Paint A Pillow. Adler Style.

 I really love this Jonathan Adler pillow that I included in the mood board for our family room.  I didn’t love that it was $98.  So, I used it as my inspiration and decided to make something similar for our family room.

I found this dark gray pillow at Walmart for around $10.  It wasn’t wool like Mr. Adler’s but I had already gotten past the fact that mine version would be the much, much cheaper version.  

I taped off a plus sign on the pillow with painter’s tape and pressed the edges down so I wouldn’t get any paint seepage (the angle here makes it look wonky–it’s not. promise).

Then I painted it with a golden yellow acrylic fabric paint.  Originally, I was all about the orange plus sign in the inspiration pillow, but once we introduced all of the National Geographics into the room, I wanted that same pop of yellow to be present on the couch.  It took about 4 and a half coats before the dark gray stopped peaking through.

Then, I took the tape off and paired it with a few other pillows I have gathered for our family room.  Here they are all hanging out in the living room while we are still couch-less in their future home.

Not too shabby, huh?  You’ve seen the pillow to the right of the Adler-inspired pillow here, but the other two I picked up last week.  The knitted, turquoise zig zag pillow I found on clearance at Pier 1 and the lime green pom pom pillow I snagged from Ross.  All together, they make a pretty good representation of what I envisioned on our mood board.

Not exact, but the idea is there and that’s what is so great about a mood board.  When making mood boards for other people, I always include the links of my exact choices, but keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be the exact products pictured for the end result to look just as great.  Maybe instead of forking over $100 for a pillow, you can make a similar one yourself for $10.  And although I absolutely LOVED the petal turquoise pillow from the original mood board–it sold out before I could get it, so I opted for a textured pillow with a similar color–and it works beautifully. 

…now I am just twirling my thumbs until I can see these on our real couch.  Anyone else paint a pillow recently?  Or save a bunch of cash DIYing something high end?  It is a great feeling, right?  Although, if Jonathan Adler (or anyone else… besides Chris) wanted to gift me the real thing, I wouldn’t say boo.  ;)


  • I like your version a lot! It looks just as great as your inspiration pillow (seriously – who pays $100 for a pillow?!).

    Quick question – Did the paint make the pillow stiff or is it still something you could use?

  • Reply December 31, 2012


    so impressed that painters tape works that well for you. i can never get it to work worth a dang.

    love your color choice. we had a national geographics collection growing up…good memories you inspire. and who pays $100 for a pillow??? i have trouble with $20!

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Andrea Hernandez

    I would never think to just a paint a pillow, I think it said in your status like “feels so weird, looks so good”? Well said! 2 thumbs up!

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Lyndsay @ that 70s housr

    wow! it looks almost identical! i love it, and the yellow is awesome with the navy/green.

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    There is a definite stiffness to it now. If I were to lay my head on it, I would flip it over probably.

  • Reply December 31, 2012


    I love your DIY version! I prefer yellow/gray than orange/gray and almost $100 for a pillow?! That’s certainly way out of any budget of mine, haha.

  • A fab DIY!! And so inexpensive :D

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Lexy @ The Proper Pinwheel

    I’m with A Little Bite; yellow/gray anyday. Looks great!

  • Reply March 27, 2012


    Oh I love Adler one but yours is nice too!

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