Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between European Sham and Standard Sham

European Sham vs Standard Sham

Pillow shams are decorative coverings for pillows. Pillow shams are used for bed decorations and to make the bed an object of visual interest and the focal point of the bedroom.

Pillow shams have simple designs or elaborate ones with embellishments. They can be purchased as a set with other bedding materials like bed linens. They are also available and acquired separately. Standard shams are shams designed for standard pillows and cover regular-sized bed pillows. Standard pillows require rectangular-shaped pillow shams. Standard pillows measure 20×26 inches. This is also the required measurement for the standard shams.

On the other hand, European shams are square in shape with usual measurements of 26×26 inches like standard European pillows. European shams have the same function as standard shams. In terms of cost, standard pillow shams are less costly than European pillow shams. Standard pillow shams require less fabric compared to European pillow shams. Also, the standard sham has less and limited embellishments compared to a European sham.

Pillows and pillow shams are essential in creating a bedroom design and a crucial factor in pillow arrangement. Pillow arrangement, simply put, is the art of arranging pillows to create a visual effect. It is also done to add interest and mood to the bed and the bedroom. In addition, the arrangement can show off the individual pillow shams’ texture, color, and design.

Pillow arrangement is done by placing different sizes of pillows in a series of layers. European pillows and their shams are placed near the headboard or in the background. Following the European pillows, the standard pillows and their shams are placed in the foreground or the front of the European pillows. In this arrangement (called layering), each pillow and its sham is displayed on the bed for the full design effect.

European shams are becoming popular as a result of the European pillows’ introduction as a bed item. European pillows are used as floor pillows or as reading pillows aside from being a popular bed decoration.

To place a pillow inside a standard sham, the back of the sham is opened and the pillow is stuffed into the opening. An overlapping fabric can hide the opening for aesthetic purposes. On the other hand, European shams can be opened from the side or via a French back. Both shams can have additional decorations like flanges or fabric borders, trims, tassels, or ruffles.


1.Standard and European shams are common bed items and are often used to create a visual bedroom décor.
2.Standard shams are sized to fit American-size pillows. Their measurements are 20×26 inches. On the other hand, European shams are designed for European pillows which are commonly measured at 26×26 inches.
3.Standard shams, like standard pillows, are rectangular-shaped. European shams, meanwhile, are square-shaped and larger like European pillows.
4.Standard shams are opened at the back while European shams can be unfastened by the side or by a French back.
5.In a pillow arrangement, European pillows and their shams are placed at the back or near the headboard. Meanwhile, standard pillows and their shams are placed in front of the European pillows. By this arrangement, the decoration of each pillow sham is on display and an overall effect is achieved.
6.Both standard and European shams are available in different colors, patterns, designs, and fabrics to suit every bedroom décor or intended ambiance.
7.Both types of shams can be used for sleeping and decoration. However, decorative pillow shams will quickly fade, lose their shape, or become discolored if used for sleeping purposes on a regular basis.

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