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What Are Shams In A Comforter Set

What Are Shams In A Comforter Set


What Are Shams In A Comforter Set: Shams, often seen as an integral part of a comforter set, are more than just decorative pillow covers. They play a vital role in enhancing the overall aesthetics of your bedding ensemble while offering a touch of sophistication and completion. In this guide, we’ll delve into what shams are in a comforter set, their purpose, and the various styles they come in.

At first glance, you might mistake shams for regular pillowcases, but they serve a unique purpose. Shams are designed to coordinate with your comforter and the overall decor of your bedroom. They typically come in a range of sizes, including standard, queen, and king, to match your bed and pillows.

One of the primary purposes of shams is to create a harmonious and polished look for your bed. They act as decorative covers for your sleeping pillows, concealing them and giving your bed a more tailored and cohesive appearance. Additionally, shams protect your sleeping pillows from dust and wear, making them both stylish and functional.

But shams are not one-size-fits-all; they come in various styles, from simple and classic designs to more intricate patterns and embellishments. They allow you to express your personal taste and complement your bedroom’s decor theme, making your bed the focal point of the room.

In the following sections, we’ll explore the different types of shams, their sizing, and how to incorporate them into your comforter set to create a polished and inviting bedroom retreat. Whether you prefer understated elegance or bold statements, shams can elevate your bedding to the next level of comfort and style.

What Are Shams In A Comforter Set

What is the difference between a pillow and a sham?

Pillowcases are usually open at one end and made of simple sheet fabric. Bedding shams, on the other hand, are typically made of fancier materials that match or compliment your duvet and often have a slit in the middle of their backs (or on one or both sides) that closes with an overlapping length of fabric.

Pillows and shams serve different purposes in bedding and are designed for distinct functions:


  • A pillow is a cushioned support typically used for sleeping or resting your head and neck. It comes in various shapes and sizes, such as standard, queen, king, and specialty pillows (e.g., body pillows).
  • Pillows are filled with materials like feathers, down, memory foam, or synthetic fibers, depending on the desired level of support and comfort.
  • They often have removable and washable pillowcases to maintain cleanliness.


  • A sham is a decorative cover for a pillow, designed primarily for aesthetic purposes. Shams are not meant for sleeping or providing support but rather for enhancing the visual appeal of the bed.
  • Shams come in various sizes to match standard pillow sizes, such as standard, queen, or king shams.
  • They are typically made of decorative fabrics like silk, satin, cotton, or linen and often feature embellishments like embroidery, pleats, or flanges.
  • Shams are used to create a polished and coordinated look in bedding ensembles and are placed in front of or on top of sleeping pillows.
  • Unlike functional pillowcases, shams are often closed with decorative closures like buttons or zippers.

What is the purpose of a bed sham?

Bed shams are decorative pillowcases that add style and elegance to your bedroom. Though they are called bed shams, they are actually used to cover your pillows. Many bedding sets include shams that are color-coordinated to match the duvet covers or comforters.

The primary purpose of a bed sham is decorative, as it serves to enhance the overall appearance of a well-made bed. Bed shams are designed to provide a polished and coordinated look in bedding ensembles, and they offer several key purposes:

Aesthetic Appeal: Bed shams add an element of style and sophistication to your bedding arrangement. They come in various colors, patterns, and textures, allowing you to complement or contrast with your existing decor and bedding.

Layered Look: Shams can be layered on top of or in front of standard sleeping pillows to create depth and dimension in your bedding design. This layering adds visual interest and a luxurious feel to your bed.

Hide Sleeping Pillows: Shams are often used to conceal sleeping pillows, providing a clean and cohesive appearance. This is especially useful if your sleeping pillows have mismatched pillowcases or you want to maintain a consistent color scheme.

Versatility: Bed shams are versatile and can be easily changed or updated to refresh your bedroom decor without replacing the entire bedding set.

Personalization: Shams allow you to express your personal style and creativity. You can mix and match shams with other bedding elements like duvet covers, quilts, and decorative throw pillows to create a unique look.

Protection: While not their primary purpose, shams can offer a layer of protection to the bedding underneath, helping to keep it clean and in good condition.

What do you put in Shams?

Generally speaking, a sham is a decorative bedding accent typically used during the day while your bed is made. While you can use the same pillows in your shams as you do in your regular pillowcases, you might opt for something a little flatter or puffier, depending on the look you’re going for.

Bed shams are designed to hold decorative pillows, and what you put in them largely depends on your personal preference and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve in your bedding ensemble. Here are some common items that can be placed in bed shams:

Decorative Pillows: Shams are typically used to hold decorative throw pillows. These pillows come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, such as square, rectangular, bolster, or accent pillows. The choice of decorative pillows can greatly influence the style and theme of your bedding decor.

