Pillows are more important than you think

  • The pillows you decide to choose will impact the look and feel of your room.

    The pillows you decide to choose will impact the look and feel of your room. Andy Frame Photography/Creators Syndicate

By Joseph Pubillones
Posted4/11/2021 7:01 AM

Editor's note: Joseph Pubillones is taking some time off. This column originally published in 2017.

Most men shriek when they hear their wives guffaw over the pillows at so and so's house. Pillows can drive one crazy … because there is so much that can be done with decorative pillows.


These accessories are the final touch to any sofa, club chair or chaise lounge. Decorative pillows made from beautifully woven fabrics and trimmed with beautifully tailored details can make a nondescript blah sofa or chair more interesting. Adding layers of pillows establishes the tone of the decor. Pillows can be bought ready-made at certain department stores or can be "custom made" or "made-to-order" with you own fabrics to play off your decor.

The style of pillows you decide to choose will affect the style of your room. Contemporary pillows are usually simple in geometry and may have what is called in the industry a simple knife-edge or self welting as the edge of a pillow. These are simple edges with no trim or cording. A way to bring interest to the pillows is to choose either textured fabrics or boldly colored fabrics that can add that pop-factor to the contemporary interiors.

Pillows to complement traditional decor are in a category onto themselves. Traditional or vintage can mean a lot of things. From vintage fabrics, antique tapestries, silk and velvets exude an air of sophistication and tradition. Crafted items such as needlepoints, lace, medallions, cords and tassels can edge your pillows. Also Turkish corners, edges or ruffles lend an old world appeal.

Of course pillows can be expensive. All the elements of a pillow are variables in the cost: fabric, type of fills that vary from synthetic to feather or down, anti-allergenic and even mold-resistant outdoor fill, trims and labor. Custom pillows can go into the hundreds of dollars, even more so when layering two, four or six pillows per sofa.

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I'm a bit extravagant when it comes to buying fabrics, but sometimes you need a punch of luxury. Sometimes it pays to splurge on one item, and throw all you can at it. A way to bring cost down and also have flexibility in decor is two mix and match the fabrics. A feature or more expensive fabric for the front, and a contrasting less expensive fabric for the backside of the pillow.

Some see decorative pillows as an unnecessary burden, but realize that pillows are important. They are there to add comfort to your existing upholstered items and your guests, which may need more or less back support. In addition, the pillows add a decorative layer to your project that can say you have left no detail left to chance.

For those who may want to take the ready-made route, a word of advice is not to buy all your pillows from the same store. Mixing and matching pillows from different resources will give your sofa a more personal touch. Generally, this is a more cost conscious approach.

I also advise to buy a variety of sizes of pillows: a pair of large pillows, maybe another pair of smaller square pillows, and an odd sized or lumbar pillow for the mix.

• Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida.

© 2021, Creators Syndicate

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