Different Types of Pillows


Decorative pillows do more than just sit on the couch or bed. They provide texture, pattern and a shot of color, and you can use them to tie your room's decorating theme together. Bed pillows do more than just lie on the bed; they help provide a restful night's sleep.

Decorative Pillows

The most common decorative pillow is the throw pillow, a versatile pillow that can be any size or shape. The knife edge, another common pillow, is distinguished by its side seams that end in four sharp corners. Other decorative pillows include:

  • A flanged pillow has fabric, about 2 or more inches,
    along its side seams.
  • An embellished pillow has
    trim, such as fringes or beading, or adornments sewn onto the pillow, such as buttons or embroidery.

  • A **b****ox-edged** pillow has piping, either in contrasting or complementary colors, along its [square edges](http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/decorating/throw-pillow-styles).
  • A p**iped** pillow's edges, as its name implies, with piping.
  • A bolster pillow is the long, tube-shaped pillow often used on daybeds and usually adorned with piping on its ends or with ties and buttons. 
  • A cushion is used for seating. Both chair pads
    and floor pillows are considered cushions.


  • When buying a pillow cover for a plain pillow insert, confirm that the cover is an inch smaller on all sides so that it will completely fill the pillow insert.

Bed Pillows

Bed pillows come in four different sizes:

  • European: 26-by-26-inches
  • King: 20-by-36-inches
  • Queen: 19-by-30-inches
  • Standard: 19-by-26-inches

Know Your Stuff

Bed pillows may come in only four sizes, but you'll find many different varieties.

  • Feather and down pillows are easy to
    fluff back into shape, but they aren't recommended for those with
    allergies or people who sleep on their sides or stomachs. 
  • Synthetic pillows are favored by allergy sufferers and by those who tend to
    sleep in almost every position throughout the night. 


  • Use your best judgment when purchasing synthetic pillows. They are inexpensive and easy to find, but they tend not to last more than one year.

  • Latex and
    memory foam pillows conform to your head and neck, but they aren't easy
    to adjust after the fact. 
  • Micro-bead pillows
    are light yet offer support
    for those with shoulder or neck pain. 


  • Both micro-bead and latex pillows have a certain amount of odor, especially when new.

  • Buckwheat and
    water pillows are easy to mold
    and offer adequate support, but both can be noisy and heavy.

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