A Perfectly Chopped Pillow

I’ll be the first to admit I have a few quirks (zip it, mom!). I’ll straighten a crooked picture in public spaces, can’t go to bed until the house is perfectly tidy, overhaul a closet after simply opening the door, and I’m completely incapable of leaving a throw pillow un-chopped!

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You know the routine…fluff the pillow, put it in place, then give the top a perfect karate chop right in the middle. Wow, that sounds seriously OCD. It’s not like I’d repeat the process if the chop wasn’t right. I lie. I totally do would.

So you can imagine my distress when my red Target pillows refused to chop!

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Those babies were so tightly stuffed, my karate hand would fly back in my face.

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And forget trying to sit on the sofa…the pillow was like a spring board. Although it was kind of funny to watch guests struggle to get comfortable, while being propelled forward.

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The solution came in the form of an Ikea $6 down insert (posted about them here). Since the pillow cover wasn’t removable, it never occurred to me I could change the insert. Turns out, all I had to do was rip open a seam, and replace the 78 pounds of polyester filling with a down insert. Then…..wait for it…..a simple whip-stitch closed the cover back up. Yes, it is the end of time…I used a needle and thread! (Figuring out buttons is next!)

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Now all is right in my world because my pillows are perfectly chopped.

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It might seem like a small and insignificant change (okay, many of you might not even notice it), but I think the pillows look more custom and expensive now.

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Do you upgrade your pillow inserts? Better yet…let’s poll and see who’s a chopper!! Do you prefer your pillows with the perfect pinch in the top, or all plain and straight?

(Red pillows: Target; Green silk: West Elm; Blue zig zag: Missoni for Target)

And even though this wasn’t on the list, it still applies towards completing the Living Room Makeover!! Happy weekend, lovebugs!

Paint Hall Chest
Paint/Wallpaper Nook Walls
Paint Backdoor (decided against it)
Add Nailhead to Wingchair
Sand & Stain Secretary
Gold Leaf Back of Secretary

Leave a Comment


  1. Love this Cassie! I do the same thing and have even been known to chop a few pillows at my friends homes. Oops! Have a great weekend!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  2. I love mine perfectly straight and stood up on end like a diamond. I'm a little OCD about making mine look just so as well. I never thought to chop.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  3. Fine House wrote:

    I may try the chop to see what I think, since yours looks so nice! Great idea on changing out the insert.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  4. We all have little quirks. I have also been known to completely empty a closet organize it at the complete wrong time. What a great idea to switch out the insert on the pillow!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  5. So funny…I have the Target red pillow and when I saw your first image, before reading, I thought, "There's no way my pillow would chop. How'd she do that?!" Aren't you a smartie?! Agreed, it looks a million times better when it's choppable.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  6. You're hilarious! I wish I had to tidy the house before I went to bed! That would probably make my mornings easier.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  7. HI-YA! (That was karate talk)! Right there with you. I would so add 'Change out pillow inserts' to my list, and cross it off! Thanks, adding to my Ikea list! πŸ™‚

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  8. It never occurred to me to replace the innards of too stiff pillows..and I love Ikea insert. They are so inexpensive and chopable. Thanks for the idea!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  9. Yep, this is why we would be real-life friends πŸ™‚ I am also OCD about chopping. I remember that Caroline, my three-year-old, used to laugh her head off when she was a baby while she would watch me chop pillows. . . I guess she thought I was hurting them.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  10. I'm not a chopper. I like my pillows straight. My hubby with chop them and then I have to fix all the pillows. I just have the opposite OCD then you do and all the pillows have to be straight. πŸ™‚

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  11. Blair wrote:

    Why would you chop a perfectly good pillow? I can't help it – the straight picture looked FAR better to me.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  12. Niki wrote:

    I'm honestly not a big fan of the chop. I prefer my pillows to be straight.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  13. Ok so maybe this is because I'm new to the whole interior design thing but I'd never even heard of chopping pillows. I prefer them stood up on end like a diamond too because it doesn't look quite so staged, and more relaxed. But I will admit those chopped cushions do look very huggable.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  14. Lindsay wrote:

