Good decorative pillows can cost a fortune, but they really make a huge difference in your decor. If you’re hoping to save a little money in this area, here’s how to make a cheap pillow look expensive.
I’ve been in pillow mode for the past few weeks over here. We got a pair of new sofas a couple of months ago and I had been meaning to get a few pillows to make them look their best and tie into some of the other colors in the room. I really do love the new sofas we got with their beige linen-y fabric and their pillow backs, but I have to admit that they do look so much better with pillows on them. They can look a little sad and unfinished without them. The world of pillow shopping can be pretty overwhelming with all the different colors, patterns, and textures available and it can take some time to decide what direction you want to go with the designs you choose. Then there’s the cost factor. We always talk about how pillows are an inexpensive way to switch up your decor, but they really aren’t. Cheap pillows just look cheap usually, and good ones can really add up quickly if you want to use several around a room. I found a really inexpensive pillow that I thought had potential and I decided to do a little experimenting with it to see if I could make it work. Here are some of the things that I found really elevated it and made it fit right in.
How I Make a Cheap Pillow Look Expensive
Choose Your Pillow Design Carefully
One thing I noticed that has probably caused me to dislike cheap pillows so much in the past is that people often choose the wrong ones when they want to save money on pillows. And those pillows stick out like a sore thumb. Look for pillows in solid, muted colors, or with subtle textures. These will tend to have a more refined look to them than pillows with any kind of a print on them. Prints can be really risky, because it’s really easy for them to look cheap and seem like they should have more depth to them, or like one color is just slightly off. If you’re purchasing online, it can be really hard to tell from a picture. It can even be hard if you’re buying the patterned pillow in person because you might think it seems fine in the store and then bring it home and realize it’s all wrong.
Use a Down or Faux Down Pillow Insert
If you’re buying a whole pillow and not just a pillow cover, the insert is probably not going to be the best. Make sure that the pillow cover is removable so that you can switch the inserts out. You’ve got to have that coveted pillow chop! A good set of pillow inserts in standard sizes will last you a lifetime and you can switch out your covers over and over again, so it’s worth the investment to buy them separately. The faux down inserts they have now are amazing and are great if you have allergy concerns. They “chop” just like a down pillow and they look exactly the same once they’re in the pillow. I do love traditional down too and most of my inserts are real down just because once you own them, they don’t ever really need to be replaced, so I’ve had them for years. I have some faux down ones too though and I love them as well.
Pair Them With Higher Quality Pillows
This is a situation where a good high/low mix really does the trick. Attention to detail really makes a difference in pillows and the higher quality ones really are much nicer. Your eye really notices the subtle differences right away. Things like really crisp, straight seams and zippers, heavier fabrics with a smoother weave, more uniform dimensions, these are the things that just make a pillow (or anything really) look good, even if you can’t quite put your finger on it. But if you have a mix of about 50% higher quality pillows and 50% cheapo pillows, your eye kind of glosses over the imperfections and assumes all the pillows fit into the same standard of fanciness. 🙂
Right now I have a mix of really nice pillows that were a bit of an investment, one cheapo pillow that follows the previous rules, and one pillow that I sewed myself years ago using a decent fabric I found that I loved that just pairs perfectly with the blue in my new rug, so I brought it out.
So those are my little suggestions if you’re looking to save a bit of money on pillows without sacrificing on style. What tricks would you add to these ideas for how to make a cheap pillow look expensive?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.