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Manufacturing and Selecting Quality Throw Pillows

Manufacturing and Selecting Quality Throw Pillows

How is it that some pillows can cost $40 while others cost upwards of $250? The price is a reflection of the quality materials and workmanship. While a throw pillow seems small, the material cost can be large. Here we show you what goes into creating a throw pillow, the different options and constructions, and how to identify a quality one. 

Architectural Digest

Zipper Construction

A less expensive throw pillow will not have a zipper that allows you to remove the outer shell. With these types of throw pillows, there is simply a fluffy filler on the inside, held together by two pieces of stitched fabric. These pillows are not able to be washed, because you cannot separate the outer shell from the inner filling without completely deconstructing it. More expensive throw pillows should always have a shell that unzips to be washed. Inside of these shells, there will be a fully down pillow with the filler contained in between two inexpensive sheets of muslin.

This inner pillow can be replaced if needed. You are mostly paying for the detailed outer shell. Because of the zipper construction, the textiles used must be stronger and thicker so as not to rip. This ensures you are getting quality fabric, whereas cheaper pillows may utilize thin cotton for the outer appearance. These will not hold up over time. 

Sewing a zipper

Down Insert

A quality down and feather insert for your pillow can easily cost over $100 to replace, driving the cost of the finished product way up. If you like, you can purchase just the decorative cover for a pillow, and then can find your own insert for it. 

Down insert


If you constantly find yourself tossing throw pillows to the side so you can comfortably sit on the couch, you have the wrong size. Pillows are meant to make you more comfortable rather than just being for decoration. Oversized pillows are a better bet for purchasing something you’ll actually get use out of. At the smallest your pillow should be 18” x 18”, but a better option is 24” x 24”. 


When examining the textiles used to create your pillows, it’s important to look at both sides. Less expensive options will often use expensive fabric on one side, but low-quality fabric on the other. This is what you can expect from a $50 pillow. Quality pillows will make use of the same fabrics on each side. Designer fabric is created and bought in small quantities, leading to a surge in price. Fabric from wholesalers is a lot less expensive, but also more prone to tearing and thinning. It will also be much less unique than hand-dyed and appliqued designer fabrics. 

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Designer embroidered fabric

In short, if you would like a throw pillow that actually gets used and hold up for decades, you can expect to pay around $250 or more. This will get you a 2’ x 2’ pillow with a zippable shell made out of custom fabric. The insert will be self-contained and filled with down or feathers. It is worth purchasing these to bring more life to your sofa or bed, as well as making seating more comfortable. If you purchase pillows in the $50 range, they will only hold up for about a year or so and will most likely be thrown to the side due to them being uncomfortable.

For more textile inspiration, check out our article on the exports Ghana brings to us.

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