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When shopping for bedding, you have likely encountered something called a pillow sham or what is a sham bedding. Perhaps even more confusing, there are pillow shams, Euro shams , and a range of different sizes of each, meaning that purchasing it is not always a simple task.


What is the Difference between a Pillowcase and a Pillow Sham?


pillowsham vs euro sham

Pillow Sham Pillowcases
Made of luxurious materials such as silk, satin or cashmere. Sometimes it may be made from cotton, synthetic fibers like polyester or linen. Typically made of cotton, polyester or linen.
Has a slit in the middle of the back that is usually hidden with a zip closure or an overlapping length of fabric. Usually has an envelope closure to prevent pillows from sliding out.
Some shams may get damaged due to vigorous movements in the washing machine. Can be easily machine-washed and dried. 
Mostly used for decorative purposes and not to be slept on. Pillowcases are meant to be slept on.

 

Though you might think that a pillowcase and a pillow sham are the same, that’s not precisely true.

While they are both pillow linens, a pillow sham is quite different from a pillowcase.

1. The primary function of a pillowcase is to protect your pillow and keep it clean while you use it. A pillow sham, on the other hand, is more about decoration and design.

2. True, a sham protects the pillow in the same way as your pillowcase, but it’s a little fancier. Where a pillowcase is plain and opens at one end, a pillow sham’s opening is hidden, either at the back or along a seam.

3. A sham has a ruffle around the edges that matches the dust ruffle, bedspread, or  duvet cover . This ruffle, sometimes called a flange, can be plain or fancy, and it might be in a contrasting color, pattern, or fabric than the pocket the pillow slides into.

4. Typically, a pillow case helps protect your pillow and keep it clean while a pillow sham is a decorative pillowcase that add style and elegance to your bedroom.

5. Pillowcases are open at one end without any closure. They tend to be simpler and so less decorative. Usually, they are made from the same fabric as the sheet they accompany.

6. Some pillow cases may include decorative touches along the open cuff such as embroidery, hemstitching or coordinating fabrics.

7. On the other hand, pillow shams tend to open from the back and often have a hidden closure or an overlapping length of fabric. They are bordered on three or four sides with a flange (flat piece of fabric).

8. The pillow sham is designed to match a comforter or duvet covers and sometimes it can be used to add a pop of color or stand out.


Getting That Luxury Look With Pillow Shams


 

A sham may come with your sheet set, in which case it will match your dust ruffle or bedspread.

A pillow sham can also be a stand-alone item, something to give you a completely different look against the backdrop of your other bed linens. If you open any home or interior design magazine, you’ll see luxury bed treatments, complete with pillow shams to complete the look.


How Versatile Are Pillow Shams, Can you sleep on a pillow sham?


 

Pillow shams are typically used as a design element in the bedroom , but you don’t have to limit yourself. You can sleep on pillows with shams or use them to prop yourself up in bed while you’re watching TV.

When you sleep, you can put your sham pillows behind or beneath your regular pillows, or you can remove them from the bed entirely.

Yes, you can sleep on a pillow sham. However, it may not be as comfortable as pillowcases as shams are made from textured fabrics or because of the flanges that may bunch up awkwardly as you sleep.

Pillow Sham Sizes

Pillow Sham Sizes
Standard Pillow Sham 20inch x 26inch
Euro Sham 26inch x 26inch
Queen Sham 20inch x 30inch
King Sham 20inch x 36inch or 20inch x 40inch


size


1. Standard Sham

A standard pillow sham is 20X26inches and meant for smaller bed pillows to be used on twin, twin XL or full-size beds.

2. Euro Sham

These are large and square, generally measuring 26 x 26 inches. They provide you with extra support when sitting on a couch or in bed. Euro pillows can be used both in your living room as well as the bedroom so, make sure to choose a sham with a universal appeal to suit both these spaces.

3. Queen Sham

Generally, these are 4 inches longer than the standard shams. However, queen shams may not be as easily available as standard shams.So, most people use two standard pillows on a queen size bed.

4. King Sham

These are 10 inches longer than standard shams and can be easily purchased online or from bedding stores. To complete the look of your cal-king or king sized bed , you will need two king size pillow inserts with shams.


What size Sham can be used on a King or Queen bed?


 

You can use two standard shams on a queen or full-size bed and two king pillow shams on a king or Cal-king size bed. With Euro shams, you can use 2 or 3 on a full or queen size bed and 3 or 4 on a king-size bed.


What is the actual size of King- Size Pillow Sham?


 

King-size shams are usually sized to fit king-size pillows. They are of two sizes, one measuring 20 x 36 inches and the other measuring 20 x 40 inches.

