The Little Secret to Perfectly Fluffed Hotel-Like Pillows

Updated: Nov. 04, 2022

We're breaking down the foolproof method for you to get hotel-grade pillows at home.


If there’s one small detail that can transform a room, it’s the way your pillows look. Flat pillows make your furniture appear noticeably tired, whereas clean and fluffy ones immediately brighten and lift your space. Nothing screams luxury like perfectly crisp pillows, so we’ve created this step-by-step guide on how to achieve them.

Before getting started in the plumping process, it’s important to invest in the right kind of pillows. Goose feathers and down are easily fluffed, and memory foam naturally stands upright, so you won’t have to worry about any of these collapsing once you get them into position. Older pillows that have lost much of their filling will need to be replaced, as they’re likely to sag.

If your goose or down pillows haven’t been cleaned in a while, run them through a washing machine so they’re sanitized and smell great. They’ll also come out of the dryer with a much fuller body.

On top of your bare pillows, it’s essential to use pillow protectors. Not only do pillow protectors extend the life of your pillows by shielding them from natural oils and dust mites, they also create a smoother, brighter appearance beneath their shams. And what’s the point of fluffing crinkled pillows? A smooth facade is the gorgeous, hotel ideal we’re aiming for.

Smooth pillow protectors should be accompanied by seamless shams. To get the true hotel look, you may need to steam or iron your pillowcases. Ironing pillowcases and shams is the best way to get those crisp, professional lines you love to see in hotel rooms.

When you have the right pillows dressed in their pillow protectors, it’s time to get hands-on. To get the hotel look, mirror hotel practice. A housekeeper will begin by vertically folding a pillow in half, then sliding it into a clean, ironed sham. When the pillow unfolds, it should fit inside its cover like a glove, filling all the available space.

Next, lay the pillow down and aggressively flatten it. Place your hands down in the center of the pillow, then drag them in opposite directions, pushing all the air out. Repeat this flattening motion until your pillow looks perfectly rectangular with its feathers evenly distributed.

Now you’re ready to position your perfectly fluffed pillows. Gently hold each pillow with your hands on opposite sides (you don’t want to handle them roughly, or you’ll ruin all your hard work!) and stand them parallel to your headboard. The pillows should be so airy that they stand upright on their own, without needing to lean against the headboard.

Once your pillows are looking as fluffed as marshmallows, move on and do the same in every bedroom in your house.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest