What are the best types of pillows to use?

Hi there! My husband and I are planning to open our first vacation rental next month (a private apartment attached to a new home we are buying), so I am busy researching the details to try to get off on the right foot from the start. I’ve been reading so many great discussions on this wonderful forum, but this is my first post. I searched and didn’t see this answered before. I am wondering what is your preference for pillows? I know some people prefer down, while some people are allergic to down, and others may prefer to avoid animal byproducts. I know some people love memory foam, while others may find it hot. Some people like thick, fluffy pillows, while an overly thick pillow may cause neck aches for some people. I am looking for a great value that will please most of the people most of the time. What are your thoughts/preferences? THANKS!

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Welcome to Airbnb and one of hosts’ biggest problems; trying to accommodate every guests’ taste. I would get synthetic filled pillows, not down because of allergies and not memory foam because of the heat. I would get most of them medium softness, maybe one soft and one hard if you have room to store extras. I know that you can cover down pillows, but my husband is allergic to down and despite doctor assurances that the covers work he doesn’t trust them.


I just got my first pillow complaint! Since I have 2 pillows that match the sheets and two pillows that match the duvet cover, I have 4 different types of pillows. Down, latex foam (the thickest or highest pillow), a really soft synthetic squishy pillow that flattens and the last one is a more standard, inexpensive pillow (the kind that come in sets of 2 at TJ Maxx or Marshalls.) I didn’t plan it, this was just the assortment of pillows that I ended up purchasing and between the 4 of these, hopefully people will find one that they’re comfortable with for a few nights.


We jug got the Nest easy breather pillows via the promo and they are great!!

Like @chicagohost we have an assortment of the 2 packa from Home Goods/Costco. I tend to go with higher end onea RL/Tommy Bahama/etc. Howver, we do have a few of the more expensive Ikea pillows, and those always get the biggest compliments. Go figure.

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I’m not nuts about the Nest pillows. I want to love them but just don’t. I have a budget priced place so I don’t want to spend a fortune on pillows.

I will send you some Ikea ones :wink::wink:


I bought Ikea synthetic ones - they’re inexpensive, easy to wash, and do the job fine. I haven’t had any complaints. One thing that does happen, as they wear, they become less “air” and more solid and pliable - so you end up with some being firmer & thinner than others - which works well as I put the two airiest ones on the bed and the other two are the spares left in the hallway for guests wanting extra pillows.

I also happen to have cushions on the armchairs, and occasionally guests use those on the beds, I assume the ones who like very firm pillows.

For context, I am not of the “penthouse” price range but I am certainly not budget-priced.

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I’ve ended up throwing all my IKEA medium pillows out, they get too out of shape and go lumpy and you can’t stuff them in the pillow case! The firm ones from IKEA are great though. Otherwise I have bought mid range, mediums from department store. I have 2 beds, a king & double, each has 4 pillows (2 form, 2 softer) & one square euro cushion on each bed. Nobody has ever complained. I throw them out every 2 years for hygiene reasons and double pillow case them.

How long did the IKEA mediums last you, Emily? The less-airy ones I have are about two years old, which is about the time I expect to replace them anyway (if I remember correctly, they were only 7 euro each, so I’m not too upset about that kind of lifespan). I also have to occasionally massage them into shape by now, so I know what you mean. Good to know that the firm ones hold up better though!

Are they too stuffed? When we got our latex pillows for ourselves few years ago, we had to take out a lot of filling to make it flatter. I think k9 might have talked about doing this with her nest pillows?

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Thanks for all your comments! I have given it some thought, and I think I have decided on the pillows I intend to get.

First, I had to decide on the pillow size.

Queen-sized pillows are 30 inches wide, so two of them will perfectly fit the width of a queen-sized bed, so that was my preference. However, I also read that queen-sized pillow cases are not as commonly available relative to standard-sized pillows. So I first confirmed the availability of queen-sized pillow cases to go with the sheets I’d previously picked out, then confirmed my decision to get queen-sized pillows.

On another thread (Things Guests Request in Private Feedback), I read that three forum members said that guests had requested four or more pillows on a queen-sized bed. And I agree that four pillows seem more luxurious and will give a better experience when sitting up in bed, so that’s how many I’ll get.
Since I’m going to get four pillows, that allows me the chance to get two different types of pillows – some more firm for propping up with and some more soft for cuddling with. It is my hope that the variety will enable each guest to use what works best for him/her.