    This is really funny I'm actually a chopper from the sides. I just think my pillows look better than frm the top.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  15. Chardawneh wrote:

    Chopped looks too intentional and staged. I prefer straight for a more relaxed and inviting room.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  16. You seriously just solved the riddle of why I'm just not happy with my living room pillows! I always chop my down insert pillows, but it never even clicked that the non-down inserts on my couch was the problem. Thank you!
    PS I love the color combination on your sofa and it definitely looks better with the red pillows chopped!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  17. lindley wrote:

    Whether you chop or not isn't the issue – its the rigid uninviting poly inserts. Not a single pillow in my house that doesnt have a down insert…pillows are supposed to be smooshy, not like rigid little look-at-me soldiers…they are PILLOWS, after all…look up the definition. I'm with you re the down – always

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  18. Now I know why my Target pillows don't chop! Looks like I need to make a trip to Ikea! My husband always asks me what I am doing when I start chopping at our pillows. He obviously doesn't appreciate a good, chopped pillow πŸ™‚


    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  19. Completely tidy before bed?! I wish I did that! Your pillows look awesome. I love hearing these little bits about you!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  20. Melissa wrote:

    I am advid chopper! I even chop other peoples' pillows, is that wrong?! ;0)

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  21. Amanda wrote:

    Amen to chopped pillows! and Down inserts are your best friend. Another trick I use is buy the insert 2" larger than the pillow and you'll get that fluffed full designer look. "hi-ya" (in my best chopping Asian voice)

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  22. haha what?! I like em straight. {twss}

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  23. Delaney wrote:

    Love the pillow fabrics!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  24. I'm not a huge fan of chopped pillows. I fluff em up and leave them straight.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  25. lol, i laughed at the hand flying back in your face bit.
    Pillows look great!

    Jan @Door251

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  26. Sarah wrote:

    Oh man, I love a good set of chopped pillows. The hubs request my chopping techniques when we have company over. He says, 'can you do that thing with the pillows?'

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  27. AGohl wrote:

    Too funny. I am the exact opposite. It drives me crazy if I cannot get my pillows perfectly straight across!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  28. Melissa Comeford wrote:

    There was actually a funny episode of the Real Housewives of the OC a few years back (guilty pleasure) where crazy Vicki tried to teach her college age son how to chop pillows before a house showing! I'm ashamed to admit that I thought "Vicki, you are ON to something", and have been a chopper ever since!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  29. this post just cracks me up! πŸ™‚ I'm not a chopper, lucky to have pillows on the couch w/my three little munchkins. somehow they are always on the ground. i've got to tell you i'm loving your mix of colors and patterns in the pillows. i'm trying to do a family room refresh right now and hoping to mix it up a bit like this. have a great weekend!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  30. WE are so similar! I tidy before bed and have to have the pillows chopped as well. I replace all of my inexpensive inserts with down ones. So much better and then they have a nice weight to them.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  31. Greta wrote:

    I wish you had posted this about two weeks ago! I never thought about redoing the inserts. I have seen them with the stuffing and passed them up because I felt it made them look cheap. I just bought fabric to make them myself, it would have been much easier to just replace the insert. Chopped or straight across they all look better with the down insert!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  32. I like the chop! I'm not one to make sure they're perfect all the time, but when I do straighten them, I do them like yours! I use to buy any old pillow as long as I liked the cover… regardless of filler. But I've learned my lesson! Down is so much more comfortable, and I agree- looks much more custom as well. Great job, I think it makes a difference πŸ™‚ Maybe you can come over tonight and tidy up before bedtime? And there's probably a closet or two that could use your touch… don't worry, I'll give you a bowl of ice cream to make up for your time πŸ™‚

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  33. Allison B. wrote:

    Ha ha ha! I have those same red pillows and it drives me crazy that they are so stiff! As a former model home designer I have OCD when it comes to karate chopping pillows. I still hadn't cut the tags off of my Target pillows because I wasn't sure if I 'love' them but I think with new inserts they will be keepers for sure! Thanks!

