Understanding Sham Bedding: Styling, Care, and Preservation Tips

Understanding Sham Bedding: Styling, Care, and Preservation Tips

Ever wondered why your bed doesn’t look as plush and inviting as those in high-end hotels or glossy magazines? The secret might be sham bedding. You’ve probably seen them, even if you didn’t know what they were called.

Sham bedding, or simply ‘shams’, are decorative pillowcases that transform ordinary pillows into stunning decor pieces. Unlike regular pillowcases, shams often have ornate borders and are designed to be displayed, not slept on.

In the world of bedding, it’s all about layering, and shams play a crucial role. They add depth, color, and style to your bedroom, making your bed look more sophisticated and cozy. So, if you’re ready to elevate your bedroom aesthetic, it’s time to learn more about sham bedding.

Key Takeaways

  • Sham bedding, or ‘shams’, are decorative pillowcases with ornate borders specifically designed for enhancing bedroom aesthetics. They transform simple pillows into captivating decor elements.
  • The difference between sham bedding and regular pillowcases lies in their purpose, coverage, appearance, and maintenance. Shams focus on decoration and are usually thicker and more detailed in design. In contrast, regular pillowcases are simpler and directly intended for sleeping purposes.
  • Not only enhancing the aesthetics of bedrooms, sham bedding also serves a practical purpose by shielding sleeping pillows against wear and tear, and thus extending their lifespan.
  • Balancing between regular pillowcases for comfort and sham bedding for style is important in creating an inviting and stylish bedroom.
  • Styling sham bedding requires the careful consideration of coordinating colors, patterns, layering the bedding correctly, and matching with other bedroom elements. Utilizing shams can help create depth, visual intrigue, and a personalized touch within the bedroom.
  • Proper maintenance of sham bedding involves following the care label’s instructions, washing on a gentle cycle with cold water and minimal detergent, air drying, and using pillow protectors. Proper care can preserve the attractiveness and texture of shams, prolonging their lifespan.

Sham bedding, often used for decorative purposes, requires specific care to maintain its appearance and longevity, with styling and care tips available at The Spruce. For those looking to preserve the quality of their sham bedding, Good Housekeeping offers guidance on cleaning and maintenance practices.

What is Sham Bedding?

What is Sham Bedding?

Sham bedding is not your average bedding component. To be precise, it’s a decorative pillowcase with ornate borders, typically displayed on top of regular pillowcases when making the bed. Unlike standard pillowcases, these aren’t intended for resting your head while sleeping. The primary purpose of sham bedding is aesthetical enhancement, transforming an ordinary pillow into a decorative component of your bedroom ensemble.

An interesting fact about sham bedding is the origin of its name. The word ‘sham’ derives from the Middle English term ‘sham’, meaning ‘false’. This signifies its role as a ‘false front’, adding to the decoration while disguising the functional pillow beneath. Not to mention, shams add layers of plushness, depth, and texture to your bed, contributing a significant visual appeal.

One distinctive feature of sham bedding is its ornate and detailed border, often showcasing intricate designs or patterns. This fringe-like embellishment frames the pillow, creating a luxurious and plush appearance that normal pillowcases simply can’t offer. Plus, they come in a wide array of colors, patterns, and materials, offering endless opportunities for customization. Imagine a nursery, where the soft hues of lemons and oranges inspire the color palette, and playful patterns of candy and car tires enliven baby-friendly designs.

Undoubtedly, layering your bed with sham bedding brings in an element of sophistication and style, creating a more cozy and inviting bedroom atmosphere. Curiously, sham bedding also serves a practical purpose. By reducing the visible wear and tear on your sleeping pillows, shams can extend their lifecycle.

In essence, sham bedding provides you with an affordable method to enrich your bedroom aesthetics without sacrificing the comfort and practicality of your regular pillowcases. So, why not immerse yourself in exploring the delightful world of sham bedding, which could be the missing piece in achieving your desired bedroom ambiance.

The Difference Between Sham Bedding and Regular Pillowcases

The Difference Between Sham Bedding and Regular Pillowcases

Perhaps you’re wondering what distinguishes sham bedding from your standard pillowcases? The differences are more than mere aesthetics; they involve design elements, usability and placement.

Sham Bedding is decor-focused, boasting extra details like flanges, ruffles, or intricately embroidered edges. They’re elegant to look at, giving a rich and plush appearance to your bedroom setup. Hence, they’re typically adorned at the forefront of your bed as an eye-catching element. Yet, they do more than serve as eye candy. Designed to protect your fluffier, decorative pillows, the sham covers are typically thicker, crafted with more durable, high-end fabric. This extra layer of protection helps keep your pillows’ integrity intact over time.

On the contrary, regular pillowcases are primarily for comfortable sleeping. They’re designed with your comfort and ease in mind. Made from soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic materials, these pillowcases promise a good night’s sleep. Additionally, they’re easier to maintain with a simple side or back opening for easy pillow insertion and removal. Yet, they lack the ornate borders and decorative designs that give sham bedding its appeal.

Use the table below to summarize your understanding.

Sham BeddingRegular Pillowcases
MaintenanceRequires More AttentionEasier to Maintain

However, you don’t have to choose between comfort and style. In any well-curated bed setup, you’d find a mix of both sham bedding and regular pillowcases. It’s the perfect blend of elegance, style, and comfort that makes your bedroom not just a place to sleep, but also a space you can proudly showcase.

Benefits of Using Sham Bedding

Benefits of Using Sham Bedding

Once the mystery of what is sham bedding is unraveled, the natural progression is to explore the rewards of implementing it in your bedroom decor. The benefits of using sham bedding extend beyond mere aesthetics, interlacing functionality with sophistication as well.

