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Pillowcases vs. Shams: A Comprehensive Guide

Many people use the terms “pillowcase” and “sham” interchangeably, but there are subtle yet crucial differences between the two. Let’s look into the distinctions and unravel the mysteries of these essential bedding components.

Understanding Pillowcases:

A pillowcase serves more than just a protective role for your pillow. Its primary purpose is to shield against dust, dirt, and stains. Easily washable, akin to changing face cloths, a clean pillowcase contributes to a fresh and beneficial sleeping environment.

Typically opening on one side, with or without a flap or tuck, pillowcases can also have a clean, seamless look, which open straight down the middle in the back.

Exploring Shams:

Shams, on the other hand, lean towards the decorative side of bedding. Positioned over regular pillows for visibility, shams are designed with the pillow opening in the back, often referred to as an envelope closure.

Traditional shams feature fabric trims or cording embellishments, but there are also options without these borders, resembling regular pillowcases at first glance.

The Purpose of Shams:

The term “sham” itself implies a “false front,” and in bedding, shams live up to this definition. Acting as a more presentable version of a pillowcase, shams are primarily used for decorative purposes during the day while the bed is made. While you can use similar pillows in shams as in regular pillowcases, adjusting for a flatter or puffier appearance can enhance the desired aesthetic.

Some individuals remove sham-covered pillows at night or position them underneath for extra support. Yet, sleeping directly on a sham-covered pillow is also an option, especially if the fabric is soft and comfortable.

Unraveling the Mystery of Euro Shams:

Euro shams cater to European-style pillows, measuring 26 x 26 inches. Typically used for aesthetic purposes when making a bed, Euro shams offer a touch of elegance. They’re often propped against headboards for reading or watching TV and sometimes employed to cover decorative pillows on couches and chairs.

Choosing the Right Size:

Bed sizes, including twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king, determine the appropriate pillow and sham sizes. Standard pillowcases and shams, measuring 20 x 26 inches, suit twin, twin XL, full, and queen beds. Queen-size pillows (20 x 30 inches) generally use standard cases.

For king-size pillows (20 x 36 inches), larger coverings are needed, typically around 20.5 x 36.5 inches for king shams and pillowcases. Euro shams, designed for 26 x 26 inch Euro pillows, come in one size suitable for various bed sizes.

  1. Styling Your Bed with Pillowcases and Shams:

    Experiment with different styling options for a personalized and appealing bed:

  • Select deeper shades for shams to add contrast.
  • Mix and match fabrics and weaves for subtle dimension.
  • Layer Euro pillows on top of rectangular shams and regular pillows for an elevated look.
  • Choose one Euro pillow to draw attention to the bed’s center.
  • Fold the comforter down to highlight pillows and showcase sheet fabric or color.
  • Place a quilt or coverlet over the comforter.
  • Artfully toss a throw blanket onto the foot of the bed, laying it asymmetrically.

There’s no strict rule for bed styling, and with the option to buy sets or separates, you can unleash your creativity. Explore different combinations, layer materials and textures, and don’t hesitate to switch things up frequently.

Where to Find the Best Shams and Euro Shams:

If you’re ready to curate the bed of your dreams, explore our extensive collection. From brushed cotton to linen, we offers a variety of materials for shams and Euro shams. Additionally, you’ll find a range of bedding essentials, accent pieces, and more to complete your ideal sleeping space. Start browsing Thomasville at Home’s Euro Sham selection today.

Discover the Standard and King Sham Options and Euro Sham Options today to begin mixing and matching exquisite pieces for a bedroom that exudes elegance and individuality. Elevate your space with Thomasville at Home.

Check out our sham video, which explains the features of our shams.

Explore Standard and King Shams | Discover European Shams | Features of Our Shams