In furnishing terms refers to a long, narrow, cylindrical pillow or cushion.
There are two types of bolsters:
1. Traditionally lying across the full width of the head of a bed, either to support a softer downy head pillow, or as the only head rest and stuffed with anything from herbs to straw to fine feathers, down, fleece or recycled clothing, depending on locality and budget. Typically, the covers were made from plain weave cotton or linen,which is easy to launder and available.
2. As ‘arms’ for armless chairs, and as soft side cushions for show-wood furniture with thinner upholstered arms; the arms were sometimes specifically shaped to accommodate the round shape of a bolster. These bolsters are for decoration before comfort and tend to be trimmed with tassels and cartouche.