Pillow Talk


Linda Merrill design velvet sofa and custom pillows teal beige
Velvet sofa and side chairs with custom pillows and upholstery from Thibaut and Duralee. Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings design.

I so love a throw pillow, don’t you? Everyone now and again, I update this post and it’s been six years, so I thought it was time. I have a theory about pillows – they are armor for women. Have you ever noticed that when men are faced with a sofa or chair with a throw pillow, they usually put it on the floor, but women will sit with it on their laps, arms wrapped around?

woman on cellphone hugging her pillow

We prop our computers on them and some of us even make forts out of them.

barefoot child in throw pillow fort

They finish off a space so beautifully, I think.

Linda Merrill design custom pillows lavender teal blue yellow
Custom pillows by Linda Merrill made for a master bedroom.


Linda Merrill design custom pillows girls kids room teal fucshia pink fur
Custom pillows and headboard insert for a little girl’s new bedroom


Linda Merrill design custom pillows blue beige
Custom made for a living room sofa.


Linda Merrill design custom pillows blue beige coastal
Custom made living room pillows by Linda Merrill.


Linda Merrill design custom pillows bedding pink and green
Custom bedding  designed by Linda Merrill for a master bedroom.


Linda Merrill design custom pillows bedding pink and green floral
Custom made bedding by Linda Merrill for a guest room bedroom.

So custom bedding and pillows aren’t just for people. I made the little bed with custom bedding and pillows (look familiar) for a charity event for the Duxbury Free Library in my town. The event raised money by selling dressed up “dragons” which is the mascot for the town. My little bedding ensemble included a bolster pillow, oblong and small throw pillow. Plus sheets and a reversible coverlet. I made the bed out of a small tray with pom-pom trim applied as a bedskirt.

Linda Merrill design toy bed custom bedding pink floral

We were given the Dragon doll and I dressed “her” in a nightie, bunny slippers and a she had her own little human doll.

Linda Merrill Design toy bed custom bedding pink floral dragon

Back to more serious images…

Linda Merrill design custom pillows bedding green white vintage bedroom
Custom for a master bedroom made by Linda Merrill.

The photo below was an old bedroom of mine.

Linda Merrill design custom pillows bedding green pink red


Linda Merrill design custom pillows and bedding blue white beige
Custom bedding designed by Linda Merrill.


Linda Merrill design custom pillow design green pink cranvery pillows slik trim
Custom sofa pillows made by Linda Merrill.


Linda Merrill design custom pillow design dog pillow red
Woof! Custom doggie designed for a dog loving client.


Linda Merrill design custom made bedding seamist green blue silk
Custom bedding designed by Linda Merrill for the master suite of an ocean front home in Scituate, Massachusetts.


Linda Merrill design custom lumbar pillow bench seat floral fabric french cane settee
I reupholstered this cane settee and made a long bolster to match.

My current bedroom features a rotating collection of custom pillows.

Linda Merrill design bedroom custom pillows bedding green white floral

The winter look includes this faux fur.

Linda Merrill design custom pillows bedding faux fur pillow

I made this little embroidered pillow from an embroidered piece that my mother had made and framed many years ago. It’s found new life as a decorative pillow. Sometimes it’s on my bed, sometimes it’s in my living room.

Linda Merrill design Mom embroidery


So, what are your thoughts on custom pillows – still popular? Or like window treatments, have been become more paired down, fewer trims – almost more utilitarian? My personal thought is that if you love a little froufrou, I say go for it. If you prefer something with a little color but more utilitarian – that’s fine too! It’s such a great way to personalize a space, add color to a neutral sofa or chair and they can be easily swapped out seasonally for a relatively inexpensive change.

You may also enjoy:

Embroidery Salvage

Tiffany & Co. Pillow

15 thoughts on “Pillow Talk”

  1. Great post Linda! I think there’s room for maximalism and minimalism because pillows themselves will always be part of lives and home decor. Our clients tend to want knife-edge modern pillows but we love to create the “full on frill” ones too.

    I really love the pillow with your mothers embroidery. I have several heirloom pillows passed down to me from my Grandmother and Great Aunt. Love them!

  2. Lisa D. Thank you. This Pillow Talk really speaks to each of us! Thanks Linda. I was thinking this morning about the bed, my bed in particular. Just moved on Wednesday and making my bed was first: mattress pad, down mattress pad, two fitted sheets, flat bottom sheet of antique linen, my European Sleep System pillows, then me, a flat antique linen top sheet, my lightest weight duvet and then my Eiderdown Blanke for napping. From afar, one would never know that there is a whole lot more under me than is above me, allowing me to sleep cool and yet be cuddled. Like Linda says, my pillows are my Armour, my strength, my renewal, and they love me every day and night, nurturing me off to sleep and gently awakening me to the beauty of the world. Linda, you are so smart to have this very frank and open conversation about how men and women view throw and decorative pillows. We do approach things differently, don’t we? I love my pillows, and Lisa D, thank you for the compliment. My beds are beautiful but always remember that their mission is to love you all night long. Pillow Talk. A wonderful conversation with Linda Merrill. Blessing. Pandora

  3. Cute post, and you’re right Linda – we do use them for armor! I had never thought of that before. And Pandora, you have the most gorgeous, exquisite linens, sheets, bedding, etc., ever!

  4. Every example, you have included, is just beautiful! I still like my fancy smancy “look but do not touch/use” pillows.

    I think having stores, such as Target, offering a multitude of colors, textures, patterns, shapes and sizes, more people have started to spend a little less (than custom) and are using the pillows until they are worn, then discard and replace them.
    (I do purchase some pillows, from Target or Home Goods etc)
    That said, the demand for professional grade fabrics and custom designs does seem to still exist. I know I prefer my patterned pillows have the pattern the same or mirrored! Often you have to dig deep into the pile, to find two or more, mass production pillows with similar pattern placement.
    My daughter works with a decorator in CO, and they are always very busy and placing orders with the “sewing room”. I do not think they get into the trims as much as they once did. But like all things, that come and go, the fancy trim will again become vogue, I am sure!
    Of course, I think we are a bit more “fancy” here on the east coast to begin with, and there is nothing wrong with that!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.