How to Build a Pillow Fort, According to an Architect

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Building a pillow fort is one of life's simple pleasures, young or old. But like anything, it's more satisfying when done properly—so why not take some advice from an architect?

Over at Fatherly, architect Ben Pell—who's responsible for building things like this—shares his advice for building the best pillow fort. A blend of fatherly learning and professional insight, it's great advice, whether you're doing the building or you're acting as foreman for your kids. Here are some highlights.

Choose Your Fort Type Wisely

"Tunnel forts are usually too small to get into, so that's what my kids build if they want their own little fort. With a buttress or compound fort, you're not limited by the furniture, but you might have to move things around a little bit to create space."

Know Your Builder

"Kids, left to their own devices, pile up pillows and then figure out how to get inside. Or, they'll build it around themselves and then they can't leave without destroying it."

Avoid Animals (Or Make Good Use of Them)

"We try to make sure the dog isn't in the room, because if he gets interested he knocks things over. But he's a lazy old lab, so sometimes we just tuck the sheets under him while he's sleeping. They make good weights."

Stop Worrying About the Mess and Embrace the Build

"Once they're inside the fort, they don't want to be seen – it's a world in and of themselves. It does take over the living room and it's often unclear where the fort begins and ends. I wind up dealing with a tension between wanting to keep the house clean (the OCD Modernist in me) and making things that last (as all good architects should do).

There are more tips over on Fatherly, which range from practical engineering advice, about using sheets instead of blankets to reduce weight, to the whimsical, like using pillows as boulders. Time to get building. [Fatherly]

Image by Tom Ray under Creative Commons license