What is a Pillow Sham? 

A decorative pillow case which you put over a regular pillow is called a pillow sham. The styles of these pillow shams vary with some having a flange-trim and others having trim that is either ruffled or smooth. Generally they’re used for decorative purposes on a bed to enhance the interior design of the bedroom.

How Are a Pillow Sham and Decorative Pillow Different?

A pillow sham is different from a decorative pillow because the cover of a pillow sham usually covers a standard bed pillow. It can be easily removed allowing you to be able to launder it. On the other hand, decorative pillows often have covers that can’t be removed. Their covers are part of the pillow itself. 

Pillow Sham

How Do You Use a Pillow Sham?

Pillow shams are often used to add a decorative touch to your bed. Their purpose usually isn’t for you to lie on and be more comfortable. Their purpose is to simply make your bed look more stylish. 

After you make your bed in the morning, you can add a pillow covered with a sham. At the back of the sham is an opening. You insert a pillow into this opening.

When you do this, you should be careful to make sure the sham lies nicely and doesn’t pucker in any spots. It’s easier to use a sham that is a little bit larger than the pillow. 

It’s a good idea to purchase extra pillows when you use pillow shams on your bed. If you do, you won’t have to take the shams off when you go to sleep at night.

You should just remove the pillow with its sham on it. You can put the pillow with the sham on it back in the morning as you make your bed. 

What are the Advantages of a Pillow Sham?

• Shams can protect your pillows – decorative pillows tend to be pretty but shorter lived investments. If you're looking to maximize your budget, it makes sense to protect the pillows you have with shams. Decorative pillows usually require dry cleaning or hand-washing, both of which are either time consuming or expensive.

• A pillow sham is cheaper than purchasing a new decorative pillow. To replace regular bed pillows is more expensive to buy than pillow shams. You can cover your regular pillows with shams to protect them from wearing out. Replacing shams are also less expensive than purchasing new pillows.

How to Sew a Basic Pillow Sham

Different Styles and Sizes of Pillow Shams

When purchasing pillow shams, you should choose the size that best fits your bed pillow. If you purchase one that is too small, your pillow simply won’t fit into it. If you purchase one that is too large, the extra material won’t look very nice. 

Pillow Sham Sizes Chart

Pillow shams that will fit your bed pillows best are most likely one of the following five different sizes.

  • Standard – 20” x 26” – These will fit standard sized pillows, and two will fit a full/double bed side by side.
  • Queen – 20” x 30” – These fit queen-sized pillows, and two fit a Queen bed side by side.
  • King – 20” x 36” – These fit king-sized pillows, and two will fit a King bed side by side.

  • European – 26” x 26” – These are also known as continental or Euro shams. European shams are usually used on queen or king beds. They are both functional and decorative, and they are handy for watching TV or reading since you can prop yourself up with them.
  • Boudoir – 12” x 16” – The design of these shams is to fit smaller boudoir pillows. These shams are usually placed to sit at the front of your set of pillows on your bed.

  • Layover – Unlike the pillow shams listed above, this one has no back. It is a piece of material that you would place on top of your pillowcase. When it’s time for you to go to sleep, you simply remove the layover sham. These shams are usually highly decorative with intricate needlework. The sham can be large enough to cover two pillows or small enough to cover only one pillow. 
Pillow Sham3

Can You Sleep on a Pillow with a Sham?

Other than you may wrinkle the sham if you sleep on it, there is no reason you can’t sleep on it. Some shams hold up quite well when slept on, but the more intricate ones may not. Decide whether you think your pillow sham will hold up well, and feel free to sleep on it. 

Decorating with Pillow Shams

Shams can be purchased as part of a comforter set. If the ones you purchase are part of a set, they will, of course, match your comforter. However, if they are not part of a set, you may buy ones that are the same fabrics and colors as your comforter or bedspread. Contrasting colors may also look nice as well. 

Be creative and create an attractive element to your bedroom. You can use an assortment of shams to give your room a new look whenever it seems fitting.

Best Selling Decorative Pillow Shams

Bestseller No. 1
Foamily 2 Pack - 12" x 20" Premium Hypoallergenic Lumbar Stuffers Pillow Inserts Sham Square Form Polyester, Standard/White
  • Pack more cushion to your sofa couch for lumbar support or just decoration
  • Our most resilient decorative throw pillow inserts yet, firm yet fluffy filler stuffing
Bestseller No. 2
NTBAY 100% Brushed Microfiber Standard Pillow Shams Set of 2, Soft and Cozy, Wrinkle, Fade, Stain Resistant, Standard, White
  • PREMIUM QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Top quality microfiber fabric is breathable, stain and wrinkle resistant. Good sewing stitch and exquisite workmanship reduce loose thread. Active and Environmentally friendly dyeing technology make these pillow cases more skin friendly and fade resistant.
  • PRODUCT FUNCTION: These simple and Ultra soft pillow shams can cover and protect the pillows from being dirty and also can decorate your bedroom. It is a good bed product which you can use in all seasons. A variety of colors for you to choose. Everyone can select the colors you like and match your room according to your furniture, decorative style and even mood.
Bestseller No. 3
MarCielo 2-Piece Embroidered Pillow Shams, Decorative Microfiber Pillow Shams Set Standard Size Grey
  • QUALITY FABRIC: 100% Microfiber 100% cotton fillings .Excellent performance: no skin irritation, hygroscopic,ventilative,anti-static and comfortable.
  • ACTIVE PRINTING: Our Pillow shams mainly use pure natural mineral or vegetable dyes, featured high color fastness and fine pattern, non-fading.
SaleBestseller No. 4
DOWNIGHT Set of 2, Down and Feather Throw Pillow Insert, The Fabric is Cotton, Decorative Throw Pillows Insert, 26 X 26 Inch
  • This product is only Sold by DOWNIGHT and Fulfilled by Amazon. Price includes 2 pillow inserts. 26 X 26 inches.
  • The fabric is 100% cotton. These pillow inserts have many different sizes, please choose the right size for your throw pillow covers.
SaleBestseller No. 5
LIFEREVO 2 Pack Shaggy Plush Faux Fur Pillow Shams Fluffy Decorative Pillowcases Zipper Closure (Gray, King)
  • 45mm high pile microfiber long shaggy fleece reverse to ultra soft crystal velvet mink,Antistatic,wrinkle, fade and pilling resistant.
  • King size: 2 pack pillow shams 20"x36" with same color. No insert. Hidden zipper closure in the middle of reverse.