While 20 x 36 inches is the most preferred, 20 x 40 inches pillow shams are extra-large that offer support to your back while reading or sitting in bed or even on the couch.


What are the uses of a Pillow Sham?


 

1. The main objective of a pillow sham is decoration. The word “sham” refers to pillowcases with a false front so they look like a decorative piece. So, with interesting patterns and designs in the front, the pillow sham can add texture and a pop of color to your room.

2. Today, you can find pillow shams in a variety of patterns and styles to suit your requirements. They even come with lace, sequins, decorative buttons or ties.

3. As pillow shams are more decorative, you may not want to use to rest on one in bed. Instead you can use it to support your back while reading or working.

4. Generally, people remove the sham covered pillows from the bed before sleeping and place them back in the morning.

5. Pillow shams may either be sold as standalone pieces or included in a bedding set. However, always make sure to measure the size of the pillow you intend to use with the sham.


What is the Best Filling Material for Pillow Shams?


 

Feather is one of the best filling materials for sham pillows. Though they are inexpensive and never bunch up, some people are allergic to it.

Poly-filled pillow shams are another option you can choose for pillow sham fillings. However, they have a tendency to get lumpy over time and may not fill-out the corners well.


How To Decorate With Your Pillow Shams


 

There are so many types of pillow shams to choose from, but ultimately, it’s about highlighting your unique style.

If you prefer a fancier look, choose a pillow sham with a ruffled flange (the flange is what the edging around the pillowcase is called). If you lean more towards a high-end luxury look, choose a solid-colored pillow sham in shades of grey, black, or white.

Of course, everybody has a different approach when it comes to the style of their bedrooms. You could choose your shams to match your bedding or go for a brighter color as an accent.

Choosing pillow shams with patterned fabric or a border pattern around the edges adds texture and dimension to your interior design.


Tips on How To Arrange Your Pillow Shams On The Bed


 

Pillow shams are a great way to achieve a decorative result in the bedroom. Many people use them as decorative accents, extending and highlighting home decor.

1. Choose Different Sized Pillows and Shams

There are so many looks you can achieve with pillow shams. If you like the look of opulence and luxury, such as you would find in a five-star hotel, combine different sizes of pillow shams, euro shams,  body pillows with shams, and a few scatter cushions for accent.

2. Choose Complementing or Accent Colors

Choose pillow shams with the same type and color of fabric as other items on your bed, such as dust ruffles, bedspreads, or coverlets. Alternatively, you might want to choose an accent color or a pattern that adds some contrast, texture, and dimension.

You might want to echo colors you have used elsewhere in your bedrooms, such as your window treatments, rugs, or even the color of your walls.

3. Arrange Your Shams Decoratively

Whether you enjoy hosting overnight guests or you’re looking to stage your home for a viewing, pillow shams are a great way to highlight your style and make your interiors pop.


5 Tips for Decoratively Arranging your Pillow Shams:


 

1. When making up the bed, start with your regular pillows as a base. Arrange your pillows according to size with the largest sized pillows at the back.

As you move forward, the pillows should become smaller with the smallest accent pillows at the front.

2. Layer your pillows by color, size, and pattern. Euro shams should go in the back, against the headboard. Darker colors and patterns should go in the front with the solid, more neutral tones as a backdrop.

This method of layering allows you to create a unique and eye-catching effect that is sure to inject some“wow factor” into your home decor.

3. Place your standard pillows in front of the euro shams and use smaller decorative shams (sometimes called a boudoir sham) in front.

4. Another idea is to place your euro shams in front of the standard pillows instead of in the back.Some people prefer this approach because they feel like their standard pillows are too boring.

Boudoir shams should always be up at the front because they are smaller.

5. In the end, there are so many ways to mix it up, you can do something different every day if you are so inclined!

 

FAQ

1. What is the best filling material for Pillow Sham?

- Feather is one of the best filling materials for sham pillows. Though they are inexpensive and never bunch up, some people are allergic to it.

2. How to Decorate with your Pillow Sham?

- If you prefer a fancier look, choose a pillow sham with a ruffled flange (the flange is what the edging around the pillowcase is called). If you lean more towards a high-end luxury look, choose a solid-colored pillow sham in shades of grey, black, or white.

3. What is the actual size of a king size Pillow Sham?

- King-size shams are usually sized to fit king-size pillows. They are of two sizes, one measuring 20 x 36 inches and the other measuring 20 x 40 inches.

Are you ready to add a bit of luxury with new pillow shams? Browse our collection today and indulge your style!

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