The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Top Ten Pillow Fluffer Ideas September 4, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 6:36 pm


My mom was at a party the other day and happened to be describing to a woman she just met about a job I was working on in the woman’s hometown. Just making small talk about interior design, their children, whatever — as women often do. Little did she know, the woman was an Interior Designer herself. And she had an ATTITUDE! She made light of the kind of interior design I do, by referring to my work by saying “Oh, she is a “pillow fluffer”. Well, if that doesn’t put a girl in her place, I don’t know what will! Clearly that was her intent. Actually, it inspired me.

In fact, The Pillow Fluffer would be a charming name for a business, but it is probably already spoken for. Maybe I will use it for my title from now on. I love it! Just call me The Pillow Fluffer at The Inspired Room. I love it, because I love what I do.

I think everyone deserves to have a lovely home, and I like to find beauty in every opportunity. I rarely come across a room I cannot find hope for! Most people have great stuff. They just feel stuck about what to do with it to bring it all together. Or what to buy next, when you cannot afford much, or are smart and don’t WANT to spend a lot. Or they just aren’t accustomed to thinking like I do, with my Magazine Cover-itis mind which I discussed here and here (for better or for worse). Everywhere I look in people’s homes I see potential for a magazine cover, it just requires a little pillow fluffing to get there.

Reality is, it is hard to be your own interior designer. Even if you are talented and have the eye of an artist, your own home is so personal to you that you can easily become either paralyzed or unable to see your home with fresh ideas and a new perspective on your style.

When stuff has been there forever, it is hard to imagine it any other way. That is the great thing about having someone else look at your space. It isn’t that you DON’T have the potential or skill, it sometimes just takes a new set of eyes to see what could be out of what is.

So today, I offer you the following Top Ten Pillow Fluffing Ideas:

10. Take a picture of the area you are struggling with. Study it like it was a magazine cover. Is it boring? Is there something ugly in the way? Does it need a punch of color or a bit of texture to liven it up? Not sure? Ask a professional Pillow Fluffer for a consultation. Sure, send the photo to me. Why not. For a limited time I will look at them and give a quick consultation if I can just based on a picture. For free. Offer expires September 20 so act now. Send them to: I don’t know how to create a link for that, sorry.

9. Empty the space entirely. Add things back in one by one if you find they are needed, helpful or lovely.

8. You don’t have to love everything in your home. Sorry, if you do, you might want to look at your room again. It might be TOO much of a good thing! Every room needs some filler pieces to rest your eyes. If everything is eye candy, you might get a tummy ache.

7. Color can unite. And it doesn’t have to be on your walls. Try a neutral background with a punch of color in accessories or fabrics.

6. Texture can be more interesting and subtle than color.

5. An element of surprise or whimsy will take the stuffy factor out of an overly designed room.

4. Trinkets don’t make a room. Statements will make the room. Give something a ta-da factor, but not EVERYTHING. Let some things take center stage.

3. Mix things up a bit. If your style is easily identifiable by one name (contemporary, shabby chic, Victorian, or whatever), maybe mix things up a bit. You might be too trendy or predictable. Or dull and in a rut. Maybe, it is worth considering anyways. Maybe add a more contemporary lamp to your shabby chic to add that new dimension.

2. Don’t ask your friends what they think. If you like something, it is your authentic style. No one should be allowed to rain on your parade.

1. Make the most of what you have. Don’t let a snooty interior designer tell you that you need all new stuff. Or that you are just a Pillow Fluffer. Pillow Fluffers make the world a better place, so be proud of Fluffing Your Stuff!

Find great pillows and more at April Cornell. Above pillow is $9 on sale!


23 Responses to “Top Ten Pillow Fluffer Ideas”

  1. Good for you for not taking that in the nose! I think interior designers take their title very seriously and consider decorators “fluffers” because we don’t have the four-year degree and the membership to ASID. In my opinion, they take themselves a little too seriously sometimes…

    I am proud to be what I call a “home stylist” and am careful to never call myself an interior designer lest I get their rankles up!! Whatever the title, we all have our role and I love mine as I know you love yours! You are meant to help people with their decor challenges and your work speaks for itself!

    Happy decorating!

    p.s. thanks for checking with Pottery Barn…I guess I’ll just have to go and order something!! Pity…!!!


  2. I know designers aren’t all snooty, nor should all Pillow Fluffers (stylists, redesigners, one day decorators, stagers, whatever) be in business. Not all interior designers are talented and not all Pillow Fluffers are nice. But I can say that THAT ONE designer was snooty and she didn’t even know me! Thanks for the vote of confidence and standing up for Pillow Fluffers everywhere!

  3. Esther Sunday Says:

    Melissa: You are incredibly talented! This woman is an interior designer? I wouldn’t use her! You know why? Because I probably could not get her to help me with WHAT I LIKE! Because creativity comes in many forms! Didn’t she learn that in decorating 101? Maybe she ought to talk with your clients – and find out how happy they are that they have someone like you to help bring their homes to life! DON’T CHANGE WHAT/WHO YOU ARE! Do you want me to kick her butt? 😉 I bet if she peeked on your blog, she get all kinds of great tips!

  4. YEAH! 🙂 Thanks Esther. You made me laugh. You’re the best!

  5. Melissa Says:

    Pillow Fluffer…how tacky! Well, that is what I thought at first. Then I realized, she thinks you and those like you are taking her business away. THEN I realized, in her pedigree she lives on the Crisp Edge of Sanity…so it always has to be nurtured and hung onto lest she fall to the other side and realize Pillow Fluffers are smart, inspired, talented, creative and can actually smile and relate to their clients.

    Yep, she’s jealous of you making someone happy in ‘her’ market.

