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Confessions of a Pillow Addict: My Secret To The World’s Cheapest Pillow Inserts

I am feeling like we need to have a confession week.   I have a not so secret, secret.  I love pillows.  But.  I am cheap mama.  So I have lots of little tips and tricks when it comes to getting the most bang for your pillow buck.  All this week I am going to be sharing my Confessions of a Pillow Addict.   It is going to be a little bit life changing so you might want to get your Pin It finger ready.

Have you ever made a really amazing pillow and then spent 3x more on the insert than you did on fabric?

It used to happen to me to.

Pillow inserts are EXPENSIVE.  Don’t believe me?  Do a quick Google search.  It is crazy.  Even for a lumpy cotton insert from Joann’s is 24.99.  Speaking of lumpy insert.  My friends at IKEA have the best priced one, but you are still getting a sub par pillow plumper.

I am a bit of a pillow form snob.  They have to be down inserts.    The weight of down is SUPER important to a great throw pillow.  Its sort of like gravity.  You don’t understand how it makes such a huge difference in your life, but you are freaking glad it does.  And they chop so much better.

A Pillow Addict's Confession To The World's Cheapest Pillow Inserts

 

If you are on the hunt for a good down form,  average price is around $40.  FORTY DOLLARS.  That is such a rip of.  This is one area that you can stick it to the man and no one will mind.

Here is my secret for high quality CHEAP down pillow insets…

1.  First head to your local HomeGoods.  Waaaaayyy in the back there is this section called Clearance,  you may have heard of it..  It is usually filled to the brim with pillows of all shapes and sizes.  Some good, some not so good.

The Secret To The Worlds Cheapest Throw Pillow Inserts

 

2.  Track down the right pillow size.  In my case I was on the hunt for Euro pillows (26×26”) to fill my DIY Leather Pillows.   I prefer to find the ugliest ones available.  I love getting weird looks from people in the checkout line.

Where To Buy Pillow Forms

 

3.  Make sure they are all the right/ same size and have removable covers.  Most will, but every once in a while, the goods are sewn inside.

4.  Giggle all the way to the bank because these puppies just cost you $12 instead of $48.

5.  When you get home,  remove the offensive cover and donate it (someone is bound to think its the most amazing thing ever.  Some people have really bad taste.)

What you are left with is a perfectly new down filled insert that is 1/3 of the price as a brand new one.   If you are super lucky you can score pillows for as low as $5.00.  I always check the pillow clearance to see if there are any super deals that cant be passed up.

Down_Feather_LRG

 

6.  Stuff, chop, and enjoy.

Leather Pillow Tutorial vintagerevivals.com

 

Do you have any pillow hunting secrets?  Share share!

Up tomorrow in our confession series?  Fashion for your bed.

Love Your Guts

78 Comments

  • Lauren Douglas 12.08.2013 at 04:24

    Amazing idea! I never thought of using nice clearance pillow inserts for my own pillows! I was just wondering what I could do instead of buying JoAnn's super expensive and lumpy inserts. Thanks! :)

    Reply
  • Kelci 12.08.2013 at 04:32

    Great tip! Meanwhile, I am crushing on that second pillow in front of the leather pillow-can you share the source for it?

    Reply
  • taidyeoriginal 12.08.2013 at 05:31

    this is the bomb dot com. Dude, is that pillow made from the sofa you were going to chop up? rad.

    Reply
  • Jenna 12.08.2013 at 05:49

    I do this, but at my local thrift store. so my 4 pillows cost about $5. :)

    Reply
  • 702parkproject.com 12.08.2013 at 05:59

    This is hilarious…I especially love #5! Thanks for sharing, I will definitely have to check this out! :)
    -Sarah

    Reply
  • Soiled Rotten 12.08.2013 at 06:27

    Love it! I have done this before and it's the best feeling knowing how much u can save : )

    Reply
  • Elizabeth F 12.08.2013 at 06:28

    This is great! I have been looking around for pillow inserts and was just about to settle for IKEA. Unfortunately, the only HomeGoods around here is at least 40 minutes away without traffic(and traffic is killer in Virginia Beach!) But shopping the clearance wherever it is, that's a great idea! Thanks for spilling your secrets! I'm looking forward to the rest of these posts! My hubby thinks we have too many pillows. I say no way!

    Reply
  • dougssunrise 12.08.2013 at 07:06

    Genius!!!

