Early Access Memorial Day Sale! | 35% off + FREE Pillows on select mattresses








Award Icon
Rated No 1 Mattress for Side SleepersLearn More
What Is a Bed Sham?

What Is a Bed Sham?


Aoife O.
Jan 29, 2021

Bed pillows come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. But, if you’re bored with your current linen setup, you can kick your bedroom aesthetic up a notch with some decorative bed shams, also known as pillow shams. You can even make them yourself if you’re feeling crafty, let’s talk about pillow shams and how they can uplift your bedroom.

What Is a Bed Sham?

A bed sham is slightly different from your standard pillowcase. It adds a certain design flair to your pillows, and it can resemble an old-fashioned design or be more modern. The additional fabric on the perimeter of the pillow peaks out from behind your regular pillows when your bed is dressed. They can have an embellished panel on the front of the pillow that gives it its unique style.

If you're interested in a total bedding makeover, consider our Deep Pocket Blended Cotton Sheet Set, which pairs ultra-soft cotton with silky-smooth viscose from bamboo. What is bamboo viscose? Our article Benefits of Viscose from Bamboo Sheets covers everything you'll want to know about this luxurious bedding option.

How to Use a Pillow Sham

Standard shams are widely available, affordable, and easy to use. They can be patchwork style, sequins, button style, lace, or silk. To use a pillow sham you could match some decorative pillows to duvet covers and bedding sets. Your bed runner could match a couple of pillow shams or you can mix and match prints and fabrics, the possibilities are endless.

Bed with a matching pillow shams and a duvet cover

What Are the Standard Size Pillow Dimensions?

Sleeping Pillows

Pillow Size



20 x 26 inches


20 x 30 inches 


20 x 36 inches 

Decorative Pillows

It's also common to style your bed with additional decorative pillows covered with pillow shams. A few popular decorative pillow sizes include:

  • 25 x 25 inches
  • 20 x 20 inches
  • 18 x 18 inches
  • 16 x 16 inches
  • 12 x 16 inches
  • Boudoir pillows (12 x 16 inches)
  • Neckroll pillows (6.5 x 13 inches)

DIY: How to Make a Bed Sham


  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Ruler/measuring tape

Step 1:

  • Cut two pieces of fabric for the front and back.
  • Allow 1 inch on each side to accommodate the pillow filing.
  • Allow more than one inch if you plan to let some additional fabric hang from your pillow sham.

Step 2:

  • Sew the edges with a sewing machine or hand sew (it’s easier than you think).
  • Leave an opening to put the pillow in and out.
  • Turn the pillow sham inside out.

Step 3:

  • Insert the filling into your pillow sham and place on your bed.
  • Make more to use as a couch throw pillow or matching bed pillow.

Conclusion: Do I Need a Bed Sham?

Boudoir pillows may sound fancy but the beauty of the bed sham is that it is so adaptable, easy to find, and even easy to make. They add an elegant flair, colorful touch, and vibrant feel to your bedroom. They’re comfortable, easy to clean, and keep your pillow free from dirt and dust. Enjoy your pillow sham with matching sheets, duvet cover, or comforter—our Bedding Types guide includes everything you need to know about building the perfect bed.

You May Also Like These Articles

How to Tell if Your Pillow Is Causing Your Neck Pain

How to Tell if Your Pillow Is Causing Your Neck Pain

Waking up with a stiff or sore neck? Your pillow could be the culprit. Find out if your pillow is the source of your neck pain and what you can do to fix it.
Read more
Duvets vs. Comforters: Understanding Duvet Types

Duvets vs. Comforters: Understanding Duvet Types

What's the difference between a comforter and a duvet? Let's distinguish between the two, so you can find the best one for your sleep needs.
Read more
How Often to Change Sheets on a Mattress

How Often to Change Sheets on a Mattress

How often should you wash your bedding? For optimal sleep quality and cleanliness, you should change or wash your bed sheets once a week.
Read more

Featured Articles

Ready for Bed?

People in Bed Icon Mobile Top Decorations
Shop Mattresses Now

with Free Shipping and 120-Night Trial

People in Bed Icon Mobile