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  34. Jen Gilday wrote:

    I did the same thing to my Target pillows! Added a down insert – and a zipper. http://athomeinthenorthwestblog.com/2012/06/adding-a-zipper-to-a-pillow.html

    LOVE those red Target pillows!! So pretty! Not sure how I missed those in the store.


    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  35. Okay, I'll confess that I'm not a chopper…but dang it if my pillows *MUST* be fluffed and in place or that crazy twitch starts! (c: Seriously, I cannot stand those poly filled numbers and it has previously prevented me from getting some pillows I loved…not any more! You werked it out for me, girl…oh yes, it's a "werk" not a "work", it's that cool.

    Posted 9.7.12 Reply
  36. Helen wrote:

    I personally don't understand what the attraction is to a chopped pillow. Is it an aesthetics thing? I'm not a fan of the look b/c it seems like someone just plopped the pillow back on the couch w/o straightening them BUT will admit the before shot with your unchoppable Target pillows paired with the chopped ones did look nice. It had balance πŸ™‚

    Honestly – its whatever floats your boat that should matter most πŸ™‚

    BTW: I saw that RHOC episode of neurotic Vicki pillow chopping too – she does it more then once.

    Posted 9.8.12 Reply
  37. I'm SO with you – down filling beats poly hands down. Happy weekend, Cassie! xo

    Posted 9.8.12 Reply
  38. Nathan and I are both OCD about fixing the pillows on the couch … as soon as one of us sees there is no one on the sofa, we will run right over and re fluff and get them just right. I like to put a little chop in them:)…Nathan likes them straight, but lately I have noticed he has been putting a little chop in the top:) I'm not sure if he is starting to like them that way or if he does it just because he knows I like them that way… either way I'm just glad he care enough to fix them πŸ™‚

    Posted 9.9.12 Reply
  39. That's awesome – I'm OCD like this too and it's good to know others have these thoughts too and that the solution was from Ikea. Love that place (well, their stuff, maybe not the experience of shopping there)!

    Anyways, wanted to let you know that I made a little list of some of my most favorite blogs for inspiring organizing ideas and pictures and tips and I included YOU on the list! It's meant to be a compliment and I added your button with a link to your blog – you can see it all here. Thanks for providing me with lots of inspiration! : )

    -Mel the Crafty Scientist

    Posted 9.9.12 Reply
  40. Bobi wrote:

    I'm a serial pillow chopper. My husband thinks I'm crazy:)

    Posted 9.9.12 Reply
  41. So funny! I've never been a pillow chopper, but I may have to get my husband to read this post, just so he knows there is someone out there more OCD than me πŸ˜‰

    Posted 9.10.12 Reply
  42. bethanygp wrote:

    You are hilarious. I don't karate chop my throw pillows because mine are like your red ones originally- completely unable to be chopped. πŸ™‚ I love what you did, though; I do think it looks more uniform now. You've got some great throw pillows on that couch!

    Posted 9.10.12 Reply
  43. Anonymous wrote:

    I, too, am not a fan of the chopped pillow. I am a fan of your blog, though!

    Posted 9.10.12 Reply
  44. so funny – I chop the one on my bed, but not the ones on the couch… I'll have to try it now.. enjoyed reading all the comments HA!

    Posted 9.11.12 Reply
  45. Jennifer H wrote:

    I just about choked on my lunch reading this! So funny…I actually liked the before pic better because of the variations in the pillows. They look like cat ears sticking up after chopping. I like that I am not the only person with crazy habits πŸ™‚

    Posted 9.11.12 Reply
  46. Stork1 wrote:

    Love the red Target pillow and it made me notice the bookshelves, again!
    I like my pillows chopped but not as severely as yours! I just give them a little smack down so they are not stiff looking!
    Love your humor πŸ™‚
    ~ Darlene

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  47. I am giggling like a little girl. Another reason why I love your guts.


    Posted 9.19.12 Reply
  48. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your living room. Love the colors on your sofa, Love the wallpapered bookcase, and Love how the bookcase is styled.
    LOVE everything.

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply