Why Does Everybody Own This Innocuous Pillow?

Why Does Everybody Own This Innocuous Pillow?

One of my favorite Jezebel blogs of all time is from 2017, titled “Please Stop Buying This Freaking Dumbass Rug.” In it, alum Ellie Shechet identifies and is disappointed by the trend of soft-toned, chevron rugs. She was right then and she’s right now. Regardless of the Shechet’s prescient observation, that particular rug continues to pop up everywhere, and if someone doesn’t act quickly, all homes will look like the same: white and gray, with enough plants thrown in to give the Apple Store-esq. interpretation of modernity some homeyness. Is it still considered “chic” if everyone’s interior design looks the exactly same? Of course, I’m saying this as a twee maximalist, so feel free to roast me.

There is, however, another piece of home decor that I’ve noticed crop up across many apartments and homes of young people on Instagram, regardless of their income or style, look into a manicured home and you are likely to find the $19.99 IKEA STOCKHOLM cushion, as seen above.

There’s nothing much to the pillow. It’s 20 inches by 20 inches, a perfect square, and according to the product description, it possesses “soft cotton velvet gives depth to the color and feels smooth against the skin.” The pattern is “easy to mix and match with both old and new things at home,” the website boasts. Wonderful. I guess that’s true. I also suppose it could go with a dumb chevron rug, but at least the IKEA STOCKHOLM cushion is brave enough to be black and white instead of a noncommittal white and gray. I’ve seen them everywhere: in the homes of young professionals obsessed with pastels and millennial pink, to badly behaved bachelors who assumed a “black and white pillow” would pair well with their “black couch” and “black bedding.”

My current working theory is that this particular pillow is stationed near the end of IKEA’s maze, close to the checkout, making it impossible to resist. Consider it the “candy and tabloid magazines placed by the cash register at the grocery store” of the Swedish household chain. When I bought the pillow, two or three years ago, it was on a whim, that horrible gut feeling of, “oh my god, what the hell am I supposed to balance a bowl of hot pasta on while I’m binging The Simple Life on my couch?” During the critical impulse purchase time, others grabbed the fake eucalyptus plant, but I reached for the IKEA STOCKHOLM, not knowing their ubiquity.

So now I ask you: do you have this pillow? Have you had this pillow before, perhaps in a former life? And is there a difference between a pillow and a cushion? If there is, I doubt those who’ve purchased the IKEA STOCKHOLM cushion know what it is.

My apologies to the contrarians. I’m not with you, I’m with the pillow people.

Image:Maria Sherman

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