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Guests using throw pillows to sleep

At the risk of reviving the great Decorative Pillow Debate of '19:

Does anyone else arrive to do their turnover and find the decorative throw pillows in the bed, freshly slept on? I do, about once a month.

Do guests not realize throw pillows are decorative, or do they find standard pillows uncomfortable? I launder mine after I find them in the bed, but guests are taking a mighty leap of faith that I do so. (Mine don’t have zip-off covers so they are a pain to wash–I know, I know, I should replace them with ones that do.)

This happens often enough that I’d like to know what guests are trying to accomplish so I can provide something more practical, sanitary, and easy to wash. For sleeping, I currently have a pair of soft and pair of firm pillows on the bed, and extra medium pillows in the closet in case Goldilocks comes to stay.

Lesson learned: provide anything pillow-shaped, it will be slept on! In fact, my guests who left today had taken the top off the cushioned ottoman (the kind with a storage compartment inside) and added it to the pile of pillows. I’ve had the ottoman about two years and this was the first time I’ve ever seen it used as bedding.

Yup. Covered in all the usual bodily fluids, and sometimes the unusual bodily fluids, requiring a hygiene wash.

Solution: covers off and a hygiene wash every time.

No biggie, all part of the gig.


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Not these days but I used to when I used decorative pillows which I don’t now, of course.

So I moved the decorative pillows from the bed to the sofa, not wanting to throw them out and definitely not wanting them in my own apartment. But then they were used for napping on. Which means drooling on, etc.)

Hence, goodbye decorative pillows.

On the bed, it’s possible that unless you’ve got a soft fabric headboard, people use them for reading in bed but then doze off. But, and not wishing to return to the debate any more than you do, the things are a nuisance.

Our guests have (each) one hardish pillow and one softer one. After that they are on their own. If they are so fussy that they need to have some special sort of pillow then they should travel with it.

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I have the same set up! Goldilocks, :rofl: good one! I haven’t noticed anyone sleeping on the few throw pillows I provide, the one on the bed usually just ends up on the sofa that is in the room.

It’s at the guests own risk/stupidity if they want to but their head and face on throw pillows? I wouldn’t do that at the Four Seasons!

Wow. Glad to hear that was a first.

When it came time to replace the bed frame a few years ago, I chose a composite-wood headboard that I can spray and wipe. But that explains the use of the throw pillows. Guests must be trying to build one of these out of my pillows:

Now this would be a nightmare to launder in-between guests. They best bring their own, if they aren’t flying in.

My throw-pillows on the couch do have removable covers so they are easier to launder. Relatedly, I got a washable cover for my couch because I was tired of guests sleeping on the couch and having to remove/wash the couch cushion covers.

Agreed! When I stay in a hotel, I toss any decorative pillows in the closet because I assume they’re not laundered often (or ever). I avoid touching the comforter for the same reason. And I usually stay at the Marriott or Hilton, we aren’t talking Motel 8!

When I was a new host, I got some good advice here: don’t make a long list rules based on each weird one-off thing a guest does. Otherwise I would have to add, “don’t bring the furniture into the bed with you” after this stay! :rofl:

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… please don’t leave tomatoes under the ottoman.

I think we had a thread about that some time ago. ‘What rules would you add because of one-off daftness’ or something?

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Just get IKEA covers that fit your existing pillows.

Maybe. I find lots of places have pillows that are too puffy and too stiff. Like a feather/down pillow will compress down to my comfort but a shredded foam one might not. I’ve resorted to stuffing clothes into a pillowcase before.

So I don’t know what’s up with your latest guests.


That thread would be worth reviving. I have some funny ones.

I know, right? Luckily these guests were perfectly agreeable, like 90% of my guests. Just made me scratch my head and go, “what were they thinking?” These were the last guests I needed to get through before I take my break for the rest of January and February. Unless they want to pay 2X my normal winter rates, that is!

@Xena – we have those “bed reading” pillows, and people either use them for reading in bed, for toss them in the corner. Ours have removeable covers…

I’ve noticed that guests have used our shams as pillows. It’s beyond me why they would want to do that. Just like @yecatsr said…I wouldn’t do that even in a five star hotel!

In the instance of shams… since they are meant for decorative purposes only, I used old, worn, lumpy pillows that I’ve had for awhile. Pillows that I certainly wouldn’t want to sleep on.

We provide a mix of soft and firm, nice, new pillows for guests with a few extras in the closet in case they don’t like the ones we have out. Yet I’ve still had guests here and there using the shams :woman_facepalming:t3:

Nothing surprises me anymore that’s for sure!

Okay, everyone knows that I don’t understand American bedding and how it’s supposed to work but am I right in thinking that shams are another name for decorative pillows? It does seem to be an American thing (please tell me if I’m wrong) and I don’t understand having non-sleeping pillows on beds. :crazy_face:


Yes and no. Shams specifically are decorative pillows for the bed and often match the comforter/quilt/duvet cover on the bed. When I think ‘decorative’ pillows I think more along the lines of throw pillows for a couch or something of the like.

I don’t even know if all Americans use the word ‘sham’…haha. I love how this site opens discussions for different terms/words used for things. Thanks for asking me to clarify! :slight_smile:

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Honestly…now that you bring it up…it doesn’t make much sense to me either :rofl:


So do I. We can go off on the most bizarre tangents but they’re always interesting if not a bit nuts. :crazy_face:

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Here it is - it’s pretty old.


@jaquo, @lauren_g is spot-on. For a visual, attached is a picture of my listing’s bed which has a total of 5 pillows

  • (1) decorative pillow (yellow) … Don’t Judge Me! :wink:
  • (2) pillows in pillow cases (in front of the shams)
  • (2) pillows in pillow SHAMs which match / are part of a set with the Duvet cover
    Both the shams and duvet cover are zippered to enclose the pillow or duvet.

I have several sets of sheets, shams, duvet covers so all are laundered between guests.

BTW: ‘tis the season -> I just purchased 2 new sets of everything at MACY’s January sale. … their ‘Hotel Collection’. Great sale: 55% off minus another 15%.
First purchased 3 years ago when I started this AirBNB gig … they’ve held up very well.


Don’t be coy…which ones have held up well? I see multiple TC and cottons: Egyptian, Italian percale…

I bought these exactly 3 years ago, specifically for the AirBNB. I’ve had several guests comment on their comfort and ask me for the details. They are still in good shape and I’m currently using them, but I did notice yesterday one of the fitted sheets has a couple of small pin size holes, so that’s what motivated me to check out finding some replacements.

  • The sheets are the Hotel Collection 525 Thread Count set. I did some screen prints of the online pricing. They list at $250 but with the main sale and all the individual mind boggling additional bonus sales, my price yesterday (in store) was about $98 per set.

  • The Duvet cover and shams are sold individually and are the 680 thread count. Unfortunately they are pricier than the sheets, and I had to order them online because there was only one sham in store.

Caveat: While they may be pricier for some AirBnb’s they do fit into my market segment.


While I’m not in the “market segment” you are I have found value in investing in a good quality sheet. I’m using a Peru Pima sheet (on Amazon and their own website) and they have a guarantee in the small print about “lifetime” against rips or tears. I posted here recently about finding a hole in a pillowcase and they sent me a new set of pillowcases free. They are comparable in price so I’ll probably stick with them.

All that to say…these Macy sheets look like a fair value and I think your recommendation for the Airbnb business is valuable. After buying cheaper sheets and more expensive sheets I’m finding the more expensive to be worth it.

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