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What Are the Different Types of Pillow Case Designs?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many different pillow case designs available, and making a pillow case is also relatively easy. Pillow cases are often designed to fit different sizes of pillows as well as different shapes. In terms of color and pattern, pillow case designs are highly varied, although these textiles are often made to match sheets and other bedding items. Covers for pillows that are used decoratively on couches and chairs are typically not called pillow cases, but these are sometimes included in this category as well.

Some of the simplest pillow case designs take the form of a tube of fabric that has one side left open. These pillow cases may have a decorative edge on one or both sides and may be printed in any pattern. Images can also be printed on this type of pillow case, or a monogram may be added in the center or corner. These pillow case designs are made for functional use during sleep, so they are typically not textured with any uncomfortable elements.

Another common type of pillow case design is a decorative sham, which is placed on a bed but is usually not used for sleeping. These pillow cases can bear textured designs and elaborate embroidery because they are not placed against the head. In many cases, the sham and comforter are made to match, while the sheets and sleeping pillows also match.

Among the many pillow case designs common to beds, there are several subcategories of pillow cases. Children's pillow cases, for example, often have bright designs and popular characters. Hotel pillow cases are typically simple and may bear the hotel's insignia. Pillow cases can be made to fit nearly any type of room and match any design theme.

There are many different ways to make pillow cases as well. Making a pillow case often involves minimal sewing skills, so some people elect to make these items at home. Ordering a custom pillow case can also create a unique textile decoration, and many companies offer photo pillow cases and other customized designs.

Pillow cases in non-rectangular shapes are typically called covers rather than cases, but some people include these items as pillow cases as well. These covers typically zip or button closed in order to secure the pillow inside. Some rectangular pillow cases also close over the pillow either by folding or with buttons. Uniquely shaped cases can also be made at home by tracing the pillow and creating a case that will snugly fit over the pillow.

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Discussion Comments
By wavy58 — On Jan 12, 2012

I have three small children, and we all like to pile up in the big bed for movie night. I have several decorative pillows that are oddly shaped, and I have gotten pillow cases made for all of them so that my kids could use them. That way, we don't have to carry pillows back and forth from their bedrooms to mine.

I found a tailor in my town who agreed to make soft cotton pillow cases for these pillows. I brought them to her, and she kept them while she crafted the cases.

They fit wonderfully. They all have zippers, so I can remove them and clean them after someone drools or spills food on them. The kids love using the odd pillows now that they have comfortable surfaces.

By cloudel — On Jan 12, 2012

I like for my pillow cases to match my sheets. This can get kind of expensive, because I have a king size bed, and most king size sheet sets are outrageously priced.

I normally buy the lower thread count sets to stay within my budget. At least that way, I can get matching pillow cases without paying a fortune.

For our anniversary, my husband bought a 600 thread count sheet set, and it cost $75. The pillow cases are heavenly, though. They seem to caress my face every time I lay down, and I'm glad he splurged on this.

By Oceana — On Jan 11, 2012

@lighth0se33 – I have a set like yours, and I use the extra pillows for several things. They help me adjust my body to a more comfortable position for better sleep, even though my head doesn't come into direct contact with them.

I use the rectangular ones as props. I put them under my pillow with the smooth case, and they keep me from choking on post-nasal drip during the night. Of course, if you ever want to wash your regular pillows, you can simply put comfy pillow cases onto the rectangular ones and use them instead.

The round ones are great for sticking between my knees. I just can't sleep when my knee bones are pressed together, and having a soft pillow in the middle allows me to relax.

I use the cylindrical pillow when I want to prop myself up to watch TV or read in bed. I put it on top of one of the rectangular pillows, and it is thick enough to raise me up so that I can see. I'm not bothered by the rough pillow case on it, since my hair provides a buffer between it and my neck.

By lighth0se33 — On Jan 11, 2012

I got a beautiful comforter set as a housewarming gift that came with several decorative pillows. I currently have them stowed away in the closet, though, because the pillow cases are so uncomfortable.

One pillow is cylindrical, two are round, and two are shaped like regular pillows. All of them have rough pillow cases with embroidery, so I can't sleep on them.

Does anyone have any ideas for what I can do with them? I hate to leave them sitting in the closet, but I already have pillows to sleep on and comfortable pillow cases for these.

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