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Well, HALLO there.

04/30

As a 20+-year veteran IKEA shopper, my top tip for sanity preservation is this: always start at the checkout area and work your way back. I haven’t been upstairs in an IKEA in ages.

This backward route means I pass the garden area twice, so a couple months ago I got lucky and spotted these $5.99 striped HÅLLÖ pillows:I’d been looking for some lumbar cushions for the leather slipper chairs we scored on Craigslist, and although I really liked this $40 French Stripe pillow at Pottery Barn, it was too big.

The HÅLLÖ pillows were the perfect size – roughly 24″ long by 12″ wide — so I picked up two in the black and tan ticking stripe. (The fabric is 100% cotton and surprisingly hefty for the price.)

The pillows come with foam inserts but since I would be using them indoors, I wanted feather or down. The closest match at IKEA is the $6.99 FJÄDRAR cushion insert — same length but 4” wider. It fits inside the zippered cover just fine with a bit of coaxing and massaging (think Spanx — but for pillows). If you’re picky, several online sources stock 12″ x 24″ inserts including Amazon.com ($11 each) and Pottery Barn ($20 each).

Total cost for two pillows plus two inserts: $26 (versus $80 for the PB version).

Here’s what it looks like on the chair:

When I went back to IKEA to pick up two more pillows for our outdoor lounge chairs, they were sold out and the cashier said they wouldn’t be getting any more.

Lucky for me she was wrong — when I tried again last week, HÅLLÖ was back. So if you want ’em, don’t wait. (The pillows come packed flat but puff up as soon as you remove the plastic.)

Next up: picking pillows, a trial and error story.

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