I am by no means immune to passing trends. I routinely fall for things that persist on my Pinterest feed, and there are quite a few items in my home that I stare at with regret, because I fell, headfirst, into the trap of a fad. Like many, I did away with all things nickel and chrome in favor of brass and copper, I’m a sucker for neutral-on-neutral tones, and I cannot stop filling all manner of vessels with dried florals.
That said, actively disliking some of these decor and styling trends kind of comes with the territory, so it’s really no surprise that I have opinions on... pillow chopping. That’s right, pillow chopping.
If you’re knitting your brow in confusion, let me show you what I mean:
You see those black and white throw pillows, and how they appear as though someone went all martial-arts on the top? That’s because they did. This look is achieved through fluffing the pillow (it seems to work best with down filling) and literally using your hand to chop down on the top to create an indentation. It’s often the final step in the styling of a bed or couch, be it for a professional photograph or just personal preference for tidiness.
The technique, like many a strange trend, seems to have originated in the 80’s, a time when people also thought teal and salmon were ideal interior colors. Says my friend, Will Taylor (interior designer and bestselling author, “all I can see on a ‘chopped’ pillow is Madonna’s cone bra from her ‘Vogue’ era. That was iconic. In pillow form, it is not. Period!”
Why am I riled up about this now, when the world is going through enough turmoil? For one, I’d sometimes rather focus on the minutiae of interior decorating to distract my brain. But two, I recently binge-watched the entirety of Dream Home Makeover (a delightfully light-hearted home renovation show I recommend), and saw Shea McGee of McGee & Co. repeatedly chop the tops of throw pillows. She even taught her daughters—the next generation of pillow-choppers—how to master this styling trick.
I thought to myself: “wait, is pillow-chopping cool again?”
Perhaps it is, but... not in my home. I think some of my distaste stems from my gravitation towards rooms that feel friendly and lived-in, as opposed to more formal decor. For me, a chopped pillow conjures memories of off-limits living rooms with covers on the nice couches and a foreboding sense of “don’t bring your snack in there.” I’m nervous just thinking about it.
The formality of the chop also seems to make things nerve-racking for guests, who aren’t sure of the rules & regs. Says senior editor, Arati Menon: “I recently went to a friend’s home where all the pillows on the couch were chopped. As I uncomfortably settled into them, I could only think of one thing: Was I supposed to re-chop them when I got up to leave? What’s the protocol here?” Turns out, she awkwardly chopped them all when she got up, with a lingering worry she didn’t do it right.
Like anything we do in our homes, though, it’s all a matter of personal preference. While I can rant about pillow chopping and mason jars as drinkware till I’m blue in the face, what I’d love to know is… where do you stand on this very important debate? Should pillow-chopping have stayed in the 80’s?