The Inside Scoop on Decorative Pillows: Down, Down Alternative & Polyester Fills Explained

One could argue that the most important aspect of a decorative pillow is how it looks and fits with your decor. The right pillow can give a room that “finished” feel we see on blogs and in magazines, while a lumpy, dirty pillow can make a room feel dumpy and outdated.

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                      via Pottery Barn

While design, color and texture are important, the fill of a pillow is equally, if not more important for the long-term look of your throw pillows. There are 3 general categories of pillow inserts: down, down alternative, and polyester, each with different looks, durability and price points.

Down: The preferred choice of home decor professionals, down pillows are generally considered to be a high-end, luxury accent. While generally much more expensive than polyester versions, down pillows are the most durable, easily retaining their shape and loft, with only periodic fluffing needed. Most decorative pillows that contain down filling usually have zippers so you can remove the cover for laundering. It also allows you to buy additional covers to change up the look.

Down Alternative: Recognized for it’s down feel but polyester price-point, this synthetic pillow insert is the best of both feel and price. Synthetic fiber technology has developed rapidly, and these pillows feel very similar to the right thing. Some of the heavier weighted versions even maintain a “karate chop” shape, fooling most people into believing they’re the real thing. They’re hypoallergenic, and a good option for those who like down but have an allergy.

Polyester: The least expensive option, these pillows are generally found at mass retailers. They’re cheap and disposable, but after repeated use, become unsightly and lumpy. Polyester fill also makes for a hygienic outdoor pillow, as it doesn’t retain moisture and mildew like a down fill might.

What is your favorite throw pillow insert? Here at Affluence Home, we favor down, but certainly use synthetic pillows for certain applications. What about you?

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