A few years ago I discovered something I was doing “wrong” with my throw pillows, and correcting this has totally changed my life. That is, it’s changed my throw pillows (#PillowLife) and since throw pillows are life, there you have it.
Looking through magazines or interior design shoots, I noticed the pillows in the photos sat upright on sofas – they looked different than mine, like they had just the right amount of fill. Their toss pillows kept that slight karate chop and the shape was full but pliable. Meanwhile, most of my pillows (straight off the Target or Home Goods shelf) were overfilled when I first grabbed them and quickly became lumpy and shapeless, sadly slumped over on the sofa. Or sometimes they stayed SUPER filled, with lumps, and a karate chop wouldn’t make a dent because it was always in one fat lumpy position.
I still think Target’s pillows are cute, I mean let’s not be extreme here. And OBVIOUSLY they still find their way into my cart, but not nearly as often. And here is why:
Big box store throw pillows are usually filled with polyester, and after a while my untrained eye started noticing there is a huge difference when you are looking at pillows stuffed full of cheap polyester, than a pillow stuffed with down, feather, or a combo between the two!
Poly pillows don’t have that lux look, and it’s so extreme that I would prefer one expensive down filled pillow that I can karate chop on my sofa, than 3 or 4 poly filled pillows that cheapen the whole room.
As cute as they are in the store, I wasn’t fooling anyone with my cheap pillows slumped on my sofa. And yes all that matters is if I love them, but when you switch over to down or feather pillows you will see (and feel) the difference, and then you won’t be able to un-see it.
It’s expensive. I like to buy pillow covers, and then the down inserts separately. Pillow covers start around $50 and go up from there quickly. The inserts are around the same, depending largely on what size. But sometimes you can find pillows with down inserts in Home Goods- you can buy the pillow if it’s the right size you need, and donate the old cover!
It’s a whole new situation than when I was tossing 2 plaid pillows in the cart with the groceries without a second thought. I usually check in with Jose if I’m going to be buying a few pillow covers at a time.
And it’s better this way, because you will buy less of them (a good thing, I promise!). You will be more thoughtful and intentional with which pillows earn the right to be on your sofa, and this will make you love them more. Quality > quantity. You will start owning the same throw pillow for years, and they will still hold their shape and still look new.
I like pillow covers with high performance fabrics so I can unzip the cover off and wash it in the sink. (My kids always play that “the ground is lava” game and step on them).
And as far as sizes, I like a big 24” pillow in the back, a smaller 18” in the front, and a lumbar. Always an easy combo. Or stick with squares and do 3 different sizes- small, medium, large.
Below are my favorite places to find pillow covers. Eleven different shops, with various price ranges.
One Affirmation / 2. Danielle Oakey Shop / 3. McGee & Co / 4. Collyer’s Mansion / 5. Lulu & Georgia / 6. Pottery Barn / 7. Serena & Lily / 8. Cloth and Main / 9. Tonic Living / 10. Juniper Home (lumbars!) / 11. The Citizenry
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