Ask LH: How Many Pillows is Too Many?

Ask LH: How Many Pillows is Too Many?
Image: Getty

It’s no secret that our bedrooms are our sanctuaries. Our little islands of bliss where all worries seem to dissipate the minute you slide into bed and rest your head on your pillow. But when it comes to decorating your island of bliss, how many pillows should you have on your bed?

Something I’ve come to realise of late is how passionate people get about their pillows arrangements. I’ve also come to notice how much of a sacred ritual making your bed and organising all the pillows can be for some.

Where do we draw the line, though? Have any of you ever wondered, “Perhaps I have too many” as you put your eighth or ninth decorative pillow on your bed?

Obviously, people have different preferences in comfort and style so it’s hard to judge how some of you choose to decorate your beds. …But I’m going to do just that.

As per usual, I have very strong opinions about unnecessary things and I love to get people heated up about said useless opinions.

So, welcome to this week’s Ask Lifehacker, where we jump into the wonderful and wild world of pillows.

The different types of pillow systems

No two bedrooms are the same. And no two bed pillow arrangements are the same, either.

Everyone has their own unique system for how they organise their pillows. It’s a way for us to express our creativity (or lack thereof) in a simple yet impactful way.

Personally, I have six pillows on my bed.

Three to sleep on (each with different firmness to give me the right elevation for my neck), two for decoration, or for guests to lay on, and one to spoon. Yes, I’m single and this pillow gives me more support than a man ever could.

I know my way isn’t the only way. I definitely am not backed by any sort of science whatsoever, but anything less or more than six pillows freaks me out.

And so, I’ve created some categories of pillow people that I’ve observed over time. Sorry if you feel misrepresented by any of these.

The conservative system

Ask LH: How Many Pillows is Too Many?
Nothing too extreme here. Image: Getty

The conservative system is dedicated to those who keep a simple, yet practical, four-to-six pillows on their beds.

You’ve got enough to sleep on and to have some added comfort if you choose. There’s also enough for your guests to chill on, too. You could also use any of these pillows as your decorative cushion just for some added flair.

Personally, I like to keep the covers as neutral as possible and let my colourful room decor do the talking.

To me, the bed is the calming focal point of the room. It centres everything and creates balance. If your bed is chaotic with bold colours and hundreds of pillows with different textures and tones, then it throws everything off.

This is probably the only time I’ll ever call myself conservative.

The pillow hoarder

Ask LH: How Many Pillows is Too Many?
Now, this is just too much. Image: Getty

We all know this person. Maybe you live with them or maybe you are them, either way, the pillow hoarder has got some serious things going on.

I once saw someone’s bed that had 13 pillows on it. 13!

Now, that’s just excessive.

What’s the point in having a nice bedspread if you can’t even see it underneath the Mount Everest of pillows? If I had that many on my bed I’d get so exhausted taking them all off at night I’d just end up sleeping on top of them.

To me, things start to edge on the border of the pillow hoarder when someone has eight or more stacked up on their bed. It’s too much, friend. Put down the pillow and step away from the bed.

The OTT decor pillow lover

How many pillows should you have?
What’s the point of those little pillows? Image: Getty

This category is when all the cushion-loving freaks (I use that term as one of endearment) really go to town on their pillow system.

I’m talking about the people who care more about the style and aesthetics of their bed than the practicality. Who needs sleep when your bed is covered in an array of colourful cushions?

These types of people normally have around 10 pillows on their beds but only use one or two for sleeping. The rest is all dedicated to the design element. Bringing in new textures, sizes and shapes to really create that work of art.

For the OTT decor lover, these arrangements are their time to shine and show off their personality.

I envy their dedication to the style of their beds but I do not envy the stress they go through in making sure all the cushions are placed correctly and not a single one is out of place.

The dodgy single limp pillow

Ask LH: How Many Pillows is Too Many?
No, just no. Image: Getty

We all know the horror story I’m talking about here.

You walk into somebody’s bedroom (normally a man’s bedroom, just speaking from experience), and you are stopped in shock horror of seeing their pillow arrangement.

You were hoping to see some sort of variety, but no. All you’re left with is a single, overworked limp pillow.

That’s it. That’s all that’s been provided for you to lay your head. Now I can excuse all kinds of behaviour, but this one detail I can’t look past.

Where’s the neck support? Where’s the decoration? Where’s the fun?

That single limp pillow is my nightmare. I live in fear of it every day. For the love of Queer Eye, get another damn pillow.

What’s the difference between a throw pillow and a cushion?

While we’re on the topic of decorative pillows, let’s talk definitions. If you’re like me, you’re probably confused about what the difference is between a throw pillow and a cushion.

Aren’t they just the same thing?

Well, yes. Yes, they are.

Turns out there is no difference between a throw pillow and a cushion besides what you decide to call it. A cushion (aka throw pillow or scatter cushion) is the decorative soft object we all know and love.

The key difference is that cushion covers are usually made from a study textile or upholstery fabric that often closes with a zip. Whereas a sleeping pillow is made from softer fabrics that fold around the pillow instead of using a zipper.

Pillows are therefore able to support your back and neck, whereas cushions serve more of a decorative purpose.

There are many kinds of pillows, though:

1. Sleeping pillows 

The most basic yet essential in the kingdom is the sleeping pillow. Without it, we would never get a good night’s rest.

People normally have about one or two on their bed which obviously changes depending on who is sleeping with them.

We all have different styles of sleeping which means we need different types of pillows. If you’re wanting to find the right one for you, check these out.

2. European pillows 

According to Houzz Australia, the reason why beds in home decor magazines always look so beautiful and cozy is all to do with European pillows.

Basically, European pillows are the big boys of the pillow world which have their roots in, yep you guessed it, Europe.

They are the larger square looking ones that feel like your head is floating on a cloud.

While they don’t offer the same support as a sleeping pillow, they are amazing to lay on, especially when you’re sitting upright in bed.

Because of their size, they are great to stack and create height variation in your arrangements. They also provide a bigger canvas for the bed decorations if you choose to add some colour to their covers.

More than two or three of these chunky lads and it would probably feel excessive and take up too much room.

3. Accent pillows

Accent pillows is another term used for a cushion or throw or scatter cushion.

I feel like these are the celebrities of the pillow world. They have so many different names and style options.

The good thing about accent cushions is that you can really curate them to match the vibes of your room. They are a great way to have some fun and add some pizazz to a boring bed.

The bad thing is that they don’t serve any real practical use besides just chilling there waiting to be thrown on the ground when you get into bed.

Don’t even get me started on those long cylinder pillows. What is the actual point of those?

How many do you really need?

So, after all that, how many pillows do you really need?

The answer: however many you want.

At the end of the day, it’s your bed and it’s your world so you can decide what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t let some stranger on the internet (hello!) tell you what the right and wrong amount of pillows is.

Unless you are the simple limp pillow person, then you should listen to every word I’ve written.

If you do want some rough guidelines to follow, Domain says the number of pillows you need all comes down to what style you want to have and the size of your bed.

If you are going for a more casual style where the bed looks lived in, then fewer pillows with little to no decorative cushions is the way to go.

You might go one step up from there and have a casual look with a bit more polish which requires you to add a few European pillows and decorative cushions.

For the more formal look, you can go all out with the European and sleeping pillows and decorative cushions to really make the bed look like it’s straight out of a showroom.

As for the size of your bed, it makes sense that the less room you have, the fewer pillows you need.

Now go forth and decorate your bed to your heart’s content.

Log in to comment on this story!