My Favorite Pillow Hack

As you well know, I like pillows. Always have, always will.

My personal decorating preference is to layer neutral foundation pieces (like a couch or chair) with color and texture (pillows) that can be changed with the season or replaced when trends change (for much less than the cost of replacing a dated couch). The power of a few pillows to add comfort and style can not be underestimated.

One thing I am picky about, though, is what’s inside the pillow. There is just something more comfortable, durable, squishy and fluffable about a down insert. They make a pillow stand up nicer and feel fancier than a poly-fill insert.

Oftentimes, more expensive pillows are sewn with an invisible zipper. You either buy the pillow just as the cover and add an insert, or it comes already with a down insert included.

But I don’t always feel like spending a bunch of money on a pillow that may or may not last around here for years and years.

Most pillows at Target, for example, do not have zippers and come filled with poly-fill. The convenience, on-trend styles and price are often compelling enough for me to bring one (or twelve) of these pillows home. But since I don’t love the feel of poly-filled pillows, I do a little hack that only takes about 20 minutes and makes my pillows feel much fancier than they really are.

One of my favorite pillows is this sweet Noel pillow I found years ago at Target. It comes out year after year and I love it every time.





When I pulled it out to use for this year’s Christmas decorating, I noticed that it needed my pillow-hacking treatment. So with a Hallmark Christmas movie on, I did a little makeover and now it is feeling much fancier.

Here’s what I do:

Carefully cut open the seam at the bottom of the pillow (where it has been stitched closed after it was filled). Then remove all the fill. This pillow had extra batting sewn into the corners so I trimmed that out as well.

I happened to have a down insert the right size (because I have a pillow problem, remember?!) and stuffed it in. 

Then, use a slipstitch to hand-sew the pillow back together (this video shows how to do the stitch). Mine does not look perfect – partially because I don’t worry too much about perfection when it comes to the bottom of pillows, but also because the material is sort of a sweater knit and that is hard to avoid puckering. I’ve done lots of other pillows and they look a little better.

And, ta da! It’s done.

If I were wanting to do this right, I would add an invisible zipper to make removing the pillow cover more convenient.  But I don’t actually know how to sew a zipper, so this hand-stitch option works great for me! When I’m ready to remove the cover for washing or switching out, I just cut the stitches.

It’s a simple upgrade that makes every pillow feel better!

My go-to sources for down inserts:

IKEA has two sizes that are inexpensive and great.

Potterybarn, West Elm + Rejuvenation often have sales on their inserts.

I have been known to buy a clearance pillow from HomeGoods just for the down insert.

Happy pillow upgrading!

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