The Differences Between Pillow Shams and Pillowcases

Many questions come up regarding the different types of bedding available in the market today. One of the most frequent questions that young moms or dads often ask is “what is the difference between pillowcases and pillow shams?” I would like to clarify the difference for you.

A Pillowcase: Pillowcases are just that. It is a case to cover your pillow in. Its main purpose is to cover the pillow you use for sleeping. A pillowcase is open on one end in order to easily slip a pillow into. Sometimes it is referred to as a pillow slip. A pillowcase protects the pillow on which you lay your head to relax, or fall asleep. In addition to protecting your pillow the pillowcase helps absorb face oils, perspiration, drool, and softly protects your face as you sleep.

Pillowcases are usually purchased at the same time as your bed sheets. Most people tend to want matching bed sheets and pillowcases. Sometimes, you will find beautiful hand embroidered pillowcases. These pillowcases are generally white to show off the beautiful embroidered handiwork, and are often given as gifts. You may also see some pillowcases with a beautiful crocheted edging. These hand embroidered and crocheted pillowcases are made with a lot of love to make a special gift.

Oftentimes a hand embroidered monogram pillowcase is given as a wedding gift. Pillowcases, if decorated, are done on the open edge only and not where you lay your face. Pillowcases are made of soft materials that feel nice against your face to facilitate going to sleep quickly. Pillowcases are functional in nature more so than looking pretty, although you will find some very pretty, pillowcases.

A Pillow sham: Is normally used for decorative purposes. A pillow sham is an attractive cover for pillows. You will find that there is a slit in the back where you can insert a pillow. The opening of a pillow sham is located in the middle of the back and it may either be an overlapping of material or it may have a zippered opening. Both openings serve the same purpose of inserting the pillow. They are a great way to use an old pillow that you no longer want to use.

Pillow shams are not normally used to sleep on, or lay your face on. They are usually made of a heavier weight material that matches your comforter, quilt, duvet or bedspread, and are generally made of more expensive material. Some have more decorative materials that may be rough on your skin if you were to lay on it for a long period of time. A pillow that is covered with a pillow sham is removed nightly along with any throw pillows before going down for a good night’s sleep. Pillow shams can also be purchased individually to coordinate with your bedding. Sometimes you will find them conveniently included in a bed in a bag set.

Pillow shams are an impressive addition to any bedroom decor. They can add some real style to a worn out pillow and make it appear new. Pillow shams are a welcome addition to any bedroom, whether you are decorating your own bedroom or your kid’s bedroom.

As you can see there is a difference between a pillowcase and a pillow sham. The most important difference being, the pillowcase is functional and the pillow sham is a decorative item to be place on top of the bed. You lay down to sleep on the pillow with the pillowcase, and you lay aside the pillow that has the pillow sham. Generally in the morning when making the bed the pillows with the shams are placed on top of the pillows with the cases.

Hopefully this will clear up any questions you may have regarding pillowcases and pillow shams.