What is a Pillow Sham? Decoding the Elegance and Purpose in Bedroom Decor

What is a Pillow Sham? Decoding the Elegance and Purpose in Bedroom Decor

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, What is a Pillow Sham? or pondering the mystery of a “pillow sham,” fear not you’re in the right place. Often tossed around interchangeably as sham, pillow sham, or bed sham, these nifty pillow covers transform ordinary pillows into stylish bed adornments. Unlike your standard pillowcase, shams typically boast a more decorative front and an opening at the back, as opposed to the usual end.

Due to their decorative flair, regular pillow shams are often reserved as accessories or perfect for propping yourself up in bed while engrossed in a good book or unwinding. Sure, you can catch some Z’s on them, but let’s be honest the decorative charm might not offer the coziest slumber experience. It’s worth noting that, depending on the embellishments gracing the front, these shams might require a bit more effort in the washing department compared to your run-of-the-mill pillowcases.

What is a Sham?

The term “pillow sham” has an intriguing origin, rooted in the concept of a “false front” or a clever trick. Back in the 1700s, craftsmen crafted specially designed pillowcases to fashion decorative pillows with removable covers. These covers, with their deceptive facade, earned the moniker “pillow shams.”

In essence, a sham is a decorative pillowcase that ingeniously transforms standard-sized pillows into functional accessories for your bedding ensemble. Available in conventional pillow sizes such as Standard Sham (26″ x 20″), King Sham (36″ x 20″), and Euro Sham (26″ x 26″), pillow shams deviate from the ordinary pillowcase by featuring an open back, often secured with slightly overlapped fabric or concealed zippers. Typically sold in pairs, these shams are fashioned from fabrics that match the duvet cover, creating a cohesive look.

While pillow shams can certainly be used for sleeping like regular pillowcases, they predominantly serve as supportive elements when lounging in bed and double up as decorative accents during the day. These sham pillows can be strategically positioned behind standard pillows for sleep or entirely removed from the bed. Unlike throw pillows, cotton shams can be effortlessly detached from their fills for easy washing or replacement, adding a practical touch to their aesthetic appeal.

4 Reasons to Buy a Sham

Now, you might find yourself pondering, “Do I really need a sham?” Well, let’s skip the fluff and get to the point. While shams may not be an absolute necessity, they undeniably bring a lot to the table when it comes to elevating your bedroom aesthetic.

Style Boost: If you’re yearning to give your bedroom a facelift without burning a hole in your pocket, shams are the secret sauce. With an array of designs, colors, and fabrics, shams cater to every taste – be it the sleek allure of minimalism or the laid-back charm of boho-chic. There’s a sham out there with your name on it, ready to spruce up your space.

Effortless Use: Shams are as easy as pie to incorporate into your bedroom decor. Slip them over your regular pillows, and voilà – instant makeover! And when it’s laundry day, a breeze – just take them off and toss them in the machine. No fuss, no mess, just an effortlessly chic bedroom.

Comfortable Elegance: While shams are often hailed for their decorative prowess, they don’t compromise on comfort. Crafted from soft, luxurious materials, many shams provide a sensory treat for your skin. So, go ahead, lean back, and indulge in your favorite book or TV show your sham-clad pillows have got your comfort covered!

Seasonal Flexibility: Craving a seasonal shift in your bedroom ambiance? Shams offer a quick and hassle-free solution. From springtime florals to autumnal hues, you can effortlessly switch up your shams to mirror the evolving seasons. It’s like giving your bedroom a fresh look every few months a decor enthusiast’s dream come true!

What’s the Difference Between a Sham and a Pillowcase?

A notable distinction between a sham and a pillow cover lies in the positioning of the opening. In the realm of pillowcases, it’s customary for the opening to be situated at one end, with surplus fabric cascading down the side and lacking any form of closure. Conversely, a pillow sham tends to feature a zipper along one edge or an opening at the back, typically secured with an envelope-style closure.

Beyond the divergence in opening locations, a pillow sham frequently boasts additional embellishments like flange or cording along the edges, coupled with a more ornate front design. This stands in contrast to the conventional pillowcase, which tends to be simple and serves the primary function of shielding your pillow from body oils and dirt while you catch some Z’s.

How to Pick the Right Sham Pillow

Determining the size of the pillows you want to transform into bed accessories is the initial key to selecting the perfect bed sham. Compatibility is crucial – if the sham doesn’t snugly fit your existing pillows, it might not be a worthwhile purchase unless you’re prepared to invest in new pillows. Given that matching pillow shams typically adhere to standard pillow sizes, the primary factor is identifying the size of the pillows you intend to cover.

Additionally, it’s essential to consider whether the pillow sham complements your duvet, comforter, and other pillow varieties. While decorative shams are occasionally bundled in duvet and sheet sets, there are instances where you might need to procure them separately. Beyond these considerations, the style of the sham is another vital aspect to ponder, hinging entirely on your personal preferences. So, whether it’s about size, coordination with your bedding ensemble, or aligning with your aesthetic taste, these factors collectively guide you towards the ideal choice for your bed sham.

What Kind of Pillow Goes in a Sham?

Reiterating the point made earlier, bed shams are designed to accommodate standard sleeping pillow sizes. To ensure a proper fit for each pillow sham size, take a moment to measure your pillows and match them to the corresponding dimensions below:

Standard Sham: 20 inches by 26 inches

Queen Sham: 20 inches by 30 inches

King Sham: 20 inches by 36 inches

By measuring your pillows against these dimensions, you can confidently select the appropriate bed sham size that not only enhances the visual appeal of your bedding but also ensures a snug and tailored fit.

What is a Euro Pillow Sham?

A Euro sham serves as an ornamental covering tailored for a Euro-sized pillow. These Euro pillows typically measure 26 inches by 26 inches, and Euro shams are crafted to snugly fit over them. Despite their nontraditional size, Euro shams play an equivalent role to other-sized bed shams, contributing to the overall aesthetics of the bedding ensemble.

Much like their counterparts, Euro shams are designed to harmonize with the duvet and bedding, creating a cohesive and unified appearance. Whether it’s the standard-sized bed shams or their Euro-sized counterparts, the goal remains the same – to add a touch of style and refinement to your bedding while ensuring a seamless coordination with the overall decor scheme.

Pillow Sham Size Chart

In the world of bedding, pillow shams come in various sizes to suit different needs. Let’s take a look at the dimensions for five common types:

Standard: With a size of 20 x 26 inches, the standard pillow sham is a versatile choice that fits well on most beds.

Queen: Slightly larger, the queen-sized pillow sham measures 20 x 30 inches, providing a bit more coverage on your bed.

King: For those with larger pillows or king-sized beds, the king-sized pillow sham, measuring 20 x 36 inches, offers ample space and a regal look.

Euro: If you prefer square shams, the Euro size is 26 x 26 inches, adding a touch of European elegance to your bedding ensemble.

Boudoir: Smaller and charming, the boudoir pillow sham measures 12 x 16 inches, making it a delightful addition to your decorative pillow collection.

What Size Pillow Sham Do You Need?

The dimensions of pillow shams directly correspond to the size of the pillows they are designed for. For instance, a standard pillow sham is crafted to accommodate a standard bed pillow measuring 20 by 26 inches. Similarly, a queen sham is tailored for a queen-sized pillow of 20 by 30 inches, and a king sham suits a king-sized pillow measuring 20 by 36 inches.

To ensure a perfect fit, it’s advisable to measure your pillow before purchasing a sham. This way, you can be confident that your chosen sham will snugly envelop your pillow, adding both style and comfort to your bedding.