What is a Pillow Sham: All You Need to Know About Choosing, Styling, and Caring for Shams

This article explains what a pillow sham is and how silk pillow shams can be an important part of your luxury silk bedding ensemble.

Pillow Shams vs. Pillowcases

Sage Sham Pillowcase

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If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between a pillowcase and pillow sham is, Mulberry Park Silks can clarify:

A pillow sham is a special type of pillow cover for a decorative pillow. Pillow shams are finished with a flange or edge on all four sides, and typically made to coordinate with your bedspread, duvet cover, bed skirt, or bed sheet set.

Different Pillow Sham Styles

In the world of fine linen, you can find pillow shams to fit many different sizes of sleeping and throw pillows. Here are a few popular styles:

  • Standard Sham: A standard sham is made to fit a regular bed pillow in standard size. You may also find a King sham, made to fit a sleeping pillow but in a larger size suited for the width of a king bed. (Note, some brands sell a queen sham, but these are less common when a standard sham is available).
  • Euro Sham: A square sham made to go on a special Euro pillow insert.
  • Boudoir: A boudoir sham has a small rectangular shape.
  • Neckroll: Less common, this sham fits a cylindrical throw pillow.

At Mulberry Park Silks, we offer pillowcases in 19, 22, and 30 momme for your bed pillows, and pillow shams in 22 momme weight for square European throw pillows. These square shams are 26” x 26” and fit a European pillow insert.


View 22 Momme Silk Pillow Shams


Pillow Sham Edge Options

Unlike regular pillowcases, decorative shams can be finished with excess material called a flange, which is a fabric seam or border. Pillow shams can also be finished with a scalloped edge, a flange shaped similarly to the curved line of a shell in a continuous pattern for decorative purpose.

Mulberry Park Silks Euro shams are finished with what is known as a knife edge, which is best suited for silk fabric. Our knife edge pillow sham has a plain seam without extra fabric or decorative finish. It tapers to sharp, crisp edges and corners, creating a very simple, clean, polished look and understated elegance; it closes with a hidden zipper. Learn more about the different edge styles for shams and decorative pillows here.


How to Style Silk Pillow Shams

The magic of silk pillow shams is that they turn your accent pillows into coordinated throw pillows that add a sense of depth and luxury to your bed. We love all the different options for styling silk sham covered pillows! Even if you are a sleep minimalist (the type of sleeper who loves just a cozy silk duvet cover on top of a high-quality fitted sheet) silk pillow shams can be a beautiful part of your (daytime) bedding ensemble.

Palms Pillowcases
  • Elegantly Symmetrical Arrangement : For a classic and balanced look, arrange three Euro pillow shams standing upright against your headboard. These work beautifully to offset either a silk duvet or a set of silk sheets .
  • Sumptuous Silk Layers : Square euro shams add a layer of grandeur to your bedding. Place them behind your standard pillows, either leaning against the headboard or laid flat. 
  • Contrast and Coordinate Colors: Our beautiful silk pillow shams come in five shades that mix and match beautifully with our silk sheets, duvet covers, and other types of luxury bedding.
  • Play with Patterns. Our Gallery Collection silk pillowcases can be layered among regular solid silk pillowcases and silk shams to showcase the stunning nature-inspired art. 
    Sham Pillowcase in Plum

View 22 Momme Silk Pillow Shams


Pro tip: When it comes to styling any bed, the key to an inviting and luxe look is layering. Start with your fitted sheet, then add your flat sheet and duvet cover or quilt. Layer on regular pillows, throw pillows with decorative shams, and even a favorite cozy throw blanket. You are limited only by your imagination! Click here to learn about the many layers of bedding .

How to Clean Your Silk Pillow Shams

Our silk pillow shams are made from 100 percent pure mulberry silk, Grade 6A. Just like the rest of our silk bedding, pillowcases, and accessories, they can be machine washed with only a bit more care than cotton bedding. We recommend using an enzyme-free detergent made to gently and effectively clean natural fibers like Heritage Park Silk and Wool Detergent . Place your sham in a fine mesh laundry bag to protect it from damage in the washer and use a gentle or silk cycle and cool water. Hang your silk sham to dry indoors or outside away from direct sunlight (never put silk in the dryer). If you replace the sham on your pillow when it is slightly damp you will easily be able to smooth out any wrinkles by hand without needing to iron.

Heritage Park Silk Wash

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You can learn more about silk detergent and how to wash silk bedding here . And please feel free to contact our Mulberry Park Silks Design Team at any time with questions about choosing and caring for silk bedding.


Mulberry Park: Accessible and Affordable Luxury Silk

We founded Mulberry Park with one simple mission: to design the highest quality silk items in the market and offer them at an affordable price. And we've done just that, with a full range of silk products made from 100% pure mulberry long strand silk fabric. The silk fabric used for our silk sheets and silk pillowcases has also been OEKO-TEX® Certified (Standard 100) to be free of chemicals.

Visit us online or call us at (800) 860-1924 to learn more about our silk sheets, silk pillowcases, duvet covers and shams, and real silk accessories including sleep masks, travel pillows, and silk hair scrunchies.