Pillow Sham versus Pillowcase

Pillow sham versus pillowcase

Pillow cases

You’re not the first one to wonder about the difference between a pillow sham and a pillow case. As a matter of fact, this question is quite common, but truth is that they’re not quite the same thing.

They are both slip cover for your bed pillows, but they do have different purposes. They’re designed differently so they highlight your bed linens in different ways.

What is a pillowcase?

A pillowcase is a bit more functional as it’s designed to be slept on, serving as an extra layer that you use to sleep on.

A pillowcase is going to protect your pillow from hair and skin oil, but also from drool and perspiration.

Typically, a pillow case is made from the same fabric as your bed’s fitted or flat sheet and it’s created to be a perfect match for them. Most of the pillowcases out there are made of a plain colors, but you may also find models with patterned trimmings.

What about a pillow sham?

Pillow shams are a bit more decorative and you may use them only to bring a fun or elegant vibe to your bedroom. You’re not going to use the pillow shams for sleeping. They’re created and made to add a nice feel to a room, while complementing the bedding.

A pillow sham is designed to match the comforter, coverlet, quilt or duvet cover. Another thing that sets them apart from the pillowcases is that they may decorated with embroidery or ornate laces, showing a lot more sophisticated patterns that pillowcases would show.

It’s also quite common for the shams to be made of thicker fabrics and even padded so that they may lie atop your comforter or bedspread. They also feature zippers in the middle and that’s also the insertion point of your pillow.

When you’re in need to add some flair to a room that looks kind of dull, put your money at stake with some pillow shams.

The pillow shams are quite versatile and you may use them as pillowcases also. They’re a bit more expensive than the pillowcases though as they’re made from more expensive fabrics as you don’t want to use them for sleeping, but only for the show.

In a nutshell

Pillowcases and pillow shams do sound alike and do look alike quite a lot. However, you may want to use a pillowcase to cover your sleeping queen or king-size pillows, whereas you’re going to use a pillows ham for decorative purposes alone.

To make it easier for you, here are the main things to keep in mind:

The pillowcases

  • Contain a flange or an opening
  • Open at one end
  • They’re made to protect your pillow
  • You may sleep on them

As for the pillow shams, here’s the short list:

  • All four sides may finish with cording or flange
  • They feature tuck flap on the back
  • They’re mainly decorative
  • They’re a bit more expensive

As if all of these wasn’t enough, don’t forget about the Euro Sham. This is a square pillow that comes with an ornamental cover and works as a regular pillow sham, but may also be used as a throw.


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