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After the paint has dried, the floors are finished, and the main furniture items have been placed, comes the moment when the final touches to a room are then added. This can mean the artwork, books, vases, plants, decorative plates, fresh flowers, throws and  last, but not least, the PILLOWS. Pillows are one of the best investments you can make when finishing a room. They are like the earrings on the woman with the ball gown. They can bring an entire room “together.”

1-1-Throw-Pillows-PinterestOversized they command attention and create a visual color palette.

creative-throw-pillow-designs-1They can add both extra comfort, visual interest and texture to a space.

MinimalThey can be minimal with a small detail such as these embroidered pillows.

over the topOr over the top with high impact, questionable functionality but big on style like these flower pillows.

In betweenThey can also be somewhere in between, adding just enough visual pop and needed comfort.

The key is to pick the right size, fill, design and of course the right fabric to bring out the extra quality you are looking for in a room. These design details are what can make a pillow somewhat expensive compared to what you would find off the shelf at a big box design store, so let’s get down to the details of pillow sourcing and see how these things can add up.

Size: Standard squares (about 18 inches) nest neatly on sofas with typical dimensions. Oversize pillows (24 inches) create a more casual, loungey feel. If you have a modern sofa with a very low back, consider 16 inches. The lumbar pillow is the answer if you have a sofa with a sharp angle from the seat to the back. Lumbar pillows can mean the difference between comfort and discomfort on some sofas and chairs. If you need a specific size this has to be taken into consideration and these dimensions will be custom quoted by a reputable fabrication house. They will sometimes need to make a special pattern if the pillow is a size they don’t normally make. This can bring the cost of a pillow up.

Fill: A feather-and-down fill has more squish, and it’s also the priciest.The fill can be a blend of feathers or down all the way from 5% down / 95% feathers to 90% down / 10% feathers. The general rule of thumb is that the more down, the softer the pillow. A pillow with a 10/90 fill is 10% down and 90% feathers – this type of pillow is firm with a bit of give (This pillow is less expensive due to the lower down quantity). The 50/50 pillow likewise has 50% down and 50% feathers and is softer then the 10/90 pillow. Some consumers find that the 50/50 product is firm enough for support and soft enough for comfort. Another thing to consider with down is that the cover you have on the down filler is very important. A thread count of 230 or higher means that the pillow is “down proof” (a measure of air permeability), but often lower thread count pillows are specially treated with starch sizing to prevent feather and down leakage. You just want to make sure you’re not being poked by feather ends. You can also use a less expensive foam and other synthetic fills but while they may hold their shape, they look less lush and are stiffer. However, if the pillow needs to be in a high humidity area or will need to be washed frequently, synthetic fill is the way to go.

Design: 

Here are some basic design details for the edging on a pillow.

There are countless variations on this these basic designs and the custom design that an interior designer can create for their clients can mean the difference between an ok pillow and an amazing pillow.

Fabric: Now it gets REALLY interesting. As you know there are thousands of fabrics to choose from and picking the “right” fabric meaning the one that has that certain something that brings the room together, is a real art. We are trained in our industry to look at not only the appropriateness of a fabric meaning, its ability to withstand the elements that it will be subjected too, but also to its suitability to the room itself. Does it distract? Does it speak to the language of the room? Are the colors working with the ones around it. Does it bring out another color in the room that you were hoping to emphasize? Is it the earrings that really bring that ball gown to life?

These fabrics can be expensive which will be one of the main reasons for the cost of a pillow.  However we will usually only be using a small quantity of it. The quality of a fabric can make a budget sofa or chair suddenly look as if it came from custom design house.

Custom look

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 3.46.34 PMWhile this business of fluff can be time consuming and sometimes more expensive than the pillows that are off the shelf, the value-add that they can bring to a room is worth every penny.

Photos courtesy of journeys of mangonett.blogspot.com, interiorholic.com, pinterest, laurenliess.com, horchow.com, realsimple.com

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