One of the most popular shape pillows is the lumbar pillow. Lumbar pillows are named for their ability to provide support to the lower lumbar region of the back while sitting upright in a chair or sofa. Although there are a range of sizes of rectangular lumbar pillows, the most common size is approximately 12x19 or 12x20 inches. This height and width is not only an excellent size for providing lumbar support, but the dimensions work well for most stand alone chairs. Furthermore, the 12x20 dimension is aesthetically an excellent size when combined with other pillows on a sofa. For example, a 12x20 lumbar pillow will layer beautifully in front of square pillows in the range of 18x18 to 22x22 inches square. Some people are confused between the term bolster and lumbar pillow. A bolster pillow refers to a cylindrical shape pillow with round ends whereas a lumbar pillow is a rectangular pillow.
When a rectangular pillow is higher than about 14 inches, it is most likely too tall to provide lower lumbar back support except for very tall people. Generally a 16x24 inch pillow would no longer be considered a lumbar pillow as it is now large enough for broader, overall back support. Rectangular pillows of larger dimensions are still an excellent addition to a sofa or larger sectionals for backrest and visual impact.