Shopping Guide

5 Pillow Types You Need to Have at Home

Rest your head on this designer-tested primer of basic pillows

Original Article: Gwyn GS Guanzon Photography: Dairy Darilag and Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions (Main Photos)

You can never have too many pillows, but it would be even better if each pillow would fit a specific spot or room. Here are five basic designer-recommended pillow types along with sizes, purpose, and a little bit of background history for each. 


Affectionately called a “hotdog pillow” or “neckroll,” a bolster is cylindrical in shape. These pillows are often used for divans, lounges, and benches as end rests near the arm area, or on the bed as the final pillow to place right after your standard and square pillows.

The bolster became popular in Germany and Italy during the Renaissance era, and “bolster” actually comes from Old English belg, or “bag.” 

Photo from A Beautiful Mess via Pinterest.

Floor Pillow

The floor pillow is pretty much like the standard throw pillow, but much larger—not less than 24”x24”.

It is also made of sturdier materials; the filling would be of kapok for added weight, and the fabric casing would be of a stiff upholstery fabric, or ever made out of woven straw. This is the perfect pillow to plop on the rug as additional seating in a tropical living room.

Photo by Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions | Click here to see more photos of this home.

Small Rectangular or Kidney Pillow

This small pillow usually measures 6”x14”. It is perfect as an accent pillow, placed in between larger pillows for sofas and on its own on occasional chairs. The kidney pillow was once difficult to purchase ready-made, so designers and homeowners would sometimes have them customized with fabric scraps leftover from upholstery jobs. Now, these pillows can be easily found at most department and furniture stores.

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno | Click here to see more photos of this home.

Rectangular or Standard Bed Pillow

The most popular type of pillow, this type is the common pillow for beds. The standard size is 20”x30”, and larger versions sometimes extend to as big 20”x72” and is then called the “Body Pillow.”

Photo by Paolo Feliciano | Click here to see more photos of this home.

Square Throw Pillow

A square pillow is the most versatile decorative pillow type, and can be used for sofas, lounges, and in pairs for the bed. Standard sizes are 18”x18”, 20”x20”, and 24”x24”.

This pillow type originated in Belgium way back in the 1500s, and its casing is updated with whatever pattern or fabric is on trend.

Photo by Dairy Darilag | Click here to see more photos of this home.

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