What Is a Sham?

What Is a Sham?

Written by Dreamcloud Editorial Team

Last Updated on Jun 13, 2022

In this article:

    Decorating a bed seems like a straightforward task at first glance, but as you start the process, you learn all the nuances and the different little things that you have to keep in mind. You come across so many different terms that you haven't even heard of before. One such term is a sham.

    What is a sham, you ask?

    For all the home decorators who have never heard of shams, this article will answer this and various other questions you may have.

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    What is a Sham?

    When you read the word ‘sham,’ the first thing that comes to mind is something bogus or fake. But in the world of home decor, sham means a pillow sham which is basically a fake anterior for the pillow.

    What is a pillow sham? Quite simply, a pillow sham is a decorative cover for your pillow. These pillow covers transform your traditional pillow into a decorative accessory for your bed. You can pair pillow shams with duvet covers or any other element of your bed.

    A pillow sham typically has flanged borders on three or, more commonly, all four sides. These flanged borders may be embellished with embroidery or beading or some sleek hemstitching.

    When to Use Bed Shams?

    Most pillow shams are used only as decoration during the day. You can place them at the front during the day, and at night you can either set them at the back or toss them off the bed altogether.

    But some pillow shams are comfortable enough to be slept on like standard pillowcases. So you can use your pillow sham as just a decoration or a standard pillowcase depending on the texture of that fabric and the comfort it provides.

    Styling With Pillow Shams

    So, how do you style your bed with pillow shams? There is no perfect answer. There are a great many ways to style with them, but the most common styling methods are:

    • Stack them: This is probably the most simple but classy way to style your shams. Just place your sleeping pillows flat on your bed and then place your sham-covered pillows directly on top of them. The look works best when all your pillows are of the same shape and size.

    • Make a layer: This style works best when you have pillows of different shapes and sizes. Just lean your sleeping pillows up against the headboard, and then lean your sham pillows against the sleeping pillows. You can make many layers of pillows, depending on what you have.

    • Asymmetrical: This is the least systematic but the most creative way to style your pillow shams. Instead of making layers of pillow shams of the same shapes and sizes, you can mix and match and get creative to make the style you want.

    Pillow Sham Sizes

    While some brands sell made to order custom-sized pillow shams, typical pillow shams come in the following sizes:

    SizeDimensions (inches)
    Standard20" X 26"
    King20” X 36”
    Queen20” X 30”
    Euro26” X 26”
    Boudoir12” X 16”

    Difference Between a Pillow Sham and a Pillow Case: Sham vs Pillowcase

    Many people assume that pillowcases and shams are one and the same, but that is not true. Depending on a particular pillowcase and a particular pillow sham, there can be many material differences.

     

    Following are the most common differences:

    • Purpose: A pillowcase is meant to protect your pillow and keep it clean while you sleep on it, whereas a pillow sham is typically used only as a decorative accessory.
    • Appearance: A pillowcase is usually very simple in appearance, whereas a pillow sham usually has flange borders and is embellished with embroidery.
    • Opening: A pillowcase is usually open at one end without any kind of closure, whereas a pillow sham usually opens from the back with an envelope-type closure.

    How to Choose the Right Sham Pillow?

    The single most important thing to know before shopping for a pillow sham is the size of the pillow you want to cover with the sham. There are various types of pillows with different pillow sizes. Pillow shams come in all the standard sizes. You can check the table above for more details.

    The only other consideration is the style of the sham. But that depends entirely on your own taste.

    Shams come in a range of different styles and materials. You can try to match the pillow sham with your duvet, comforter, or other pillows, or you can buy a uniquely designed pillow sham and make it the center of attention.

    As they say, a bed is incomplete without pillow shams. They are an integral part of stylizing your bed. Pillow shams come in so many unique shapes, and sizes and each pillow sham you place on your bed adds a unique flavor to the overall style of your bed.

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
    {"faq":[{"_id":"d2370ba","title":"Are shams just for decoration?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EEven though you can use shams for sleeping, the primary purpose of a sham is just for decoration.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"38f9577","title":"What is the difference between a standard sham and a euro sham?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EStandard shams are designed to fit North American pillows. The standard pillow sham size is 20\u201d X 26\u201d. Euro shams are designed to fit European pillows. The size of euro shams is 26\u201d X 26\u201d.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"78a16c0","title":" What is a euro sham?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EEuro shams are square-shaped pillows used on beds for decorative purposes.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"0de0c29","title":"What are duvet and sham?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EA duvet is a thick bed covering filled with natural or synthetic material. A sham is a decorative pillow cover.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"cc0cb37","title":"What kind of pillow goes in a sham?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EA feather pillow is the best one to go inside a sham for bed.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"b51f72e","title":"What are the different euro sham sizes?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EWhile typical euro sham dimensions are 26\u201d X 26\u201d. They also come in various other sizes like 24\u201d X 24\u201d, 32\u201d X 32\u201d.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"7102581","title":"What is a continental sham?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EContinental shams are larger than standard shams in size and are square in shape. The size of a Euro sham or a continental sham is 26\u201d x 26\u201d.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"21d23fc","title":"What is a bed sham?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EBed shams are decorative pillows that are used on beds.\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"0becb4b","title":"How to use pillow shams?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EThe simplest way to use them is by 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