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What Is a Sham?


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December 27, 2022

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What can you do to decorate your bedroom without spending a bomb on redecorating? Pillows can add a vibrant touch and class to a boring decor. Pillow shams can help even more.  A sham is similar to a pillowcase, decorated on the front side and with an opening at the back. 

If you are still confused, read on to clear all your doubts related to a pillow sham.

What Is a Sham?

A sham is a pillow cover that glorifies the look of your conventional-looking pillow into a decorative pillow. Shams are primarily used while reading or relaxing and may not be comfortable to sleep on due to material used, which may be rough to touch and may have decorative elements. 

When to Use a Sham?

You can use a sham to provide an aesthetic look to your bedroom on special occasions or, in some cases, daily. It gives a glamorous look to your bed without having to buy a new pillow. 

The best way to use a sham is to place the decorative bed sham in front of the sleeping pillow to give your bedroom a beautiful look. At the same time, you can slide the sham behind your pillow during nighttime to prop yourself or use it to adjust your sleeping position.

What Is the Difference Between a Sham and a Pillowcase?

The difference between a sham and a pillowcase is the location and nature of the opening. Pillowcases are open at one end with the excess pillow cloth hanging around. On the other hand, the sham has an envelope-style closure at the back or a zip closure at the side.

The edges of the sham pillow have flanges or round-shaped borders around the edges, whereas traditional pillows have straight edges. Pillow shams have a decorative front, while the standard pillows have a plain front to protect you from dust and dirt and help you get a good night’s sleep.

For better understanding, We have listed the differences between sham vs. pillowcase in a tabular format below.

Properties Pillow Sham Pillow Case
Closure Type Envelope Closure or Zip closure No closure
Pattern Decorative Plain
Edges Flanged or cord around edges Straight edges
Usage Used for synthetic fills Used for sleeping

How to Choose the Right Sham Pillow?

First and foremost, you need to know the size of the pillow you are looking to transform aesthetically. A good sham gives an excellent aesthetic look only if it fits perfectly with your pillow. Generally, matching shams are available in standard sizes, and all you need to know is the size of your pillow.

Also, ensure that you get a pillow sham that resembles your bedding accessories like the type of pillow, duvet, comforters, and bedsheet. It improves the aesthetics of your bedroom significantly. 

You may also need to check what style of sham suits your bedroom aesthetically.

What Is a Euro Pillow Sham?

A Euro sham pillow is a beautifying pillow cover that is used to cover a Euro-size pillow. Euro pillows measure 26 inches wide by 26 inches long. A Euro sham size 26 by 26 inches fits perfectly over a Euro pillow. The standard sham size is 20 inches by 26 inches, indicating that a  Euro sham is 6 inches wider than a standard sham. Although there is a size difference, the purpose of a Euro sham remains the same- to provide a decorative look to the bedroom.

How to Style Shams?

Here are a few tips that will help you style your sham uniquely and make everyone amazed with your sham.

  1. Try contrasting colors

Most people get shams that have a color similar to their bedsheets. However, you can try something else and add a little fun element by getting a sham with a contrasting color. It makes your sham the center of attraction and gives a cool modular look to your bedroom.

Try getting a complementary shade that goes well with your room color.

  1. Experiment with sizes

Typically an ideal pillow has a perfectly fit sham covering it. However, you can experiment with the size by going with a Euro sham over a standard-sized pillow. On top of it, you can also use a throw pillow to enhance the aesthetics of your space.

  1. Select cohesive fabrics

A uniform look for all our bedding accessories in the bedroom just makes it look surreal. Choose a high-quality sham made up of the same material as that of your quilt, duvet, or comforter. It will provide a seamless look to your bedroom that will be aesthetically pleasing.

The Final Word

While sleeping on a sham may not be a good idea, getting pillow sham covers that enhance the aesthetics of your room during daylight is an excellent idea. Hopefully, our detailed guide will help you get the best sham that increases the style quotient of your beloved bedroom.

Happy Sleeping!


Yes, you can sleep on decorative pillows or shams. However, they may not be as comfortable as your traditional pillows.

You can measure the pillow sham size and check what kind of pillow goes into a sham. The various pillow sham dimensions are mentioned below:

Standard sham size: 20 inches by 26 inches 

Queen sham size: 20 inches by 30 inches 

King sham size: 20 inches by 36 inches 

Yes, a queen pillow fits in a standard sham; however, the fit will be very snug, and it is better if you go for a queen-size sham.

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