Pillowcases are an important element of any bedroom's decor. You need pillowcases to help protect and keep your pillows clean, but pillowcases can also let you put your unique design stamp on the room. When choosing or designing pillowcases for a bed, you need to know what size they should be. We've researched the standard sizes of pillowcases and have all the information you need.
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Standard (U.S.) pillowcase sizes are:
- Full/twin pillowcase: 21 x 30 inches
- Queen pillowcase: 21 x 32 inches
- King pillowcase: 21 x 40-42 inches
- Sham pillowcase: 20 x 26 inches to 20 x 36 inches
- Body pillowcase: 21 x 54-60 inches
Keep reading for more information on pillowcase sizes. We'll also let you know whether sheet sets usually come with pillowcases, whether your pillowcases need to match your sheets, and whether your shams should match your comforter. Plus, we'll tell you how often you should change your pillowcases and why.
Standard Pillowcase Sizes for Bed Pillows
Standard pillowcases are sized to fit their corresponding bed pillows. Though this can vary slightly, pillowcases are usually 1-inch longer (vertical) and 2 to 6 inches wider (horizontal) than the pillow's dimensions. In most instances, you can purchase the pillowcase labeled for your particular pillow size. For example, a queen pillowcase should fit most queen pillows; a king pillowcase will fit a king pillow, and so on.
Bed Pillow and Pillowcase Sizes
- Pillow: 20 x 26 inches
- Pillowcase: 21 x 30 inches
- Pillow: 20 x 30 inches
- Pillowcase: 21 x 32 inches
- Pillow: 20 x 36 inches
- Pillowcase: 21 x 40-42 inches
- Pillow: 20 x 26 inches to 20 x 36 inches
- Pillowcase: 20 x 26 inches to 20 x 36 inches
- Pillow: 20 x 54 inches
- Pillowcase: 21 x 54-60 inches
Measuring Your Pillows
If you aren't sure which size pillows you have, measure them. When measuring your pillows, don't compress them with the measuring tape to allow space to accommodate the loft or height. If choosing between two pillowcase sizes, opt for the larger size. Pillowcases for bed pillows should not be tight-fitting. The pillow should have room to move within the pillowcase to be adjusted and shaped to best support your head and neck as needed. You do not want your bed pillow to be overly compressed or to stick out at the end.
Sham pillowcases usually open in the back rather than on the side. As a result, a sham pillowcase's interior size is usually not as wide as a regular pillowcase, and shams tend to fit more tightly around their pillows.
If you need a pillowcase for a pillow that doesn't match the standard sizes, look for one that is 1/2 to 1 inch longer than the vertical length and 2 1/2 to 4 inches wider than the horizontal width of your pillow. If you can't find a pillowcase that will fit, you can sew your own.
Do Sheet Sets Come with Pillowcases?
Sheet sets usually come with pillowcases. Most sheet sets include a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and one or two pillowcases. Twin bed sheet sets usually include only one pillowcase, while sheet sets for full, queen, and king beds usually include two pillowcases. Bedding sets that include comforters might also include pillowcases for shams or other decorative pillows.
Should Pillowcases Match Sheets?
Pillowcases do not have to match sheets exactly, but they often do. If you purchase a sheet set, the included pillowcases usually match the sheets in either pattern, color, or both. However, you do not have to use the pillowcases that come with a particular sheet set. You can mix and match the pillowcases from another coordinating set, purchase separate pillowcases, or you can even sew your own pillowcases for a truly unique look.
If you choose to use pillowcases that are not an exact match for your sheets, you still want to make sure they coordinate with the overall bedroom decor for a cohesive look. For instance, if your bedroom design incorporates two contrasting colors, you could use one color for the sheets and another for the pillowcases. If the decor follows a particular theme, such as floral, you could choose a floral pattern for your pillowcases even if the bed sheets are plain.
If the bedroom design follows mostly one color palette, you could choose pillowcases in a lighter or darker shade to vary the monotone look. If your other bedding is neutral, pillowcases are an easy way to incorporate some color.
Should Shams Match Comforter?
Shams are decorative pillowcases. Commonly, shams are used on pillows that are the same size as the main bed pillows, but you do not sleep on them. Shams do not have to match your comforter exactly, but they often do, especially when purchased as part of a bedding set. If your comforter did not include shams, or if you'd like to mix things up by adding different shams, the options are pretty much endless.
You can choose pillow shams that are an exact match in terms of color, fabric, and theme, or you can vary one or all of these elements. For instance, if your comforter is a smooth, satiny material, you could balance this with fluffy, fuzzy shams.
If your comforter has a bold geometric pattern, you might want to contrast this with pillow shams in a simple solid color. Or vice versa. If your comforter is plain, you could jazz it up by choosing shams with an intricate design.
If your overall bedroom design is fairly monochrome, pillow shams are a great place to add a pop of color to brighten the room.
Shams are also a fun and easy way to dress your bedroom with seasonal or holiday decor. Switch out sunflowers for autumn leaves for snowflakes as the seasons change.
Or switch your pillow shams as the mood strikes for a refreshing change that doesn't require a complete bedroom redesign. When it comes to decorating with shams, the choice is yours!
How Often Should You Change Your Pillowcases?
You should change your pillowcases on your main bed pillows at least as often as you change your sheets. It's generally recommended to change and wash your bedsheets, including pillowcases, once a week. If you choose to wash your sheets every two weeks instead, you should still switch out your pillowcases every week. Sleeping on a dirty pillowcase can make you more prone to breakouts and allergy issues. Plus, sweat and oils from your face and hair can stain your pillowcases over time, so it's important to wash them regularly to keep them in the best condition.
Shams and other pillowcases that are purely decorative can be washed less often. If you always remove your pillow shams from your bed each night and don't directly sleep on them, you don't need to wash them every week. However, dust, dust mites, pet hair, and other allergens can still collect on shams. You should wash your shams every few months, or more often if the room is especially dusty or prone to collecting pet hair.
Now that you know all about pillowcases, you can have some fun mixing and matching them to bring some new interest to your bedroom. As long as you choose the right size pillowcase for your pillows, you can select whatever colors, styles, and fabrics you want. Grab some extra pillowcases and shams to give your bedroom a fresh, new look anytime you like.
If you need more tips on bedroom decor and choosing your bedding, check out these other articles: