What is a Bolster?

A bolster is a long, narrow pillow or cushion filled with cotton, down, or fiber.


A bolster, in the context of interior design, refers to a type of decorative pillow or cushion that is distinguished by its long, cylindrical shape. Unlike traditional square or rectangular pillows, bolsters typically have a firm consistency and are often used to provide support or add a decorative touch to a bed, sofa, or chair. They can range in size and are commonly filled with materials like cotton, down, or synthetic fiber, depending on their intended use and desired firmness. Bolsters are versatile accessories in the interior design realm, as they can complement various design styles and add a touch of elegance or comfort to any space.

Historically, bolsters have been used for centuries as a supportive device for the head or neck while sleeping. Today, bolsters continue to serve functional purposes but are also valued for their aesthetic appeal. They can be upholstered in a wide variety of textiles and upholstery, featuring everything from simple solid colors to intricate patterns, to match or accentuate the interior décor of a room. Additionally, the cylindrical shape of a bolster makes it a unique element in room arrangements, offering a contrast to the more common shapes of square or rectangular pillows.


Bolsters are commonly found in bedrooms, where they can be strategically placed on beds to offer additional support or serve as accent pieces. In living rooms, bolsters can be used on sofas or armchairs to provide lumbar support or enhance the seating arrangement's aesthetics. In more traditional or eclectic interior designs, bolsters can also be seen in daybeds, chaise lounges, and even outdoor seating areas, showcasing their versatility across different spaces and design styles.


  • What is the primary function of a bolster in interior design?

    While bolsters can serve practical functions such as providing support for the head, neck, or back, their primary function in interior design is often decorative, adding a unique aesthetic touch to bedroom and living room arrangements.

  • Can bolsters be customized?

    Absolutely, bolsters can be customized in terms of size, filling, and textiles and upholstery. This allows them to be perfectly tailored to match or contrast with the overall interior design scheme and personal preferences.

  • Are bolsters suitable for all design styles?

    Yes, due to their simple yet distinctive shape and versatility in upholstery options, bolsters can suit a wide range of design styles, from modern and minimalist to traditional and eclectic.

Practical Application

When incorporating bolsters into an interior design scheme, consider their color, pattern, and texture in relation to the existing décor to ensure a cohesive look. Bolsters can be strategically placed to provide both comfort and visual appeal, so think about their placement in terms of balance and symmetry. Additionally, selecting the appropriate filling will ensure they fulfill their intended purpose, whether it's for support or purely decorative.