Feather vs. Polyfill Pillow Inserts

Choosing between Feather/Down and Polyfill Pillow Inserts
Choosing a decorative pillow insert is a matter of preference.

Feather/Down or Polfill Pillow Inserts

As in any decorating decision, choosing a decorative pillow insert is a matter of preference.

Feather and Feather-Down pillow inserts feel luxurious when you sink into their softness. When you are curled up on your sofa to watch a good movie, pillows with feather inserts conform to your shape. The more sleek feather pillow inserts work well on smaller scale chairs or diminutive loveseats. Designers usually prefer feather pillow inserts, some giving them a gentle "karate chop" in the middle. Some customers exclaim, "I don’t have time to plump up pillows!" and prefer polyfill pillow inserts. However, decorative throw pillows with feather inserts stay in place better. For that reason, those with slippery leather or vinyl furniture prefer feather inserts.

It is important to be aware that not all feather inserts are equal. Many are made with heavy, thick quill feathers. These inserts will have a prickly, crunchy feel and it doesn't take long for the spikey quills to start poking through the inserts and your pillow covers. The better feather inserts are made with smaller, fine white feathers. These are lighter and fluffier and are less likely to poke through the insert shell. The insert shell should be made of a fabric with a minimum 200 thread count (TC). These denser woven fabrics go a long way to preventing the feather quills from poking through.

If you are looking for even better quality decorative pillow inserts, consider a feather-down combination. You'll pay more for these, but even a small amount of down makes a big difference to the look and feel. Down tends to 'self plump', meaning that the insert will expand and plump-up more than a 100% feather insert after being compressed. Pillow Decor sells 95% fine feather/5% down pillow inserts with a 233TC shell. These quality inserts strike a nice balance between comfort and cost. 

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On a deep sofa, polyfill throw pillow inserts offer more back support than their feather counterparts. Polyfill throw pillow inserts are the more economical choice. Polyfill pillow inserts retain their shape and require less maintenance. For those with allergies to feathers, polyfill pillow inserts are the clear choice. Polyfill, also known as polyster fiber fill, is a synthetic material and is widely used in the bedding and home furnishings industry. 

Pillow Decor polyfill inserts are made with quality fiber that is blown into the insert shells in consistent quantity for the size of each insert. Therefore, each and every insert of a particular size will weigh and feel the same. Our polyfill inserts are a medium density and loft and under regular use, will hold their shape for many years.  The insert shells are made from a poly-unwoven fabric.

Because polyfill inserts are 'spongier' and firmer than feather inserts, extra care should be taken when inserting them into your pillow covers so as not to damage or tear either the insert or the pillow cover. For detailed instructions on how to stuff a pillow, please read our article, Stuffing a Pillow Cover the Right Way: What your mother never showed you!

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If you are still undecided, why not use both? Try a larger decorative throw pillow with a polyfill insert. Layered in front of it, use a smaller throw pillow with a feather pillow insert. You will have the support of the polyfill cushion behind, with the luxury of a feather pillow insert in front, for the best of both worlds!