The right insert or filler is essential to a great looking decorative pillow. In short, we recommend feather down inserts that are 2" larger than the cover and have a ratio of 90% feathers and 10% down. Read on to learn more.
What size insert should I get for my pillow cover?
- We generally recommend using inserts that are 2" larger all around than your finished pillow size. For example if you have an 18x18 pillow cover, you'll want to use a 20x20 insert. This will ensure that your pillow looks plump and luxurious. If the insert is too small, the pillow cover will look saggy. The exceptions to this rule:
- pillows smaller than 18x18 and most lumbars- these work best with inserts that are 1" larger (instead of 2" larger)
- extra large pillows (24x24 and larger)- these will also work well with inserts that are 3" to 4" larger than the cover
- extra dense inserts - this is rare - they're usually not dense enough, however sometimes small rectangular inserts (such as 10x18) are full enough to use with covers of the same size (for example a 10x18 insert for a 10x18 cover)
- see our Insert Size Guide for size specific recommendations
What fill type should I get?
We recommend going with feather down inserts. Feathers provide firmness, weight, body and support, while down provides softness and comfort.
What feather/down ratio should I choose?
A higher percentage of down tends to be considered more luxurious, however depending on the use of the pillow, you'll want to be careful not to go too high on the down percentage as it will make it too soft and unsupportive. The ideal ratio for decorative pillows is 10%-25% down and 90%-75% feathers - not too firm and not too soft.
Below is a summary of the pros and cons of the various ratios:
- 95% feather / 5% down (95/5)
- lowest priced feather down blend option
- firm density
- due to the small percentage of down, some people may find it to be too stiff
- due to the majority of the fill being feathers, can sometimes be too prickly since the quills are more likely to poke out
- good if the pillow is just for looks and/or you like firm pillows
- 90% feather / 10% down (90/10)
- an ideal feather down ratio for decorative throw pillows
- not too soft and not too firm - provides support and flexibility
- softer than 95/5 inserts, firmer than 75/25 inserts
- 75% feather / 25% down (75/25)
- another ideal ratio for decorative throw pillows
- softer than the 90/10 pillows and usually higher priced due to higher percentage of down
- 50% feather / 50% down (50/50)
- soft-density and lightweight
- comfortable, however doesn't provide as much support as inserts with a higher percentage of feathers
- if used for decorative pillows, will require constant fluffing to keep it from looking flat
- better suited for pillows that are used for sleeping
What kind of insert should I get if I want to "karate chop" my pillows?
- Feather down pillow fillers will hold a chop.
Why are some inserts pricier than others?
- The majority of inserts you'll see available for sale are 95% feather and 5% down and these will be lower priced because the cost of feathers is lower than the cost of down. As the percentage of down increases, so will the price of the insert.
What if I'm allergic to down or feathers?
- If allergies are a concern, good quality alternative down inserts that mimic the softness of down are the next best thing.
For a quick tutorial on how to easily get your insert into your pillow cover, watch our Instagram story
If link doesn't work on your mobile device, go to our Instagram profile @arianna_belle and tap on Quick Tips.
This post is part of our Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing Pillows.