Euro Pillows: Euro pillows are large square pillows (usually 26×26 inches) that fit nicely in Euro shams, which are larger square shams designed specifically for Euro pillows. These can add a plush and luxurious look to your bed.

Bolster Pillows: Bolster pillows are cylindrical in shape and work well in shams designed for this purpose. They can be placed at the back of the bed for added support and decoration.

Accent Pillows: Smaller accent pillows with unique textures, patterns, or embellishments can be placed in shams as focal points or to complement the overall bedding theme.

Custom Inserts: If you have a specific size or shape of pillow insert that matches your sham, you can use custom inserts to achieve the desired look.

Do people sleep on a pillow sham?

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.

No, people do not sleep on a pillow sham. Pillow shams are primarily decorative in nature and are not designed for sleeping. Instead, they are used to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the bed and to create a coordinated and polished look in bedding ensembles.

Here’s why people do not sleep on pillow shams:

Decorative Purpose: Pillow shams are made from decorative fabrics and often feature embellishments like embroidery, pleats, or flanges. They are intended to be visually appealing and to complement the overall decor of the bedroom.

Size and Closure: Pillow shams are typically larger than standard sleeping pillows, and their dimensions are designed to fit decorative pillows or inserts. They often have decorative closures like buttons or zippers, making them impractical and uncomfortable for sleeping.

Material: The fabrics used for pillow shams, such as silk, satin, or textured materials, are chosen for their visual and tactile appeal but may not offer the comfort and breathability needed for a good night’s sleep.

What Are Shams In A Comforter Set

What is the purpose of shams in a comforter set?

The purpose of shams in a comforter set extends beyond mere decoration, as they serve both functional and aesthetic roles in creating a well-dressed and inviting bed.

Aesthetic Enhancement: Shams are primarily used to enhance the overall aesthetics of your bedding ensemble. They provide a polished, cohesive look to your bed by concealing your sleeping pillows and creating a uniform appearance. Shams often feature decorative elements such as patterns, textures, and embellishments, elevating the visual appeal of your bed.

Coordination: Shams are designed to coordinate with the comforter, duvet cover, or bedspread in your set, ensuring that your bedding looks harmonious and well-matched. They come in various styles, colors, and patterns, allowing you to complement your bedroom decor or create a focal point with your choice of shams.

Protection: Beyond their decorative function, shams offer practical benefits. They protect your sleeping pillows from dust, dirt, and wear and tear, helping to extend the life of your pillows. This can be especially useful if you have allergies or sensitive skin, as shams act as an additional barrier.

Versatility: Shams are versatile and can serve as both decorative and functional elements. You can arrange them against the headboard for a tidy and sophisticated look during the day and remove them for sleeping at night, maintaining both style and comfort.

Shams in a comforter set play a crucial role in elevating the appearance of your bed, protecting your pillows, and allowing you to express your personal style through your bedding choices. They are an essential component of a well-designed and inviting bedroom retreat.

What are the different sizes of shams available for bedding?

Shams for bedding are available in several different sizes to accommodate various bed and pillow dimensions. These size options ensure a proper fit and a well-coordinated look for your bedding ensemble. Here are the most common sizes of shams:

Standard Sham: Standard shams typically measure 20 inches by 26 inches (51 cm by 66 cm). They are designed to fit standard or twin-sized pillows and are suitable for twin or full-size beds. Standard shams create a tailored and classic look.

Queen Sham: Queen shams are slightly larger, measuring 20 inches by 30 inches (51 cm by 76 cm). They are designed for queen-sized pillows and are an ideal choice for queen beds. Queen shams offer a more generous coverage and a polished appearance.

King Sham: King shams are the largest option, measuring 20 inches by 36 inches (51 cm by 91 cm). They are designed for king-sized pillows and are typically used on king or California king beds. King shams provide ample coverage and make a bold statement in larger bedrooms.

Euro Sham: Euro shams are square in shape and come in various sizes, with the most common being 26 inches by 26 inches (66 cm by 66 cm). They are used for decorative purposes, typically placed behind standard or king shams. Euro shams add dimension and style to your bedding.

Boudoir Sham: Boudoir shams, also known as breakfast shams, are small rectangular shams measuring around 12 inches by 16 inches (30 cm by 41 cm). They are primarily decorative and are often used to add a pop of color or pattern to your bedding.

How do shams differ from regular pillowcases in a comforter set?