    Reply
  • Damkid17 12.08.2013 at 07:17

    I still LOVE IKEA pillows…for $6 I can get it with Duck feather filling…http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/50160072/#/60066743

    Reply
  • thedomesticlady.com 12.08.2013 at 07:22

    I am a pillow chopper addict. And apparently my husband has learned my ways because the other day I caught him chopping all the down pillows on our sofa :)

    Reply
  • Giovanni Miles 12.08.2013 at 07:22

    I buy the cheap two dollar standard pillows at Walmart and stuff into the covers. Even though the pillows are standard size, they are under stuffed and fit into most pillow covers. I double or triple them in larger pillow covers.

    Reply
    • Tina Matteson 22.08.2015 at 21:42

      I do this too!

      Reply
  • Sarah 12.08.2013 at 07:22

    I DO THIS TOO!!! The Homegoods by me always has great clearance pillows and I've managed to snag a couple inserts for $5!

    Reply
  • Kathryn Ferrie 12.08.2013 at 07:23

    GENIUS!!

    Reply
  • midcenturymrs.com 12.08.2013 at 07:42

    What a great idea! It's one of those things where you want to smack yourself and wonder how you didn't think of it yourself!

    Reply
  • Mimi 12.08.2013 at 07:49

    I go even cheaper… I buy old decorative down pillows from thrift shops for less than $2. I make sure they don't smell of animal or smoke or whatever and then I throw them in the washing machine and dryer. When they're in the dryer you need to add a couple of clean tennis balls to keep the down from clumping. I've had great success and saved tons! I started doing this because I only like down and I didn't want to fork over the cash.

    Reply
  • Unknown 12.08.2013 at 07:58

    OK I think I am the cheapest…or the craziest!! I buy all my pillow inserts at Goodwill Outlet, where you pay per pound (.88cents/lb). Wash them in hot water, all good!

    Reply
  • Becca 12.08.2013 at 08:18

    Brilliant! Why have I never thought of this???

    -Becca
    Ladyface Blog

    Reply
  • Andrea Worley 12.08.2013 at 08:58

    this seriously is the best idea! how did you know I've been hunting for inserts for pillow for weeks?! thank you!

    Reply
  • Love This Space 12.08.2013 at 09:02

    I have done this. Sometimes you can find great priced pillows at consignment stores. I stick to the lighter, less-textured pillow covers and I'll leave them on for protection from all the furry, drooly animals that live in my house (that may include some human housemates). The outer cover can go in the wash while the inner cover can either remain to protect the pillow innards or get thrown away if something truly offensive happened to the pillow.

    Reply
  • Angelique Stevens 12.08.2013 at 10:04

    I do this too…but my inserts come from the thrift store. On a good sale day, I can score 2 for $5!

    Reply
  • Christina 12.08.2013 at 11:14

    Mandi, You rock my world with your tips!!!!

    Love ya dear!

    Christina

    Reply
  • redesignedbym 12.08.2013 at 11:57

    I agree! Down inserts all the way for me! I inspect all the pillows in every clearance aisle, home staging sale, thrift store, and estate sale for down inserts despite their hideous covers. Sometimes if you find a good feather/down duvet insert at a thrift store, you can use the guts of that to make a pillow form as well. ~M.

    http://redesignedbym.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  • Jennifer Bohannon 12.08.2013 at 12:06

    I have to LOL at this post because my family owns (and I work for it) an upholstery shop. And yet, I always find myself perusing the thrift store pillow aisle for down inserts with ugly covers!

    Yes, down is expensive, especially when you get into the higher down blends (the 5/95 is typcial for store bought). Making down pillows is messy (we actually have a small separate room in which to do it in at our shop so it doesn't get everywhere) so you lose some of your product, plus someone has to sew and stuff the inlet therefore you're getting a pricier product.

    That said, Kudos for saving money where you can!! The best way to kill germs from a down pillow is to put it out in the good ol' sunshine (I live in TX so we can do this year round) and to fluff, put in the drier on the no heat setting with a tennis ball. Love your posts!!

    Reply
  • Jessica Allen 12.08.2013 at 12:08

    it's a great article, i love the pictures. Thanks for sharing this bookmarking your website as we speak lol xx
    from: wall stickers wall decals

    Reply
  • Jennifer Bohannon 12.08.2013 at 12:11

    Oh FYI, you're not supposed to wash down pillows in the machine (I noticed a few people mentioning that). To really kill any questionable stains or odors (that you're not sure the sun will kill), spray them with a product call "Liquid Alive".

