Fuzzy Pillows from a Surprising Source

By Kate Riley January 14, 2010

Judging from yesterday’s comments, there are faux fur haters and there are faux fur lovers, and not much in between.  If the former is you, please come back tomorrow because you will simply detest my latest creation.

I happen to fall into the latter category – I am a lover of faux fur, just as long as it is used in very small doses and in a chic and casual way.

These days, it’s not just faux fur on my mind, but texture.  Soft texture.  Interesting and different texture.  Like this little pillow I created out of the most surprising source.

shag pillow in living room

I was strolling through Bed, Bath & Beyond, searching for some new towels when I came across a looped contour bathroom mat in a natural hue.  Yes, I said bathroom mat.  As I admired its softness and not-so-hideous fibers, I was immediately transported to my Napa getaway last fall, and our room at the Solage Resort in Calistoga where I fell in love with this textured accent pillow.


Then I also remembered these fun and funky shag Remy pillows from Crate + Barrel.

crate and barrel remy pillow

crate and barrel remy trio

Then I thought, “Dang, this incredibly soft and delightfully textured contour bath mat would make a really great pillow.”

Now I know what you’re thinking.  A bath mat ?

She can’t be serious.  This is a joke, right ?

Because this is what I think of whenever I hear the word “bath mat”.

rose bath mat sears

Can I get a collective “Ewwwww”  ?


So I turned the corner, and low and behold, next to the stacks of tacky bath mats, were the softest acrylic faux fur accent rugs I’d ever seen.  On sale.  I fondled them.  And fondled them.  Then I thought to myself, “Dang, these amazingly soft faux fur rugs would make really great pillows.”

So I brought them home.*  If you could feel these through your computer screen, you’d have done it too.  Soft doesn’t begin to describe.

*Faux fur rugs with coupon = $19; contour rug with coupon = $12

accent rugs

Believe me, if you’d have told me a week ago I’d be making pillows out of bath mats and accent rugs, I’d have laughed uncontrollably, then buried my head in shame and embarrassment under a real pillow for days.

But sometimes, inspiration comes from the strangest sources.

My fuzzy faux fur pillows, made from (sssssshhhh) accent rugs:

faux fur white pillow

brown bear throw pillow

I swear to you, if I’d have seen these faux fur pillows on the other side of the store, in the pillow section for the same price, I would have bought them without hesitation.

They are Just. So. Incredibly. Soft.

I’ve never forgotten this fuzzy pillow, partnered with a rich silk pillow, in a master bedroom designed by Candice Olsen years ago.


candice olsen lofty lounge crop


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see ?

I see an accent rug looking at me.

accent rug throw pillow

Crazy, isn’t it.

A few slow spins around the sewing machine and some $5 dollar stuffing were the only tricks to making these faux fur pillows.  I was able to use my sewing machine because the backside was not rubber, but rather a soft thin suede-like backing.

suede like backing

The looped mat was way too thick for my sewing machine, so I hand stitched it with decorator needles and embroidery thread while I watched American Idol.  It took about 15 minutes.

contour rug

shag pillow

At first I had the white cutie perfectly posed in the guest suite for snuggling.

white faux fur pillow in guest house

faux fur white throw pillow

Then it was commandeered by my teenager.

teenagers room

Then stolen by my five year old for her own purposes.

doggie on pillow

I might need to buy another accent rug, but I’m a little afraid.  I think it’s important when accessorizing with faux fur to exercise extreme discretion, lest your space end up looking it has been decorated by a pimp.

I also need to be very careful decorating with bath mats, lest I end up featured like this celebrity. Have you read this blog focused on bad celebrity fashion ?  I spent an hour laughing.  It’s harsh, it’s brilliant, you must visit.


  1. You ought to see me in Goodwill in the pj, robe and sweater area….rubbing on fabric..and eying it like candy..for re-make jobs..I know they Looovvee it when I come in..I can see them with their popcorn and viewing the tapes at a later time…lol Your pillows are so plush on the screen..I can imagine in your home they are very appealing to everyone!! Keep it up!!

  2. You know it’s a good thing when your kids commandeer it, b/c they only ever take the best stuff. ;) Love the shot with the stuffed dog. Was wondering how you were going to get your machine to sew through the back of a mat, but I guess it worked out well, huh? Great job!

    I about fell out of my chair laughing at the “Go Fug Yourself” site. I scrolled back several pages b/c I couldn’t believe how funny it was. :)

  3. I am a friend of the faux fur – I am blown away by your creativity! A BATH MAT – who would ever think. Simply amazing. Love your sense of humor too. All the best, Lori

  4. Oh my gosh, I love these! And what a great idea to use bath mats! I’m going to IKEA this weekend and adding a bath mat(s) to my list.

  5. I just read a couple of posts on that celebrity blog… SOOOO FUNNY!! I have a pillow that a friend gave to me a few years ago like your bath mat one. I always thought it reminded me of something but I couldn’t think what. Now I know. I might try an accent rug pillow, it looks so warm and cozy!!!

  6. Decorated by a pimp?! Hahahahahaha! So true. I do love the pillows, though. I might, maybe, can’t really admit that it is crossing my mind going to try this. They are quite glamorous!

  7. I don’t sew…I don’t even own a sewing machine, but I could do the “by hand” thing. I love this idea. I’m really dumb on this kind of stuff…so, tell me exactly what I need for the stuffing?

  8. OMG, I’m so hitting up Bed Bath and Beyond, like NOW! These pillows are AMAZING!

  9. LOL, just a touch of tacky in our lives is what makes us interesting and fun! It’s the element of surprise. Love it in peoples’ personalities, love it in clothing, and love it in home decor. Just a touch of tacky turns tacky into terrific.

