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.
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.
Layover shams can be found at vintage stores and craft markets. You wouldn’t find them in the usual retail store at this time.
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.