  6. cherry Says:

    Hi Melissa….ummm a little birdy told me you have been taggged….with the middle name game. Ok it was me! Go to my site for directions. I lOVE the pillow you posted and that chick needs to chill. cherry

  7. Julie Says:

    Good for you! Most times when people belittle others it’s for their own justification. Maybe she’s a glorified pillow fluffer at this point. Whatever the case be – good for you that you can roll with the punches and make lemonade out that lemon.

    Thanks for stopping by blog and for your sweet comments. I’ll be back again. Take a peak in our attic if you have the chance –


  8. janet Says:

    I also have a wee staging business to go with my real estate business and I have heard the term “pillow fluffer” used a lot and for some reason I never thought it was derogatory. Maybe it is just a matter of context or tone of voice. Some people can be so snobby and insecure. Anyway, thanks for the link to April Cornell. We used to have an outlet here, but it closed as did most of the US stores. Her US headquarters are in Burlington VT, my hometown and there is still a great store there.

  9. In the new issue of Oprah at Home that I just got there were articles about Pillow Fluffers, all positive. I think it is just in the tone of voice and the implication of the conversation! In either case, I am proud to consider myself a fluffer!

  10. Karen Says:

    I’ve been known to say that I don’t like homes that look too “decoratored” so she can put that in her pipe and smoke it. Seems to be those with all the training in design who create spaces that have the least personality.

  11. Terri Says:

    Oh, gosh, that lady was mean. Let’s assume she was having a bad day (or year, ahem). I have actually never heard the term Pillow Fluffer, but I think it is very cute, and if you are good at your job, who cares? I think that Pillow Fluffers are totally required, fill a huge gap, make the world a lovelier place and many of them clearly have wonderful talent, ability, creativity, and vision. They would probably make butt-kicking designers IF they had the time or money or interest or desire to do four years of design school.

    There doesn’t need to be a competition – it is similar work on a similar subject but everyone has different strengths and areas where they have better skills, by nature, or by formal training, or self-teaching perhaps.

    As an engineer, I work with several operators and technicians who do very similar work to me, but in different sub-areas. Most of them are great at their jobs and are very smart people. We rely on them for some things and they rely on us for others. Many of them would make great engineers but didn’t have the luxury of engineering school (nor the desire). Neither of us has an inferiority complex. We aren’t competing for the same work though, which might be a little different from design, where a designer might be competing in the same market as decorators who they feel are less qualified. Complicated.

  12. Terri Says:

    By the way, your Pillow Fluffer Top 10 list was awesome. Very insightful and clear and well-written, and all of it soooo TRUE and inspiring!

  13. Thanks Terri. Interestingly, I sat in the intro to interior design class in college, fully planning to go into Interior Design as my profession. I was so turned off by the professor’s introduction to the world of interior design I decided I’d rather self study design than major in it in the traditional way! It was so stiff and formal and complicated, I guess I am a romantic artist and nester at heart and didn’t want all the rules. I was ahead of my time, I guess — I knew Pillow Fluffing was way more fun and suited to most people’s needs and budgets, but there were few of those out there (I actually didn’t know of ANY at the time). It was a choice I made early on, and while designers who DO have their degree have so much to offer (and I applaud their education in design), I have been a passionate student of real-life design for my entire life. I am much more suited to what I do. We all have our niche. Thanks for you sweet comments!

  14. Valerie Says:


    I love, love, love your blog and enjoyed your textures slideshow. Very creative!

    As for the mean lady………..oh well, you know your value and she does too, and is probably a little worried that you’re in her sandbox!

    Keep doing what you have been. Good things come to good people!

    Valerie (a fellow, pillow fluffer)

  15. Gee, I never heard of the term before but I think it’s cute! I agree it would be a lovely name for a design business. I’m glad you didn’t let that woman with the attitude get to you. It’s wonderful that you took it as a positve, because that’s what it really is.

    You’re so on the money with your observation about not being able to see your space/things in a new way cause you’re used to it. It’s good to be able to get a “fresh” eye to come in to give you suggestions.

    That’s very generous of you to offer to consult for free. I’m sure you’ll be inundated with photos. I really appreciated your suggestions for my foyer. I may send you pics of my living room!

    Loved your top ten ideas! I’m going to check out your Magazine Cover-itis post (I only peeked at it before).


  16. I bet that lady cant write like you do! I too have never heard of a “pillow fluffer” but I love it! Your blog is fabulous!! Im down in the Salem area…and you?

  17. Barbara Says:

    All pillow fluffers unite and indulge in the chocolate. I am a chocoholic (Belgian Chocolate)but I do usually man age to keep to just 2 chocs a night. Moderation is the key for me.
    Hope I manage to catch your 100th post.

  18. Good for you! The nerve of that woman! While she may be an interior designer, she apparently lacks in other areas!

  19. chris Says:

    Pillow fluffer, not nice, I am so glad you took it back,good for you.

  20. Esther Sunday Says:

    Still fuming… she needs a good spanking.

  21. Dear Pillow Fluffer, 🙂

    I love the list. Makes me want to go out and buy some “ta da” for a few corners of my house. I get it! I always buy clothing for ta da such as a funky license plate purse, or a unique coat, or awesome cowboy boots, rather than buying for volume. But when it comes to the house, I buy myriads of trinkets and few outstanding pieces. I’ll keep reading, and I’ll learn.

  22. Adriann Says:

    Melissa, thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog. I so appreciate your kind comments.

    I also appreciate your idea list. I’m not the best when it comes to home design and can glean a lot from ladies like yourself.

    Thanks for sharing your tips and I may even take a picture of a corner I have that I don’t know what to do with.


  23. Trudi M Says:

    New to your site. Love your humor. I must use your pillow fluffer tips. Man some people can be snobs.
    Good for you to look at with humor. I’ll be back, I put you in my favs.

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