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What are Bolster Pillows?

By J. Beam
Updated: May 23, 2024

Bolster pillows are a type of decorative throw pillow that can be used to accessorize a room. Bolster pillows are unique because of their cyndrilical shape. Sometimes referred to as tube, neck or neck roll pillows, bolster pillows are oval or oblong cylinders that are both practical and decorative. Mixing bolster pillows with other types and shapes of decorative throw pillows gives a completed, decorator look to beds, couches, and other upholstered furniture.

For children’s rooms, bolster pillows sold in a variety of popular colors and filled with microbeads are popular. Microbeads are similar to the filling in a beanbag only smaller. These types of bolster pillows are typically covered with a fabric that is a combination of nylon, Lycra and spandex. They are practical for sleeping or resting on, watching television, and also for use in the car when traveling.

Though children and adults alike may enjoy the microbead filled bolster pillows, decorating with bolster pillows is a great way to tie in colors and prints from other pieces in the room. Rather than the traditional square shape of most throw pillows, bolster pillows provide a way to bring in colors that compliment other fabrics in the room while simultaneously varying shape and texture.

Bolster pillows can be found at home décor retailers, but are not as widely available as traditional shaped pillows. However, if you are unable to find bolster pillows to match your décor, they can be easily made by rolling foam into the desired diameter, covering with batting and then upholstering with your chosen fabric.

In a design similar to the Tootsie Roll®, some people prefer to leave extra, hemmed lengths of fabric at each end to tie up with a matching ribbon or strand of lace. Other finishing touches that can be used when making bolster pillows include sewing buttons in the center of each end of the tube and covering the seams with decorative cording or rickrack.

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Discussion Comments
By Cruze — On May 27, 2011

@Apunkin- I agree with Hannah77. You can easily make these at home without sewing. I think they're easier to make than round pillows. And they don't have to cost you much.

You can go to your local thrift shop and find a blouse or top that has the fabric you want to use. Sometimes they have lace or beaded fabric in a blouse that you'd otherwise pay $20 a yard for in raw fabric.

By Hannah77 — On May 26, 2011

@Apunkin- Don't give up hope yet! You can make your own custom pillows without sewing! All of the fabric can be tucked into place, instead of sewn. Just make sure you tie the ends tightly, so the pieces don't fall out. They're really easy to make.

By Apunkin — On May 24, 2011

I wish I could sew. I would love to have these on my bed but they're too expensive to buy. I saw some peach colored silk bolster pillows at our Home Goods store that I fell in love with, but they were $49 each. Too rich for my blood, but awfully pretty.

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