatile, but it also sells for just $14.99 (currently available at select Ikea stores), which helps explain its ubiquity. Plus, a graphic accent in the form of a pillow or throw can really make furniture pop.

Want to go your own route? Plenty of other options exist. Here, we toss out four more pillow ideas, plus one wacky "bonus" suggestion: A cushion that doubles as a back massager because — why not?

Grid knit black throw pillow, $65 at Unison

Unison specializes in practical bedding and housewares for contemporary spaces. With its bold black squares and thin white lines, this graphic throw pillow — made of 80 percent U.S.-grown cotton and 20 percent acrylic — modernizes any interior. It’s likely to last longer than an Ikea cushion, and there’s something very awesomely ’80s about the grid pattern. www.unisonhome.com

Prim 18-inch pillow, $34.95 at CB2

Created by Brooklyn-based designer Aelfie Oudghiri and available exclusively from CB2, this 100 percent cotton pillow offers some options. One side features a geometric grid pattern — flocked black lines and thin white rectangles — but flip it over, and the other side is solid white. For the pillow insert, choose plush feather down or a down alternative (100 percent polyester fill). www.cb2.com

Zardozi Kandhari pillow, $49 (marked down from $95) at ABC Carpet & Home

For something a bit more sophisticated, this handcrafted cotton pillow — created in collaboration with Zardozi, a nongovernmental organization that helps thousands of impoverished Afghan women earn a living — features an intricate embroidering technique known as Khamak. One side of the pillow is decorated — designs inspired by repeating patterns in nature — while the other side is solid beige. www.abchome.com

Marimekko Tiiliskivi black-and-white throw pillow, $50 at Always Mod,

This 100 percent cotton, mod-looking pillow features fabric from Marimekko, the famous Finnish company, and was designed by Marimekko founder Armi Ratia. The spacing of the white lines over a deep black backdrop lends uniqueness to the grid pattern. www.alwaysmod.com

Classic M Cushion, $119.99 at M Cushion

When news of this particular pillow landed in our lap, we simply had to include it. The M Cushion is less about fashion and more about a secret function (the kind of item that makes you miss SkyMall). The monochromatic Greek key pattern — one of several available covers designed by Jay Godfrey — isn’t bad, but the real draw is the cushion’s ability to provide a heated shiatsu massage. (Bidirectional massage heads are tucked inside the pillow.) Just plug it in for 20 minutes, and press a discreet button to operate. www.mcushion.com