    Reply
    • Lisa Thompson 03.05.2014 at 03:38

      Actually down pillows can be washed as long as they are thoroughly dried. It’s feather pillows that should never be washed. People often get that confused. :-)

      Reply
  • Jesse @ Scout & Nimble 12.08.2013 at 12:21

    I so do this, too! One of the best times, too, is right after Christmas…they mark all their crazy Christmas pillows way down and I look equally as crazy carrying 6 of the ugliest of ugly Christmas pillows to the register. My.favorite.part. Now, if my pillow inserts suddenly become harder to find…I'm blaming you. 😉 lol! 😉

    Reply
  • Amber 12.08.2013 at 15:52

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  • Samantha 12.08.2013 at 17:20

    I love the way you think. I have pillows with three or four layers of cover underneath.

    Reply
  • Samantha 12.08.2013 at 17:20

    I love the way you think. I have pillows with three or four layers of cover underneath.

    Reply
  • Charlotte Smith 12.08.2013 at 17:31

    I tend to hoard the random pieces of fabric/ blankets/ clothing that I will eventually USE as throw pillows but never get around to actually sewing said pillows… which means that I don't get to the pillow insert stage of the project. I probably would have gone for the Ikea down pillows, but- duh- LOVE the idea of the Homegoods clearance section. Genius!
    xx Charlotte @ Ciburbanity

    Reply
  • Melissa@TheHappierHomemaker 12.08.2013 at 17:54

    Um, genius! I have never thought to do this. Thanks for the awesome tip!!!

    Reply
  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures 12.08.2013 at 19:28

    Brilliant!

    Reply
  • katie lake 12.08.2013 at 19:44

    I do this at TJ Maxx, Target, and even cheaper – ROSS! I usually don't care about removable covers though. I keep a stack of broadcloth on hand. It is perfect for sewing around it to keep colors from peaking through thinner/lighter fabrics.

    Reply
  • Sassss 12.08.2013 at 20:51

    Great post! I've been forbidden from bringing any more in, until we move into a bigger place, or I get rid of some stuff. LOL! Since I do just like Charlotte, I'm hoping we move soon.

    Hopefully, by the time we finally move, the mad rush on pillows that I'm predicting will be over, so I'll be able to find some!

    Reply
  • Gwen, The Makerista 12.08.2013 at 23:25

    I think I remember you mentioning this a few years ago…I'm giving you the credit anyways, because this is my best tip for the inserts! And yes, once you go down, you can't turn around. Or something like that..

    What a fun week! Making the cases and saving money on pillows is a passion of mine! #decornerd

    Reply
  • Carol-Anne 13.08.2013 at 03:25

    In theory this is a great idea and I know how expensive those inserts are…..but I have 2 words for you: BED BUGS.

    Enough said.

    Reply
  • Caroline Nolazco 13.08.2013 at 05:52

    do you know if there are ever pillows that have down alternative and where to get them on the cheap? I'm allergic to feathers and can't have them sittin around

    Reply
  • Beth Linton 13.08.2013 at 07:04

    Mandi you must've read my mind – I have one down pillow on my couch that I used a down insert in that has a silouette I painted of a boston terrier/ with the words Boston in his body. It is my favorite one to cuddle with!!! I was just thinking Ineed to go back to Ross or TJ 7 get some more forms – cuz my other pillows do not have enough down heftiness to them. (unforutnately I have never had the pleasure of shopping at a homegoods.) I am assuming that TJ's or Ross is the same or just trying ot think that they are. Maybe not.

    Beth (aka Hatefulhannah)

    Reply
  • Paige Byrd 13.08.2013 at 09:10

    Suuuuch a good idea. Those uggo pillows needed saving anyway :)

    Reply
  • LindO Designs 13.08.2013 at 11:05

    cheap not down insert:

    http://www.hm.com/us/product/12900?article=12900-A

    h&M; home is finally online!! :)

    Reply
  • Kim 13.08.2013 at 15:08

    I actually search my thrift store and stock up when they get Ikea down inserts in! Can get them for like $3.00!
    Shazam!
    Kim@reposhture.blogspot.com

    Reply
  • Heather 13.08.2013 at 17:29

    My husband works at a store called HomeFabrics & Rugs – cheap, awesome, down inserts! All sizes :)

    Reply
  • jkduncan58@gmail.com 15.08.2013 at 11:56

    Cute post :) I have an 82yo aunt…has more money than anyone else I know, and ALL of the pillows in her living room are stuffed with wadded up plastic bags from the grocery store. At a glance they don't look bad but one touch and it's "crinkle crinkle crinkle"! Cracks me up every time I go there.

