The Throw Pillow. Why do we buy them?
I mean, does anyone actually use them? Apart from my mum on the odd occasion she visits and stuffs one behind the small of her back in a very uncomfortable looking manner. (Hi Mum!)
I’m not convinced they actually do anything and are more a psychological crutch. The promise of comfort, but not the reality. The lounging equivalent of the sugar-pill.
And yet, I feel these ‘placebo’ cushions are a must in my home. I’ve never not had them. In fact, over the years they’ve seemed to multiply. But what purpose do they actually serve? Other than save my lap from overheating when binge-watching youtube makeup tutorials on my laptop (obviously).
This has got me thinking, do we buy them to use them? Or to look at them?
My nephew once visited my house and asked his mum ‘are we at Ikea?’
I’m not sure if it says more about my house or about how much time this kid has spent at Ikea that he, a child of 4 at the time, could recognise all the furniture.
My house is mostly filled with Ikea, the only pieces of furniture that aren’t are the ones with sentimental value. The wrought iron cheval mirror my Dad made me. The 1960-something pea-green vinyl recliner that belonged to my mother’s grandfather (pictured above). My own grandfather’s swivel office chair also from the 60s that he used to spin me around and around in and which I now work from every day (at an Ikea desk!). These were the things that were worth the trouble to preserve during the 23 times I’ve moved house in my 33 years of living.
Because I’m a renter.
If you follow me on instagram you’ll know all that is about to change, and all the posters and amazing wall art that Mr Spender and I have been hoarding for years can finally come out and be displayed on actual walls that we own.
And therein lies the purpose of the Throw Pillow.
At least, in my house. Its the much needed injection of personality into a house filled with cookie-cutter Ikea furniture and pristinely hook-free walls. They are the highly transportable, storable, temporary and easily changeable medium for self expression inside the house I don’t own.
So yes, I do buy cushions for the sole purpose of looking at them. And I’m ok with that. They are supremely useful as a decorator item when impermanence is the name of the game.
If you’re going to pimp out your couch in lieu of your walls, do it properly. Make them over stuffed. Make them bright and eclectic. Make them numerous. But don’t make them generic. (Can we please take a minute to appreciate that my rented walls are both beige in colour and personality? So fitting. I would never choose that colour myself.)
My cushion cover here is the That-A-Way Throw Pillow Indoor Cover 18″ x 18″ from Anna Dorfman’s Society6 store, K is For Black. We all know by now that I’m a fan-girl. If thats news to you, then you can read more of my enthusing here.
I chose to get the cover without the insert because I prefer a feather filled cushion and you can get the inserts at Ikea (surprise!) in exactly the right size. It makes your cushions puff their chests out like parading pigeons lined up on your couch, but they’re still able to collapse nicely when your mother and her throw pillow squashing habit visits you.
Pro Tip: a little visual merchandising trick I learnt while serving my time in the homewares dept of a certain Australian department store, is to buy your inserts a tiny bit bigger than your cushions. That way they look really plump and luscious rather than stingy and deflated. If we’re buying them to admire, then appearances are everything. This works for ‘display’ pillows on your bed too, but I’m way too practical (and lazy) to bother with those.
The Society6 Throw Pillow
What you see, is exactly what you get. With the print on both sides and an invisible zip closure. There are seemingly endless designs to choose from. Nothing generic here.
The fabric is 100% polyester. If these were sheets, that would bother me. But in a cushion its kind of useful. It means they won’t shrink when you wash them and they’re also crease resistant.
The poly is also part of the design – it allows for digital/photographic prints that transfer the exact image when heat is applied via a press. That means anything is possible in terms of surface design – not just limited to block colours and screen printing. Plus, the printed surface is smooth and still fabric-y instead of stiff with thick layers of screen print style fabric paint that will eventually crack. (I knew studying textile design would eventually pay off!)
And the cushions are made in the USA which I’m taking as a sign they’re sweatshop-free.
I’m obsessed. I already have a rectangular pillow designed by Regina Rivas Bigordá on its way. I got it with the cushion insert this time (Ikea don’t make a feather one the right size) so I’ll be sure to post about that when it comes. Interested to know how they post a whole cushion.
If you’re interested in a little rental refresh then you can check out some of my favourite throw pillow designs from Society6 here. The 18″ x 18″ Indoor Throws are $23US without the pillow insert or $30US with the insert. If you prefer feather inserts like I do, the FJÄDRAR insert from Ikea is $10US and the right size for the 18″ pillow covers.
This is not a sponsored post (nor are any of my Society6/K Is For Black posts to date) but it does contain affiliate links.