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Pillow Shams Vs. Pillow Cases: What’s The Difference?

decorative pillow shams displayed on bed
Image by Charlotte May from Pexels

Oftentimes, many people including retailers themselves, use pillow sham and pillowcase interchangeably despite the huge differences in terms of their purpose and design. So, if you're someone who gets confused by these two closely-related terms, read on!

This article will help you better understand their differences through a comparison between a pillow sham and a pillowcase. We'll especially deep dive into pillow shams, functions, and sizes since such items are less familiar than pillowcases. 

 

What Exactly Is A Pillow Sham?

decorative pillow sham displayed on chair
Image by Rachel Claire from Pexels

You probably already know what a pillowcase is - it's a type of bedding that covers and protects your pillows. But what about a pillow sham?

Simply put, a pillow sham is a decorative cover for your pillow. These covers typically include complex patterns or embroidery designs on the face of the pillow, as well as flanges along the border, in order to make the pillow stand out and look aesthetically pleasing. Most of the time, you can find such decorative pillow covers in places like hotels or showrooms, where the goal is to give off a sense of luxury while also being pleasing to the eye.

 

What Is The Purpose Of A Pillow Sham?

As mentioned earlier, the idea of a pillow sham is to simply be a decorative front for your pillow. Its entire purpose is to make your pillow become another decoration for your bedroom, and acts as a home improvement accessory. 

 

When And How To Use Pillow Shams

decorative pillow sham on bed
Image by julie aagaard from Pexels

Now that you know what a pillow sham is and its purpose, when and how should you use them? Although pillow shams are not at all essential in one’s daily life if you still desire to own one, then here are some tips on how and when you might want to use pillow shams:

  • Typically, after you have made your bed in the morning, you will want to place your pillows with shams towards the front of the bed where it is most visible. Then, at night, shift the pillow shams towards the back of the bed where it is leaning against the headboard while you sleep on your regular sleeping pillows.
  • You can also use it as back support while sitting on your bed or as an accessory to hug while you relax.

 

Can You Sleep On Pillow Shams?

decorative pillows with various sizes
Image by Skyler Kang from Pexels

 A common question being asked is whether or not you can sleep on pillow shams. Although you can technically sleep on it, because of the way pillow shams are designed, it is definitely not ideal. Generally, pillow shams include embroidery on the surface of the cover, which can be incredibly uncomfortable and irritating to rest your head on due to the rough sensation against your skin.

 

What Pillow Sham Size Should You Use?

multiple pillows with shams stacked on top
Image by Roy Lach from Pexels

Depending on the size and type of pillow you are using, you will have to use the corresponding pillow sham with it so that it fits perfectly. 

Here are the measurements that correspond to each pillow and pillow sham size:

  • Euro size: 26 inches x 26 inches / 66 cm x 66 cm
  • King size: 20 inches x 36 inches / 51 cm x 92 cm
  • Queen size: 20 inches x 30 inches / 51 cm x 76 cm
  • Standard size: 20 inches x 26 inches / 51 cm x 56 cm
  • Boudoir: 12 inches x 16 inches / 30 cm x 41 cm

Lastly, we recommend that you use pillows with feathers or down as their filling. This is because feathers and down are some of the few types of fillings that are able to expand and fill up any empty spaces, which would make suitable materials for decorative pillows as they would appear more attractive.

However, these fillings are recommended mostly for pillows you intend as decoration, as down is typically not a comfortable material for sleeping.

 

What Is The Difference Between Pillow Shams And Pillowcases?

Featuring Weavve’s Signature TENCEL™ Pillow Case Pair in Sky Blue
Featuring Weavve’s Signature TENCEL™ Pillow Case Pair in Sky Blue

It has been a common misunderstanding that pillow shams and pillowcases are synonymous with one another, when in fact, they are as different as night and day. 

Here are the main differences between pillow shams and pillowcases:

Pillow Sham: 

  • Usually have complex designs or patterns that are very eye-catching.
  • Typically contains embroidery on the surface of the cover and flanged borders.
  • The opening is almost always found on the back of the cover.
  • Acts as a decorative piece and is not meant to be used for sleeping.
  • Can also be used to protect your pillow from dirt and dust when not sleeping on it.

Pillowcase:

  • Typically simple in design.
  • There is usually never any embroidery, especially on the surface of the pillow.
  • Depending on the type of pillowcase, the opening is almost always found on the side of the cover.
  • Designed to be comfortable and cozy for you to sleep on.
  • It protects your pillow from dirt and sweat while sleeping.

 

Discover Weavve's Collection

TENCEL™ Lyocell Pillowcases

Weavve’s TENCEL™ Lyocell Pillowcases
Weavve’s TENCEL™ Lyocell Pillowcases in Mist Grey

Our eco-friendly and sustainably sourced TENCEL™ pillowcases are crafted from 100% Lenzing TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers woven into a 400 thread count soft sateen weave. They also feature a 1/3 back envelope opening which makes them easier to slip on.

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Cotton Pillowcases

Weavve's Cotton Pillowcases in Tea Rose
Featuring Weavve’s Cotton Pillowcases in Tea Rose

Made of 100% pure extra long staple cotton fibers woven into a 600-thread count sateen weave, our cotton pillowcases are irresistibly soft and smooth. They feature 1/3 back envelope openings, keeping the pillow snuggly fitted. Our pillows are also Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certified which means no harmful chemicals were used during the production process.

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TENCEL™ Bed Sheets

Weavve’s TENCEL™ Lyocell Classic Set in Midnight Blue
Featuring Weavve’s TENCEL™ Lyocell Classic Set in Midnight Blue

Our TENCEL™ Lyocell sheets are made from the finest 100% TENCEL™ branded Lyocell fibers. TENCEL™ is an eco-friendly fiber, well-known for its naturally silky smooth and cooling hand feel, as well as its highly breathable and temperature-regulating properties.

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Weavve’s Cotton Classic Set Bed Sheets in Sandshell
Weavve’s Cotton Classic Set Bed Sheets in Sandshell

Our 100% cotton sheets consist of only the best fiber cotton, offering the perfect balance of softness and smoothness, durability and breathability, to create a bed of clouds to drift you off into dreamland blissfully.

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