Shams and regular pillowcases in a comforter set may seem similar at first glance, but they serve distinct purposes and exhibit notable differences in design and function:


Shams: Shams are primarily decorative pillow covers used to enhance the overall appearance of your bedding ensemble. They are intended to coordinate with your comforter, duvet cover, or bedspread and create a polished, cohesive look. Shams often feature decorative elements such as flanges, patterns, or embellishments, adding style and sophistication to your bed.

Regular Pillowcases: Regular pillowcases are functional covers designed to protect your sleeping pillows from dust, dirt, and allergens. They offer minimal decoration and focus on practicality.


Shams: Shams are often more intricately designed, with attention to aesthetics. They may have decorative flanges, tailored edges, or unique patterns to complement your bedding’s style. Shams are usually open on one side and feature closures like envelope or zipper openings.

Regular Pillowcases: Regular pillowcases are straightforward in design, with a simple rectangular shape and openings at one end for inserting and removing pillows. They prioritize ease of use and pillow protection.


Shams: Shams are typically arranged at the front of the pillow arrangement on your bed, serving as the top layer of decorative pillows. They conceal and complement your sleeping pillows.

Regular Pillowcases: Regular pillowcases are used directly on your sleeping pillows and are positioned behind or beneath the decorative shams. Their purpose is to safeguard the pillows while providing a clean and comfortable surface for sleeping.

What materials are commonly used for making shams?

Shams, like other bedding components, are crafted from a variety of materials to suit different styles, preferences, and comfort levels. Common materials used for making shams include:

Cotton: Cotton is a popular choice for shams due to its breathability, durability, and softness. It can be woven into various textures, such as percale for a crisp finish or sateen for a smoother feel. Cotton shams are versatile and well-suited for different bedroom aesthetics.

Linen: Linen shams are favored for their natural, textured appearance and exceptional breathability. Linen tends to become softer and more comfortable with each wash, making it a great choice for a relaxed, casual bedroom look.

Silk: Silk shams exude luxury and sophistication. They are smooth, shiny, and provide a touch of elegance to your bedding. Silk shams are prized for their temperature-regulating properties and softness against the skin.

Velvet: Velvet shams are plush and offer a rich, tactile experience. They add a sense of opulence and coziness to your bedding. Velvet shams are perfect for creating a luxurious and inviting bedroom atmosphere.

Microfiber: Microfiber shams are known for their affordability, easy maintenance, and resistance to wrinkles and stains. They are a practical choice for those seeking a balance between comfort and convenience.

Lace or Embroidery: Shams may also feature lace, embroidery, or other embellishments for decorative purposes. These details are often added to enhance the visual appeal and style of the shams.

Eco-Friendly Materials: For those prioritizing sustainability, shams made from eco-friendly materials like organic cotton or Tencel (lyocell) are available. These materials are produced using environmentally conscious practices.

The choice of material for your shams can influence the look, feel, and care requirements of your bedding ensemble. Consider your personal preferences, comfort needs, and desired bedroom aesthetic when selecting the right material for your shams.

What Are Shams In A Comforter Set


Shams are a multifaceted and indispensable component of a well-rounded comforter set. These decorative pillow covers transcend their functional purpose to become integral elements in creating a beautifully coordinated and inviting bedroom retreat. As we’ve explored, shams serve several key roles:

First and foremost, shams elevate the aesthetics of your bedding ensemble. They add a layer of sophistication, style, and cohesion to your bed, creating a polished and visually pleasing appearance. Shams allow you to express your personal taste and complement your bedroom decor theme through their diverse designs, colors, and patterns.

Additionally, shams provide practical benefits by safeguarding your sleeping pillows from dust, dirt, and wear, contributing to the longevity of your bedding. They also offer flexibility, allowing you to balance functionality and style. By day, shams adorn your bed with their decorative charm, while by night, they can be removed to reveal your sleeping pillows.

Whether you opt for the classic elegance of standard shams, the generous coverage of queen or king shams, the decorative flair of Euro shams, or the playful touch of boudoir shams, these versatile elements can be tailored to suit your unique preferences and bed size.

Shams are the finishing touch that transforms your bed from merely functional to a restful haven that reflects your personality and style. Their versatility, aesthetic appeal, and practicality make shams an essential part of any well-appointed comforter set, offering both comfort and beauty for your peaceful night’s sleep.


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Once you have a good idea of the type of bubble slides you’re looking for, it’s time to start shopping. They are comfortable, stylish, and versatile, making them a great addition to any wardrobe. One of the best places to shop for bubble slidess is online, where you can find a wide variety of styles, colors, and sizes. 

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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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