What You Need To Know Before You Shop For A Pillow Sham

Apparently a lot!  Last week I had several requests for pillow shams.  Could it be a trend?

I start all of my projects with R-E-S-E-A-R-C-H.  It's just the scientist {or procrastinator} in me.  What size is a pillow sham? How big should the flange be? Zipper closure or something else?

I was a little surprised at what I found - but it makes a lot of sense when you get the visuals going.
Photo of king pillow sham with a nicely sized 2 inch flange and applique


Let's start with the easy bit.  The flange, which is the flappy edge of the pillow sham, can be whatever size you like.  It's truly personal preference, but flanges generally range from 1 to 2 inches wide. Of course, a king size sham, like the one in the photo above, deserves a king-sized two inch flange.


Best closure? Do you know me?  Then you know I am going to say the best closure is a zipper.  I like a nice lapped or flange zipper. This is where the zipper is up out of the pillow seam and covered by a flap of fabric.  Flanged zippers are great for when someone actually wants to snuggle your pillow {no scratches}.

A flange zipper keeps the zipper out of the seam and camouflages it


Yes, zippers are a bit scary at first, but they can be mastered with a little practice and good instruction.  Two other closure options are the simple envelope and almost-as-simple button closures.  Sadly, both have a tendency to not close firmly and can result in a rumpled looking pillow.

Now on to size. 

There are really two elements to pillow sham size:
1. What are the standard sizes of shams? 
2. What size sham goes on what size bed? 

This is the complicated bit, because it's not what you think.

Photo of king pillow sham on a twin bed fills space nicely

You see, a twin sham on a twin bed looks too small.  To really deck out a twin bed and fill the space, use a king sized sham.  The above photo shows a king sized sham really pumping up this puny twin bed {my son the avid reader's - see the messy well used bookcase!}.

Check out the handy table below for standard sham sizes and answers to the big questions...

How many shams and what size shams should I put on my king/queen/twin size bed?

image of table showing pillow sham standard sizes and best uses
I know some of you love your Amazon Prime and Target so here are a few shopping options for you:

Standard Pillow Inserts from Amazon | Standard Pillow Inserts from Target

Queen Pillow Inserts from Amazon | Queen Pillow Inserts from Target

King Pillow Inserts from Amazon | King Pillow Inserts from Target

European Pillow Inserts from Amazon | European Pillow Inserts from Target

I purchase throw pillow inserts from Rowley Company - they are simply higher quality than I have been able to find anywhere else.  But you have to have a wholesale account to purchase from them.  You can find high quality Rowley inserts for sale in my Throw Pillows Shop on Etsy

I hope you found this post helpful! 

Bookmark this post for your next bedroom spiff-up shopping trip. Or Pin the graphic to your "Bedroom Revamp" Pinterest board for later use.