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Definition: Sham

After noticing that several of my house guests slept on my pillow shams, rather than the pillow cases underneath, I began to suspect that not everyone knows what a sham is. Because a pillow sham isn't mean to be slept on; it is a decorative cover for a bed pillow that goes over the regular pillow case when the bed is all made up. Often, pillow shams match the bedspread or duvet cover, and you will often find them sold as part of a bedding set.


ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
i guess i learned something new. but, yeah, i'm a less is more type of person. seems wasteful to have a pillow case and a sham on top of that.
ace ace 10 years
yea I also thought that shams were purely used over (useless) pillows to be decorative, not to be placed over pillows that already have regular cases on them.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 10 years
They probably slept on them because they were the only pillows. And they probably wondered why you put shams on the only pillows. lol. Pillow Sham: "Decorative fabric coverings for pillows, often designed with trims, flanges, ruffles, or cording. Not to be confused from simple pillow cases for sleeping on, shams are placed behind the sleeping pillows when the bed is made up."
kgtg1 kgtg1 10 years
Umm.. aren't pillows with shams put on top of the normal pillows (with pillowcase), and then removed to sleep? I have never in my life seen just one set of pillows with sham and normal pillowcase both on the pillow! If I did run into that, I suppose I would sleep on the sham as well. Actually, I would probably question my host as to where the pillows were located. Anyway, if you type the word pillow enough, it doesn't even seem like a word anymore.
lizzy112189 lizzy112189 10 years
eatyourveggies ---- i didn't see ur comment till after i already posted. we must share the same brain. lol totally agree
lizzy112189 lizzy112189 10 years
this little story so reminds me of 'along came polly' with jen anniston n ben stiller. those stupid little pillows. i hate them. do you realize how much of your life you watse just making the bed everyday??? it amounts to days!! just get rid of them!! they are a waste of time. my advice: DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFE MAKING THE BED
Annika14938867 Annika14938867 10 years
Okay, I totally understand the pet peeve aspect, but I can't over the idea of a covering you have to take off before you sleep. That or having pillows you just don't use? I can't imagine. Granted, I did come from the home where we had matching sheets, let alone shams, so maybe I'm just not used to it. Still, a useless pillow seems a shame.
rubiesymusica rubiesymusica 10 years
i agree with jenn777 but i sleep with two pillows so adding shams would take up half of the bed!
Jennifer777 Jennifer777 10 years
When I replace my pillows I use the old pillows in my shams and put the new pillow is matching pillowcases... I have NEVER heard of putting the pillowcased pillow IN the sham!!!! No wonder the guests are sleeping on
EatYourVeggies EatYourVeggies 10 years
This reminds of of that Ben Stiller movie, "Along Came Polly" where he loses his temper 'cause he's sick of dealing with decorative pillows before going to sleep every night.
gruaig_rua gruaig_rua 10 years
Oh thank god I'm not the only one who didn't know this!! I've never even heard the term "sham pillow" before. Am I very common? ;)
redegg redegg 10 years
No, you don't take the shams on and off. They stay on all the time and you move the sham pillows off the bed to sleep and use the regular pillows.
sofi sofi 10 years
I am with jennjenn- I always put the decorative shams on extra pillows merely to decorate the bed, and the regular pillows have cases that match the sheets under the duvet. What a hassle to take those things on and off. I can't say I have even run into that as a guest. I sure wouldn't feel comfortable about ripping the sham off and probably would just use what they provided as is. The more pillows the better.
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 10 years
wait a minute. so you put the shams over an already "cased" pillow? and take the sham off to sleep on the pillow?? I just buy two sham pillows and put the sham over that. toss'em on top the chest at night and sleep on my regular pillows.
TrinityOne TrinityOne 10 years
Yeah, I learned something new. Thanks. I always just put my shams on a few extra pillows that I put on the bed during the day. I don't sleep on them though... not comfortable.
figurine figurine 10 years
Haha, who knew. :D
paii paii 10 years
I like the colors
koolbr33z3 koolbr33z3 10 years
Thanks for posting this. I didn't know about this either since my family never used shams on our pillows when I was growing up.
millarci millarci 10 years
Thanks for posting that comment yayapapaya. At least I'm not alone. I had no idea you weren't supposed to sleep on shams. Like yaya, I thought it was just an extra fancy pillow case!
libs1dlab libs1dlab 10 years
I remember my mom made a big deal about us not sleeping on our shams. I thought everyone got the same lecture.
yayapapaya yayapapaya 10 years
I learned something new today. I always just thought the shams were extra fancy pillow cases. Haha. Now that i know what they are, they seem sort of like a waste.
MrsJigglesworth MrsJigglesworth 10 years
and yes, they are not meant to be slept on.
MrsJigglesworth MrsJigglesworth 10 years
I don't put my shams over my pillow cases which are over the real pillows. I just put them over sham fillers/stuffers (not sure of the correct term).
sgdish sgdish 10 years
Admit it, Casa, doesn't it drive you crazy when the guests sleep on the shams? Especially when they are dry clean only and/or silk? Like you, I didn't realize people didn't GET it. But a great way to help them figure it out is to turn down the bed for them, and place the sham pillows away!
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