You've likely heard someone use the word "sham" for pillows and shams alike. The definition of a sham, at its core, is a thing that is not what it is purported to be - a false front, essentially. That is how "sham" transitions into becoming a descriptive word for the fabric that covers an additional set of your decorative bed pillows.
Way back in the 1700s, specially designed pillowcases were made to enhance the idea of decorative pillows with removable covers. These false-front pillow covers are now known as pillow shams.
What makes a pillow sham, a pillow sham?
A sham can be a decorative pillow encasing that embellishes, enhances and hides your normal pillows. Instead of replacing your decorative pillows when you get a new bedding set, you can simply alter them by putting on a new pillow sham.
Most pillowcases feature an open entry flap on one side where you stuff the pillow in. Pillow shams often open in the back and boast slightly overlapped fabric. Some even include a zipper or velcro. You can typically find pillow shams as a pair, matching with either a duvet or comforter such as in our SHEEX Studio Tech Bedding Set.
When all else fails, remember this: Pillowcases are there to protect your pillow and keep it clean while your head rests on it as you sleep. A pillow sham is there to hide your pillow behind a decorative facade.
How do you use a pillow sham properly?
As opposed to highly decorative pillows (think ones with beads), shams can be slept on just like normal pillowcases. However, most people use them to complete a made-bed look and hide their sleeping pillows behind the shams. What's great about pillow shams is that you can also wash them. More often than not, most people choose to not rest their head on their pillow shams simply because of the texture of the fabric.
What are the different sizes of pillow shams?
Standard Sham (20" x 26 ") It is Standard/Queen --20" x 26"
King Sham (20" x 36")
How should you style your pillow shams?
What's your preference? This is completely up to you and the look you are hoping to achieve with a showpiece made-up bed.
Stack your pillow shams. This is a simple approach to a complete bedroom look. Take your sleeping pillows and lay them flat at the head of your bed. Then, place the decorative pillow shams on top to create a quick and pleasing arrangement. You can get creative with throw pillows, too. However, this setup keeps your bedroom looking clean, tidy and simple.
Layer your pillow shams. This is a fun way to show off your decorative skills. With this technique, you're going to want to position your sleeping pillows upright against the headboard. Take your pillow shams and begin to lean them up against your sleeping pillows, creating an overflow of pillows. You can then throw a few decorative pillows such as boudoirs and bolsters in front to complete this signature bed look.
Hopefully you can shop for your bedding with confidence now that you have a better understanding of what pillow shams are. Do you always need them? Of course not. However, there's no shame in trying to enhance your bedding set with breathable, cooling pillow shams.
Discover our great selection here to create the perfect pillow experience.