  10. That is so great! I am trying to be one of those people (like you) who can look at a thing and see endless random uses for it! It is soooo the key to fun decorating on the cheap! Love love love this idea!!!!!

  11. AMAZINGLY GREAT IDEA! I love these. They are beautiful and elegant but wouldn’t look ridiculous in my casual home. I might just have to take advantage of my 100s of bbandb gift certificates :)

  12. I love these – especially the fur ones…I’ve was thinking of buying faux fur fabric to make a pillow but this is even easier! Thanks!

  13. LOVE it! I’m stealing your fabulous idea asap! I also have a chair cushion I want to reupholster, and was thinking of sheepskin, but this is perfect! And cheaper. :)

  14. I knew it was a bathmat!! I love what you did with them.

    And Kelly, ugh, can’t stand her!! I’m really disappointed that Bravo brought her back :(

  15. Awesome way to repurpose the bathmats!

    I just discovered that my local joAnn’s fabric store has tons of faux fur styles, and since I’m totally digging faux fur right now (in fact I posted on it today at my blog) I scored some leopardy-type print to make new dog beds. At about $6 a yard, it’s a total steal.

  16. I’m new to your blog and I love all you do! You have inspired me to get my creative on! Love the bath mats turned pillows, I will never look at another rug the same again… oh the possibilities!

  17. You’re so right … discretion is SO important when using highly textured materials! I just did a blog on burlap – and I feel the same way – just a touch here or there seems so have so much more impact!

    LOVE your creative brain and using those bath mats and rugs….FABULOUS!!! (and so economical!)


  18. I’m not going to lie, the hairy pillows freak me out a little. But I like the bath-mat-styled ones, especially in that room in Napa. If you like texture, use felted sweaters for design ideas. I just made a pillow cover from a mustard yellow felted J Crew sweater (thrift store) and it’s to die for if I do say so myself. The cabling! The buttons! *Sigh*

  19. Oh, gosh, now I have to go out and get one of those loopy bath mats – that’s TOO CUTE! All because of your post yesterday I bought a beautiful faux-fur throw in Target today for $19.99 – YIPPEE!

  20. That is so clever.

    And, I totally have that BB&B mat in my bathroom. Who’d think of making it a pillow, after stepping on it every day. It washes up REALLY well, btw. =)

  21. before i even opened the entire post. i immediately knew what you used. i was like i think she is using bath mats and sure enough you are!!!! you are a genius kate!

  22. I think they look fab, will have to keep my eyes open, because thats a lot cheaper than one of those cute pillows!

  23. I absolutely LOVE this! Very cleaver! I picked up a rug very similar to the loopy one at Urban Outfitters last summer for $5! Now I wish I would have gotten more!

  24. This is one of the best ideas I’ve seen on a blog in a while. Totally gonna do this one! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Fantastic! And so cozy for winter. And honestly, I love them more since they’re from such an unexpected source…makes them even more endearing. {Came over from The Nester.}

  26. I must really learn how to make pillows! I love the textured shag pillows. And those are my favorite kind of bath mat. ;) I have navy rugs in my bathroom.

  27. Fun and fabulous idea! Now, if the manufacturers would just skip contour rugs all together and make pillows with their fabric to begin with, the world would be a better place!

  28. Seriously amazing. I know you have probably about a bigillion comments but if you see this one from little ole me, I just had a question. How do you do the handstiching ? I have no sewing machine but would love to make these. I would try to use fusible bond to make the seams but afraid it might melt the fur or yarn. Beautiful pillows and great idea!

  29. I saw your picture on The Nester’s blog and the first thing I thought was “How cool! That pillow matches my bathroom rug!” I love it! I want to make the fur pillow now!

  30. That blog is too funny! Seriously hilarious. Thanks for the link. And I happen to have a bathmat almost identical…interesting…

  31. I love the brown bear pillows. Love them! And although I might be tempted to want a pimped-out fur family room, I would resist the urge and go with the Candice Olson inspired room with only one furry item. Really…I would….

  32. It’s so funny that I saw this post today! I was at TJMaxx earlier and saw some fuzzy bath mats and was thinking how they looked EXACTLY like the throw pillows in our family room! LOL!

  33. I was at my mom’s house this weekend and while I was bathing my kids thought, “I wonder if she would notice her big fluffy bathroom rug missing. I want to be like centsational girl and make a pillow out of it.” I decided not to take it!!! I am featuring this post at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com.

  34. These are great! I can’t sew on a machine, but I can hand sew so I’m making one of those! I’m now a new follower too! So glad I found your site on Someday crafts!

  35. aaggghhh!! just what I’ve been looking for!!! I wish these were for sale!!!!!!

  36. Thanks for this!! I got to your site from google image search! I saw a white pillow with this look at West Elm but it was real fur (awful) so I have been looking for one from faux fur… all the faux fur I have seen on sale are brown or beige, so this is a great idea.. I am going to Bed Bath and Beyond tonite, hopefully they still have these accent rugs in stock, and I see they have them on their website. The pillow (and the rest of the pillows) are perfect! :)

  37. I like to feel the texture. My fuzzy faux fur pillows, made from (sssssshhhh) accent rugs is what I like most. I want to cuddle it.
    What a passion for a pillow!
    I like your blogs and ideas, it seems like you have a lot!

  38. the pimp comment made me literally laugh out loud. i have recently found your blog, and i have been so inspired by you. thank you so much for sharing your home, family and expertise with the world. you have made me seriously consider leaving my job as a pharmacist and spend my days at goodwill and garage sales!!! i don’t think my husband would be too happy, but i would!!! thanks again, and keep up the wonderful work!!!

  39. sensational idea!! you are spectacular girl!! blessings from mexico, love your link, keep up the magnificent work, world is watching it, thank you!!!!

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