For the two firmer pillows that will go in the back, I believe I am going to order 100% cotton Tommy Bahama down alternative pillows (two pack for $37). At the moment, their reviews are an average of 4.2 out of five stars (nine reviews), with comments on how they are plump and hold their shape. Below is the link:

For the two softer pillows that will go in the front, I believe I am going to order Sleep Oasis bamboo pillows ($40 each). Their current reviews are an average of 4.9 out of five stars (17 reviews), with comments from many reviewers about the best sleep they’ve had in years. Below is the link:

For the rest of my bedding, I have ordered two sets (ready to swap out quickly), along with a few spares (ready for stained/damaged bedding). However, since the pillows are a bit more pricey, and I haven’t been able to feel them for myself, I am intending to only purchase these initial four pillows. If a pillow gets damaged, I can get a quick replacement at a local shop. Once I have more experience with these pillows, I’ll know whether I’d like to purchase a few extras to have on hand.

Please let me know if you have any input on the above. Next, I’m going to research pillow covers and mattress covers.

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For the pillow protectors, I have selected Haoran 100% cotton zippered pillow protectors that say they are dust mite and bed bug proof (two pack for $16). They have two five-star reviews. I intend to get three packs so that will be six protectors. That will give me one for each pillow in use and two spares in case I need to swap some out. Here is the link:

For the mattress protector, I intend to get SafeRest hypoallergenic, vinyl-free, waterproof mattress protectors for $30 each. This product has an average of 4.6 out of five stars with a whopping 17,000+ reviews. I intend to get two in case for when I need to swap them out. Here is that link:

If you have any feedback on this, I’m all ears. Otherwise, perhaps this info will save others some research time. I’ll comment again later if I have any opinions on my selected pillows or the protectors after I’ve had them awhile.

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I have 6 different pillows in my rental. I am one of those people who can’t sleep if the pillow isn’t right. And I have to have two, one for my head, one between my knees. The main two on the bed are from Nest and are the foam and polyfill. One is organic the other is not. I did take enough filling out of them to make a third pillow. In the shams I have two synthetic fill flatter pillows with pillow covers and pillow cases inside the shams. On a shelf I have two older down/feather pillows. Those were the original two I started with. I’d actually gotten compliments and no complaints on those. They are all covered with cotton aller-ease pillow covers. I have a low priced room and most people are driving through and just stop for the night. I wouldn’t buy the most expensive of anything. Things get damaged and even stolen. I was surprised to see that someone took one of my pillows from the sham and replaced it with their old ones.

I didn’t put a waterproof mattress cover on my new mattress but I have two polyester fill covers on it and I think I’m going to get one more layer to put on the bottom. I bought a highly rated waterproof cover but I found it to be slightly crinkly and hot. I live in a hot climate maybe I’m just one of those people who are overly sensitive to these things.


I had never heard of Nest pillows before people started answering on this thread. I Googled it and assume you are talking about pillows from NestBedding.com. Looks like they have six types, ranging from $49 to $149. However, from what I’ve read, it seems that the construction (at least of their featured Easy Breather model at $99) is very similar to the bamboo pillows from Sleep Oasis that I mentioned above ($40 each). I think I’ll give the Sleep Oasis ones a try and see how it goes. :slight_smile:

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Joining the thread late again… I put 2 pillows out for each guest, one sort of standard polyfiber fill, and another is a cooling gel memory foam. In the closet is another set which is the squishy kind, but I haven’t noticed that anyone uses them. There are also shams that have the firmer polyfill again, I supposed people could use these for sitting up in bed. So far I haven’t had anything get damaged, but I’m not as busy as some of the other hosts here, and also tend to have guests who stay for 4-5 days so it’s not constant turnover.

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Some of the more active members on this forum were able to get a Nest Mattress and two Easy Breather pillows sent to us for free. The quid pro quo is that we had to put them in our rental, picture them in our airbnb profile and put a referral card in the rental. That’s why several of us have Nest.

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I am surprised they didn’t offer 4 pillows per bed.


@KKC Did you get a referral card? I did not.

Ask Josh for a code. Also. They have a referral program they want you to sign up for. That’s apparently different from our own host codes to get credit for any beds that are purchased.

Our rental sleeps two people in a queen bed. We supply two pillows per side. Two are cheap and soft, the other two are harder and more expensive. All have pillow protectors. When guests leave, I invariably find that the harder pillows (the more expensive ones) are uppermost.

In our reviews we have comments such as ‘the best sleep I’ve ever had’ and ‘I slept like a baby’ so I believe that giving an option is a good thing.