While there are a lot of pillows on the market that can be used outdoors, technically, it's really important to look at the fine print. The best outdoor pillows are made with water-resistant fabrics or with outdoor-safe inserts, so you can style your space without having to worry that your pillows will be destroyed with repeated exposure to the elements. But, what else do you need to know when shopping for outdoor pillows?
As previously mentioned, when shopping you want to look for water-resistant outdoor pillow covers. They're made with a shell that repels water so they stay drier, longer. There are even some shams out there that have been pre-treated with a special coating for added protection. And, since a stylish pillow is a story in two parts, don't forget to look for an outdoor-safe pillow insert. Since the insert is also exposed to some of the elements, you'll want ones that are designed to dry quickly. Finally, the best pillow sham and insert for you will depend on your pillow size, so keep that in mind as well, though all of these come in multiple sizes.
If you aren't sure which outdoor pillows are the best, here's a roundup of some great inserts and shams to help you get started. I've also included a waterproofing spray for pillows as well, which can help you protect your pillows, cushions, and other outdoor furniture while you're at it.
1. The Best Square Inserts
- Available in sizes: 12 by 12 inches; 12 by 20 inches; 16 by 16 inches; 18 by 18 inches; 20 by 20 inches; 22 by 22 inches; 24 by 24 inches; 26 by 26 inches; 28 by 28 inches
This set of four water-resistant inserts is the perfect addition to just about any outdoor patio set. The outer shell is made from water-resistant polyester, so droplets tend to slide off instead of soaking into the stuffing. The filling is also made from special polyester fibers that are mold- and mildew-resistant, and dry quickly in case your pillows do get caught in a storm. This set comes in seven different square sizes, and even one lumbar size. That said, if you're looking for an outdoor lumbar pillow insert in multiple sizes, the one below is a better pick. You can also get these pillow inserts in a set of two or in a single pillow option.
According to one reviewer: "The fabric [is] strong and water resistant like advertised but soft too. They fit perfectly inside the matching sized nautical covers I bought. And they’re comfortable too."
2. The Best Lumbar Inserts
- Available in sizes: 12 by 18 inches; 12 by 20 inches; 12 by 24 inches; 16 by 16 inches; 18 by 18 inches; 20 by 20 inches; 22 by 22 inches
If you're looking to add lumbar pillows to your space, these lumbar pillow inserts are a must. These come in three different rectangular sizes you can choose from (as well as some square ones). These pillow inserts feature a water-resistant outer shell to protect them from the elements. Just slip them into some outdoor pillow shams (see below), and you're ready to relax on the patio. These pillows also come in square sizes, though not as many size varieties as the pick above, as well as a single pillow option.
According to one reviewer: "Very good for outdoor decor. Very firm if you needed comfort."
3. The Best Solid Shams
- Available in sizes: 12 by 20 inches; 16 by 16 inches; 18 by 18 inches; 20 by 20 inches; 22 by 22 inches; 24 by 24 inches
These outdoor pillows add a fun pop of color to your outdoor furniture. They come in more than a dozen different hues, and each set comes with two shams. These shams are made from durable canvas polyester and have been specially treated to help droplets roll right off the fabric. They even have a "hidden" zipper that's the same color as the fabric so you won't even notice it.
According to one reviewer: "I purchased [these shams] in grey and red. I used the red at Christmas and switched to the grey for the rest of winter and spring. These covers are durable and reasonably priced. I would definitely recommend and will purchase again once I need new colors!"
4. The Best Patterned Pillow Shams
- Available in sizes: 12 by 20 inches; 16 by 16 inches; 18 by 18 inches; 20 by 20 inches
These fan-favorite patterned pillow shams come in a set of six, and each sham has its own distinct pattern with a monochromatic color motif over the set. These shams are made from durable, fade-resistant canvas and each features double zig-zag stitching to prevent them from fraying over time. While the brand makes no specific mention of their water resistance, reviewers are quick to say these work in outdoor spaces. Even better, they're machine-washable. You can choose from nine different colorways.
According to one reviewer: "The pillow cases are beautiful! The red color is clean and intense, just as I have hoped for. Fabric is thick and withstands wrinkles (arrived folded and I didn’t have to iron). The zipper is thin and nearly seamless. Very happy."
5. The Best Striped Pillow Shams
- Available in sizes: 12 by 20 inches; 18 by 18 inches; 20 by 20 inches
These striped pillow shams made from canvas have been treated with a PU coating, making them both durable and waterproof. They also feature a hidden zipper to keep your pillow inserts protected from rain and snow. And when you're ready to give these shams a clean, you can just toss them in the washer, hang them to dry, and they're good as new. These come in 12 different colors you can choose from as well as multiple sizes.
According to one reviewer: "I am very happy with these pillow cases! They have a good strong sturdy feel to them, they repel water, and they’re exactly what I was looking for to go with my new patio furniture. I might order more!"
Also Great: This Spray That Protects Your Outdoor Pillows
An easy way to protect all your outdoor furniture is by treating it with this water and sun protectant. Just lightly spray it all over your pillows and patio furniture and allow it to dry. This spray creates a coating that protects your soft fabrics from fading while also repelling water. And at only $10 for a can, this spray is an affordable way to treat multiple pieces of decor and furniture. You’ll want to reapply seasonally for the best protection.
According to one reviewer: "It's been 3 months, and my outdoor pillows don't look as if they've been sitting out all day, everyday. I keep them in my non shaded balcony (in the scorching Florida sun and occasional rain shower). This product is fantastic!"