    Reply
  • CL Designs 16.08.2013 at 14:57

    Crate and Barrel sells down inserts for $8-$14, in case you can't find the size you want in the clearance bin…

    Reply
  • CL Designs 16.08.2013 at 14:57

    Crate and Barrel sells down inserts for $8-$14, in case you can't find the size you want in the clearance bin…

    Reply
  • Cyndi 16.09.2013 at 02:20

    I’m not a stickler for down, but I am a stickler for a decent pillow. If you are willing to deal with a bit of sewing, go find yourself a clearance king sized bed pillow at Big Lots…think like 3 dollars. You can literally cut that puppy in half and sew the ends back up. You now have yourself 2 inserts that will be nice and fluffy in am 18 x 18 cover. Bam! that’s 1.50 an insert 😉

    Reply
  • Jessica 21.09.2013 at 05:14

    That is a great tip. I am also a feather pillow snob. In the past, I have made my own using the cheapest feather sleeping pillows from Wal-Mart (they are about $5). Saves money, but it is messy. It’s an outdoor job for sure. I also like the tip above to just stuff the whole bed pillow in the throw pillow cover.

    Reply
  • Debraribella 23.09.2013 at 22:32

    Love these tips , keep em coming!

    Reply
  • Ololo 03.10.2013 at 23:58

    I live in Ukraine and there are no too much clearances for pillows here. People are smart, they are changing covers itself in a stores for the new collections.
    So that’s why I am used to stich pillows myself. I buy 10 kg of staffing (hollofiber, because it’s hypoallergic) for approx. $20. Plus textile for pillow.. As total, $3-4 per pillow.
    Pluses:
    – I have it exactly the same size as I wanted
    – I can add labels even on inner pillow

    Reply
  • Palak 19.10.2013 at 17:07

    Amazing blog– I love your style! I so have to check out home goods now! I wanted to let you know I featured this post on the frugal sewing website sewistry.com. Here’s the link: http://sewistry.com/2013/10/the-seceret-to-cheap-pillow-inserts/ The post will be up next week. Let me know of any concerns!

    Reply
  • Louise Marie 04.11.2013 at 20:03

    Thank You! i needed that!

    Reply
  • emily 27.12.2013 at 02:42

    just found your blog. and started reading and reading and reading…and now here i am all the way in august. just thought i would mention that crate and barrel sells the best pillow inserts, usually free shipping, and waaaaay better quality than ikea, and their prices are just a few dollars more than ikea with way more options. love, love your blog…super inspired!

    Reply
  • Guest Room Reveal 23.01.2014 at 12:01

    […] but I’ll update this post if it shows up!), cut it in half, added some fringe and using a tip from Mandi, grabbed some clearance pillows at Homegoods to pillage for the down […]

    Reply
  • The Secret to a Great Fitting Euro Sham 30.01.2014 at 10:45

    […] but I don’t know if they always have them or if they have them at every location.  You can follow Mandi’s lead and take ugly covers off of clearance […]

    Reply
  • Karen 23.05.2014 at 20:57

    I find my down/feather inserts at a great furniture consignment store. They are decorating sofas and chairs throughout the store. Also, an antique, claw tub was full of them and I had a field day. I’ve gotten up 20″ and a few other sizes to replace my fiber filled pillows. So far I haven’t paid any more than $4.50 for any of them. I have looked at Goodwill and other thrift shops, but as of yet, I haven’t found any that are feather/down, always fiber-filled. Although the ones I’ve purchased were in a consignment store, they didn’t appear in ANY way to be “used”.

    Reply
  • Jessi 29.08.2014 at 23:19

    I go to garage sales. Get ugly ones for $1 and get a cute cover from Jane.com. :)

    Reply
  • My Go-To Pillowcase DIY with Striped Pompom Trim 02.10.2014 at 01:58

    […] lacking in quality they can definitely break a space.  A down insert is important (Mandi explains the best way to get these) and nice fabric is important.  While I wouldn’t say I save a lot of money making my […]

    Reply
  • My Go-To Pillowcase DIY with Striped Pompom Trim | Bichona 20.10.2014 at 06:47

    […] lacking in quality they can definitely break a space.  A down insert is important (Mandi explains the best way to get these) and nice fabric is important.  While I wouldn’t say I save a lot of money making my […]

    Reply
  • Making Custom Pillows - How To Get Custom Throw Pillows Made | HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens 05.12.2014 at 15:00

    […] Awhile back, I read this fantastic post from Vintage Revivals (Confessions of a Pillow Addict: My Secrets to the World’s Cheapest Pillow Inserts), and she shares a really great tip on how to score some super cheap down inserts on the […]

    Reply
  • Anna 02.02.2015 at 16:56

    I find all kinds of down inserts at my local thrift stores and Goodwill. You get really good at squeezing pillows to tell if they are down filled or foam. I buy them for under $5 and just rip off the existing cover.

