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Expert Tips for Pillow Cover Sizing

ALYSSA HILT

One of our most frequently asked questions is what size cover to buy for customer's existing pillows, and the answer is actually much more complicated than you'd think!
Most of us know that a pillow cover should be 2" smaller than the pillow insert to fit snug and have full corners. However there are several other things to consider, such as:

  • Feather insert or Polyfill? Is it a very round thick polyfill pillow, or flat feather pillow (like the ones from IKEA)?
  • Is it a pillow that came with the sofa with a non-removable, thickly piped cover? Is it a dark patterned pillow that will show through a nice bright linen pillow cover?
  • Does the pillow have a gusseted edge?

In general, standard feather pillow inserts can always be used in a cover that is 2" smaller. Ikea feather pillows are an exception: We use a cover that is 3-4" smaller because they are so flat. For example, IKEA's 26x26" feather Euro pillow: we always use a 22x22" pillow cover.

Pillow cover sizing

IKEA 26x26 Feather Pillow in our 22x22" Coral Les Indiennes Pillow Cover

 

Polyfill pillow inserts usually work in a cover that is 2" smaller as well, but keep in mind that if they are very round and/or lumpy, it will be harder to work them into the corners, and harder to get a nice smooth finished look. The other issue with polyfill pillow inserts is that they are not easy to "chop" at the top. You can mimic a chopped look, but it won't hold that shape for very long. The main benefit of a polyfill insert is that it is hypoallergenic. If this is necessary for your family, choose a good quality Faux Down polyfill, so that it will last much longer than a cheap one full of lumps.

Pillows that come with new sofas are a pretty big challenge. They are usually manufactured with leftover upholstery fabrics, sewn with clunky heavy threads, and of course that giant piping around the edge! If they zip off, well hallelujah. Zip that cover off and measure the inner pillow from corner to corner (not diagonally), and use a cover that is 2" smaller. If they don't zip off, cut a small slit in the cover by the piping. look inside and see if it is loose stuffing, or a pillow insert. If it is an insert, cut the cover off and use it. If it is loose stuffing, the best thing to do is to leave the cover on it, and cover the entire thing with a very thick pillow cover. Good covers to use are our Upholstery weight velvet pillow covers, chenille pillow covers, or mudcloth pillow covers. You will need a cover that is the same size, to make sure all of that upholstery bulk fits inside of the cover. 

Upholstery-weight Velvet Pillow Cover

 

Our final topic is Gusseted Pillows. These are fairly rare, we mainly see them on standard and king sized bed pillows. The trouble with them is the 2" edge can show through nice linens, and it is difficult to get them into the corners of the pillow cover properly. 

Gusseted Pillow

Gusseted Pillow 

Again the easiest solution for these is to use a very thick pillow cover, which will help hide the shape. Another option is to have a gusseted cover custom-made for them which will be lovely and unusual, but the additional materials and labor will add to the cost. 

 

Of course if you find yourself facing any of the above issues, feel free to contact us. Send photos so we can be the most helpful in our response. 

Happy Decorating!
Love, 

Annabel Bleu

 


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