There are so many terms associated with bedding that it can difficult to figure out what is what. Whats a European sham and is it the same as a pillow sham? Whats the difference between coverlets, duvets, and bedspreads? How many accent pillows does a bed need?
Bedding can be as simple or complex as you want to make it- you just need to know what everything is so you can decide if you want it or not. Lets start with the basics:
A typical sheet set includes a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and 2-4 pillowcases for your sleeping pillows. Depending how you make your bed you can make the sheets visible or not. Sleeping pillows can be thrown in with shams and accent pillows on a made bed, but most commonly they are placed behind the European shams and are not visible.
European shams, also know as Euro shams or just Euros, are large square pillows that sit closest to the headboard. The standard size for Euros is 26″ x 26″ and there are usually three that come with bedding, although some queen-size sets come with just two.
Pillow shams are also called king shams/ queen shams, depending if they are meant for a king or queen sized bed. The size varies but they’re roughly the size and shape of regular bed pillows. The difference between a pillow sham and a bed pillow is that bed pillows are functional (you sleep with them every night); pillow shams are for decorative use. There are two pillow shams in a bed set and they go in front of the European shams and behind the accent pillows.
Accent pillows are also called throw pillows. The size and shape of accent pillows ranges from 18″x24″ to 12″x12″ to rounds or bolster pillows. They’re purely meant for decoration and to add some color or pattern to a bed set.
Duvets/ Comforters/ Bedspreads/ Coverlets
Essentially duvets, comforters, coverlets and bedspreads are the same thing with minor differences. Comforters and coverlets are made of two pieces of fabric with batting in-between that are quilted together, cover the top of the mattress, and hang a couple inches below the mattress. Bedspreads are the same thing but they hang all the way to the floor. Duvets are the most different because they are just a cover that goes over an insert; i.e. their batting is removeable.
That’s a lot of information, and it can be a bit confusing when every item has several different names. But knowing the basics of bedding will go a long way in helping you figure out what you want on your bed.