Ideas + Advice


What Is a Sham?

No, we’re not referring to the synonym for “farce” or “fake.” Here, we’re focused on the term in relation to home décor; let’s take a look at what it actually means!

What Is a Sham?

A sham is a decorative pillowcase. Shams are most often used for large rectangular pillows and usually contain frills or other decorative touches. While shams can be used for sleeping, they are most often used for aesthetics only and come with a matching bedspread. Shams provide a clean, tailored look and are the finishing touch to a made bed.

What Are Sham Sizes?

Standard shams are 26”x20”, King shams are 36”x30” and Queen shams are 30”x20”. Each of these correlates with the Standard, King and Queen pillow sizes. When covered in a sham, a normal pillow turns into a matching accent for a bed, so choose a size that makes the most sense for your bed size!

How Do You Put On a Sham?

Shams have an opening in the back, made up of overlapping fabric. To insert a pillow into a sham, simply manipulate the pillow into the opening so that the pillow lays flat inside the sham. Because pillows are soft, working one into a sham is fairly simple. (Note that some shams contain zippers or Velcro on the back for more secure closing.)

Shams Vs. Cases

Shams are meant for decoration only, while pillowcases are meant more for resting your head. Shams also contain an opening in the back, while pillowcases contain an opening on the side. A benefit to both the sham and the case is that cleaning stains is simple – simply remove from the pillow and throw the cover into your next laundry cycle!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.