Firstly, sham bedding excels in protecting decorative pillows. While these pillows serve as a statement piece in your room, they’re not marred by the rigors of everyday use thanks to the durable fabric of sham bedding. They inherit a sturdy barrier against dust, spills, and unexpected wear and tear. Your pillows maintain their pristine condition, prolonging their lifespan which eventually saves you time, effort, and money on frequent replacements.

Moving beyond just protection, sham bedding’s unique designs and exquisite craftsmanship add a touch of refinement and style to your bedding. The intricate flanges, ruffles, or embroidery on sham bedding elevate your bed from a mere piece of furniture to a centerpiece of your room’s style statement.

Additionally, sham bedding serves as a secret ingredient to a well-curated bed setup. A strategic blend of sham bedding with regular pillowcases hit the sweet spot of balancing comfort and style. While regular pillowcases offer a soft landing spot for you after a long day, the sham bedding steals the spotlight with its ornamental detailing. It’s this balance that transforms your bedroom from a regular resting place into a demonstration of your personal style and comfort.

Lastly, sham bedding poses as a practical, yet surprising solution to easy bedroom makeovers. Swapping out shams with different patterns or colors is an effortless way to change up your bedroom’s visual appeal. Without the need for extensive renovations or large investments, you can refresh your room’s look with just a change of sham bedding.

How to Style Sham Bedding in Your Bedroom

Choosing the right bedding can transform your room into a cozy retreat. And when it comes to adding style and personality, sham bedding is your best ally. But how do you make the most of it? Here are some top tips to keep in mind.

Balance Colors and Patterns

Shams are available in a variety of colors, patterns, and fabrics. To create a harmonious bedroom atmosphere, consider the overall color scheme of your room. Shams with solid colors or subtle patterns can complement bold room decor, while vibrant, patterned shams can bring a touch of energy to neutral spaces.

Layer for Depth

With sham bedding, you’ve got an opportunity to add depth and texture to your bed. Start with a base layer of crisp white sheets, then flank your pillows with your chosen shams. For an invitingly plush look, opt for a few oversized pillows with shams in contrasting textures. Following this technique helps create an environment that’s not just comfortable, but visually engaging too.

Coordinate with Other Elements

Sham bedding isn’t standalone. Make sure to coordinate your shams with other elements like duvets, comforters, and throws. Pairing a floral-patterned sham with a solid-colored duvet or a velvet-textured sham with a cotton comforter can elevate your room’s aesthetic.

Mix and Match

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different sham styles. Perhaps one set of shams matches your sheets while another picks up the color of your curtains. The key is to tie everything together without each element losing its individual identity.

Remember, styling sham bedding is all about experimenting till you hit your sweet spot of comfort and style. It’s about finding what works for you and your room. So, go ahead and play around with different styling ideas and let your bedroom radiate with your unique touch. And of course, enjoy the process.

Tips for Caring for Sham Bedding

Once you’ve mastered the art of styling sham bedding, it’s essential to understand how to correctly care for them. Proper maintenance not only extends the lifespan of your bed shams; it also maintains the vibrant colors and comfy texture that add pizzazz to your bedroom space.

Primarily, always mind the care label. This small tag is a treasury of information. It’ll advise whether your sham bedding can be machine washed or if it requires professional cleaning. Most commonly, cotton and synthetic playing counterparts are machine-friendly, while silk and linen shams may call for special attention.

If you’re dealing with machine-friendly shams, remember washing in cold water on a gentle cycle. Hot water can cause colors to fade and materials to shrink. Plus, the gentle cycle is easy on your shams’ fabric, maintaining their structure and comfort over time.

Another thing you definitely want to watch out for: don’t overdo the detergent. A small amount will suffice. As you might know, too much detergent can lead to buildup, making your shams stiff and less comfy to the touch. A light rinse afterward ensures all soap residue is thoroughly removed.

Drying your sham bedding is another key step. For a crease-free finish, remove your shams from the dryer while still slightly damp. Then, lay them out flat to finish air drying. If your shams are made from a material that wrinkles easily, consider a quick press with a warm iron.

Last but not least, consider using pillow protectors under your sham bedding. These nifty tools protect your pillows from sweat, oils, and other impurities, keeping your shams fresher for longer. Plus, they add an extra level of comfort, making your sleep experience even more enjoyable.

With these tips, caring for your sham bedding becomes an easy task. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details — and in the case of sham bedding care, it’s the details that will retain their comfort and beauty for a long time.


You’ve got the know-how to style and care for your sham bedding now. Remember, it’s all about following those care labels and washing your shams correctly. Don’t forget the little things like using pillow protectors and avoiding too much detergent. These small steps can make a big difference in keeping your shams looking fresh and comfortable. With your newfound knowledge, you’re ready to enhance the beauty and comfort of your bedroom. So go ahead, style your sham bedding with confidence and watch as they transform your sleeping space into a luxurious haven.

What is Sham Bedding?

Sham bedding refers to decorative pillowcases that transform ordinary pillows into aesthetically pleasing elements in your bedroom decor.

Why is care important for Sham Bedding?

Proper care is crucial in maintaining the beauty and comfort of your sham bedding over time. It helps in preserving the fabric’s quality, appearance, and texture, extending its longevity.

How should we wash Sham Bedding?

Machine-friendly sham beddings should be washed in cold water on a gentle cycle. It’s recommended to avoid excessive detergent and to follow the care label instructions to maintain their quality.

Is there a particular drying technique for Sham Bedding?

Yes, to ensure a crease-free finish, it’s recommended to use appropriate drying techniques such as air drying or tumble drying on a low heat setting.

Should we use pillow protectors with Sham Bedding?

Yes. Pillow protectors help maintain the freshness and comfort of your sham bedding, protecting the bedding from spills, stains, and dust mites.