1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Emma Gardner pillows
Emma Gardner Designs, LLC
Deep into 2008, Marisa Belger finds that throw pillows are anything but dorky.
TODAY contributor
updated 6/23/2008 4:46:48 PM ET 2008-06-23T20:46:48

There may come a time when you find yourself desperately in need of something you were pretty sure you’d never desperately need: the ultimate throw pillow. That’s right, throw pillows.

Available in an endless variety of sizes, colors and textures, the square, rectangle — even cylindrical — cushions can turn the average couch or bed into a lounging extravaganza. Make a bit of effort to outfit your home with eco-minded options (those constructed and stuffed with organic cotton or reclaimed materials, colored with toxin-free dyes and so on) and you will take your pillow experience to the next level.

I admit that it took me some time to come to terms with my need for these seemingly frivolous home accessories (at first utter there is something deeply uncool about the term “throw pillow”), but I recently purchased an extremely bare new couch and can’t deny the furniture’s calling for pillow accoutrement. I’ve been researching my options for months and have discovered — aha! — that deep into 2008, throw pillows are anything but dorky. In fact, they’re incredibly exciting mini-canvases that showcase the creativity of some of the world's best designers. Really.

I’ve yet to commit to a single pillow, but these are the ones that have me — and are keeping me — inspired. And why stop at the couch? A throw pillow can provide some essential lumbar support on a desk chair or, if significantly sized, extra seating on the living room floor.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. ‘Closer than 3 brothers:’ 2 Marysvile victims were cousins of gunman

      Two of the four teens injured during Friday's school shooting in Marysville, Washington, were cousins of the attacker Jayl...

    2. These are the best Halloween TV movies and specials to watch
    3. Dr. Rick Sacra: Mandatory Ebola quarantines could backfire
    4. Marysville student witness: 'Everyone was shocked' in cafeteria during shooting
    5. Utah town celebrates Halloween, Christmas early for little boy dying of leukemia

I dig the handcrafted look and feel of Balanced Design’s 16” x 16” pillows (this is probably because they are actually silk-screened by hand). The simple graphic prints are dyed with water-based inks in blue, brown or green and are available in an eco-conscious hemp/linen blend or 100 percent linen. I'm partial to “Shade,” a design that looks like an abstract take on leaves. While you’re picking out a pillow, don’t miss out on the organic cotton totes — one of these can serve as a snazzy upgrade to the average beach bag.

Emma Gardner scores extra green points by designing striking (hot pink, teal, red — no pastels here) pillows made from "Sensuede," a synthetic suede made from 50 percent recycled polyester. I’m not sure where Gardner gets her material, but it’s fun to imagine a butterfly-collared shirt from the ’70s reincarnated into a sexy throw pillow.

Want to go more DIY? Make the throw pillow of your dreams with a quick visit to Freddy & Ma’s customizable pillow page. Pick your shape (12” x 12” x 4”; 12” x 17”; or 17” x 17” x 4”), choose your pattern and then see how they work together before purchasing. Playing with the patterns (kelly green with navy anchors? Red-and-blue tie-dye?) is reason enough to visit Freddy & Ma’s site, but the pillows’ eco-friendly filling is motivation to buy. Each pillow is stuffed with kapok, a fiber from the silk-cotton tree that’s a natural alternative to synthetic fillings and a great substitute for people with allergies to down.

Those who would readily choose a good old sleeping pillow over a throw pillow aren’t without eco-options. I’m completely smitten with Polver Organic’s dual-sided organic cotton pillowcases. Polver’s fabric is block-printed by hand, which makes every inch unique. Look for playful combinations like brown leaves and confetti (a different pattern on each side of the pillow) or yellow roses and blue waves. You have my blessing to throw these pillows anywhere.

Marisa Belger is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience covering health and wellness. She was a founding editor of Lime.com, a multiplatform media company specializing in health, wellness and sustainable living. Marisa also collaborated with Josh Dorfman on “The Lazy Environmentalist” (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang), a comprehensive guide to easy, stylish green living.

Please note: Neither Marisa Belger nor TODAYshow.com has been compensated by the manufacturers or their representatives for her comments or selection of products reviewed in this column.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. TODAY

    video Utah town celebrates holidays early for little boy fighting leukemia

    10/25/2014 6:37:54 PM +00:00 2014-10-25T18:37:54
  1. TODAY

    video Meet a couple who fell in love, got engaged, on Instagram

    10/25/2014 6:12:18 PM +00:00 2014-10-25T18:12:18
  1. TODAY

    video 'Make a Difference Day' encourages millions to get out and give back

    10/25/2014 2:33:32 PM +00:00 2014-10-25T14:33:32
  1. United Features Syndicate; Evere

    These are the best Halloween TV movies and specials to watch

    10/25/2014 4:21:23 PM +00:00 2014-10-25T16:21:23
  1. Chris Pizzello / AP

    Katy Perry turns 30! 13 times we celebrated singer's colorful style

    10/25/2014 12:39:21 PM +00:00 2014-10-25T12:39:21