    Reply
  • sandersteadcarpetcleaners.org.uk 05.02.2015 at 12:43

    If you have yellowed pillows or pillows that are a tiny bit smelly- you can try a few things. First you can add 1/2 cup baking soda or 1/2 cup vinegar with your laundry soap to the machine. The vinegar is for odor and the baking soda helps with both odor and stains. If your pillows are really in need of TLC from staining and such I would use the hot water for sure on your load.
    Best regards! Sanderstead Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

    Reply
  • Monica 23.02.2015 at 15:49

    last summer one of the hotels in my town was doing a remodel and selling everything, including bedding. I went there every day. They sold all their down bed pillows for $1.00 each so I bought 23. They all had a white zipper case on them and I figured I could just cut down the zipper case, fill it with the down from the pillow and replace all my inserts. Turns out down is not at ALL like fiber filling in terms of transferring. I don’t usually back down from a mess, but I did this time. But better planning would have helped and familiarity with the explosive nature of down will help me when I return to this project which turns a year old in May.

    Reply
  • Kim @ This Belle Rocks 26.02.2015 at 17:15

    No pillow hunting secrets, but this will come in handy since I am getting ready to re-do the back cushions of my couch, and I thought 26×26 pillows might do the trick. Or….the same trick could be used for thrift store or clearance cushions maybe? If I try that one out, I will let you know how it goes!

    Reply
    • Mandi 26.02.2015 at 17:18

      Please do!

      Reply
  • Paula M 30.03.2015 at 02:38

    I found 4 HUGE down floor pillow inserts at Tuesday Morning’s several years ago, for just $4 each. I had never made pillow covers but I could use a machine and sew squares. So I did! Great idea.

    Reply
  • Karen 28.04.2015 at 23:37

    Do you wash it first before use it ?

    Reply
  • Ana 28.04.2015 at 23:52

    You are not the only one. I thought I was crazy lol. Etsy in my opinion is the best place to shop for pillows because they have unique designs what you can’t find in any of the large retail stores. You just have to read what they are made off or you end up with some rug after a couple of washes. I recently got some from https://www.etsy.com/shop/Agedpixel and https://www.etsy.com/shop/Ideccor and they were excellent quality. (not affiliated with any of these).

    Reply
  • Susan Croskey 10.07.2015 at 05:54

    Sometimes I can find a feather or down pillow, clearanced in bedding. I can buy king-sized pillow and machine sew two lines about 3/4″ apart down the middle. Cut down the center of the two lines and voila!! Two square pillows on the cheap!

    Reply
  • Vintage Revivals | Confessions of a Pillow Addict: My Weird (and Surprisingly Efficient) Way To Sew An Envelope Pillow 20.07.2015 at 19:59

    […] (palm fabric & geometric fabric are both HGTV Home available at Joanns.  Stripe fabric tutorial is coming on Thursday!)If you are feeling extra brave,  try this simple tutorial for sewing a zippered pillow cover.Oh and don’t forget yesterday’s tip on where to buy cheap inserts!! […]

    Reply
  • Bonnie 24.07.2015 at 13:14

    This idea is brilliant! I have been wanting to make new throw pillows but the price of the forms is what has been stopping me. Super excited now!!

    Reply
  • N W 30.07.2015 at 01:20

    I want the weight and “slouch” factor of down pillows for a reading corner I’m putting together for my littles. BUT, husband is really allergic to down. Can I find euro pillows with non-down filling that still has some heft?

    Reply
  • mary mackey 15.08.2015 at 03:40

    It is a good idea to get down inserts at a thrift store but BEWARE of BEDBUGS…..yikes.

    Reply
  • Ron Erickson 16.03.2016 at 08:47

    I’ve gotten 3 infections from being stabbed by an errant quill. I’ve gotten the best pillow forms from the likes of NM, Snacks, and Bump’s. 90/10 & 95/10 too crunchy for the ticking and 100 % down is not dense enough, what is a guy to do. Help me rehabilitate my art pillow collection. I’m considering putting them in Wall Boxes as they are getting ruined.
    Used pillow are not an option, no critters allowed. Thank you – I love your pictures. A guy

    Reply
  • Rachel Huban 18.03.2016 at 09:03

    Do you not think it’s unethical to buy down pillows? After all the feathers did belong to a duck or goose before some geezer killed it for meat & it’s feathers.

    Watch a few documentaries and you might find your conscience again……

    Reply
  • Janice Allgower 13.04.2016 at 22:13

    OMG , Just brilliant . I need four new ones as my hubby loves laying all over them . I actually did Google who makes the best insert . Well the joke is on them .

    My gosh thank you so darn much & everyone else who has shared their ideas & finds as well …

    Janice Allgower
    Napa Valley, Ca

    Reply

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