Pillow and Sham Guide - Pillows and Shams on a Bed

Pillow and Sham Guide – All the Styles and Types You Need

Let’s tell it how it is: here at Sunday Citizen, we love pillows. Seriously – we can’t get enough of them. Although one may not always be conscious of it, we use pillows of all shapes, sizes and functions every single day. 


Sitting on an uncomfortable chair at a restaurant or a café? Ask for a cushion. Need to support your back, or help with some leg pain? Get out your support pillow! Want to liven up your living room, or give your couch or bedroom a new lease of life? Throw on some new shams or treat yourself to a decorative throw pillow or two. Dare we say it - boss giving you hell at work? Grab a pillow, bury your face in it and… well, you know what to do!


Pillows are about so much more than just comfort. They have practical and sometimes even medical use, and in terms of decoration, they’re one of the most versatile items to have in your arsenal when you’re looking to subtly change up the look of a room.


However, the world of pillows isn’t always so straightforward. Simply put, there’s just so many types out there! Which shape should I use for which purpose? What size is right for my space? Which filling do I prefer – do I want buckwheat, down, memory foam, or even gel!? Just like us, pillows come in all shapes and sizes!


That’s why Sunday Citizen has put this handy guide together for you, to show you exactly what’s what in the pillow universe, and help you to avoid a complete and utter shambles (sorry, we really couldn’t resist). Read on and enjoy!


Pillow Shapes and Sizes


Lumbar Pillow


The longline, elegant-looking lumbar pillow gets its name from the “lumbar” region of your spine – essentially, your lower back. Lower back pain is all too common nowadays, for people of all ages, and can stem from the simplest of activities such as sitting or lying down for too long without taking a break, lifting heavy objects, or sleeping in a particularly uncomfortable position one night. Quite frankly, it can put a real downer on your day!

 Girl holding braided pom pom lumbar pillow. Woman holding lumbar pillow. White Braided Pom Pom Lumbar Pillow.

The signature shape of lumbar pillows was actually created to combat lower back pain, designed to nestle into the lumbar area of your back to provide extra support where it’s needed, so that you can really sit back, relax and get comfortable.


Aesthetically, a lumbar pillow provides the perfect contrast in shape to the more typical, square throw pillows that tend to take pride of place on our couches. Mixing and matching pillow shapes can be a great way to bring your sofa to life and make it look extra curated and stylish. Check out Sunday Citizen’s wide range of lumbar pillows in all colors, textures and patterns, to select your perfect finishing touch.


Throw Pillow


There’s nothing more versatile and chic than a classic throw pillow. These are truly your secret weapon when it comes to keeping up to date with the latest living room and bedroom trends. With infinite pillow cover options, these traditionally square-shaped cushions can take on patterns, textures and colors galore, meaning you’ll never run out of ways to spruce up your living spaces.


Snug Waffle Throw Pillow on minimalistic chair with the white Braided Pom Pom Throw. Waffle textured throw pillow. Waffle decor pillow.

From a design standpoint, throw pillows are a great way to work with existing colors in your home and tie in accent colors for a perfectly designed room. You can use them to match or complement existing colors found on the walls, curtains, rugs, furniture items or on other décor. Alternatively, they can be a fun way to add a bright pop of color to an otherwise more neutral space, without feeling overwhelming or overpowering.


 Feeling nature-inspired? Check out Sunday Citizen’s stunning Bali Throw Pillow or Woodland Throw Pillows to give you that zen, indoor garden feel. Or perhaps you’re looking for a block color? Choose from a host of elegant, muted tones in the velvety-soft Snug Throw Pillow range.


Mini Pillow


Behold, the adorable mini pillow! Who are we kidding - for us, anything mini is automatically branded the cutest thing we’ve ever seen (don’t even get us started on the mini cosmetics section at the drugstore), and a mini pillow is certainly no exception.


Snug Mini Waffle Pillow in Sage green. Mini pillow on accent chair. Sage green decor pillow. Waffle textured decor pillow in sage green. Waffle mini pillow. Mini decor pillow.

For scale, the Sunday Citizen Snug Waffle mini pillow is approximately half the size of a regular throw pillow, coming in at 12 x 18 inches. It also happens to be filled with memory foam and comes in a whopping 13 different solid colors, all in the softest, cuddliest, need-to-touch waffle fabric, but that’s a story for another day.


The smaller size of a mini pillow makes it the perfect cushion to prop behind your head or lower back for some extra support, or simply to use as a pretty little something to enhance the look of your bed or couch.


Body Pillow


Ask anybody who owns a body pillow, and they’ll tell you – these things are life changing. Whilst body pillows come in various shapes and sizes, including U and C shaped pillows that tend to be favored during pregnancy, they most commonly take the form of a long rectangle.

Snug Basketweave Comforter in White. White Comforter with neutral pillow. Black Grey Accent wall. 

 Take the Sunday Citizen Snug Body Pillow, for example. For recommended use in the bedroom as opposed to in your living area, these pillows are best positioned alongside you rather than being placed under your head. This is so that they can support various parts of the body as you hug them, curl up and wrap your legs around them.


Body pillows are well known for promoting better spinal alignment and relieving excess pressure on various pressure points, such as your hips and arms, as you sleep. They also help users to access the scientifically proven, comforting effects of hugging, making you feel safe and secure as you doze off at night – sounds pretty great to us!


Euro Pillow


While browsing online or in-store for bed sheets and pillowcases, you may well have encountered the term Euro Pillow before. What is the difference between a Euro and a Standard Pillow, you ask? Never fear - we’re here to uncover the mystery!


Snug Euro Sham. Grey Euro Shams. Fuzzy soft euro shams. Large square euro shams.

Simply put, a Euro Pillow is a square pillow which usually measures 26 x 26 inches, differing from a standard American pillow, which is rectangular in shape and tends to measure 20 x 26 inches. If you’ve ever looking to dress up your Euro Pillow, make sure you’re conscious of purchasing a Euro-sized Pillow Sham to ensure you get that perfect fit – there’s nothing worse than a baggy, saggy pillow cover! 


Check out Sunday Citizen’s Snug Euro Sham - with super soft microfiber material and stunning colors such as burnt-amber Sienna, romantic Rusty Rose, fresh Clear White and our much-loved neutral Taupe shade, they’ve got you covered.


Pillow Style – Shams and More


Now that you’re fully clued up on all of the different shape and size options out there, it’s time to talk style. Playing and experimenting with different colors and textures is the key to reaching the top of your pillow game. 

 Patterned throw decor pillows. Patterned throw pillows.

Do you like to go all out with orange and mustard yellow tones during the fall? How about shades of blue versus classic green and red during the festive period? Ever thought about florals for spring? (Groundbreaking). Whichever theme or color palette you choose, swapping out your pillows or shams is an easy, low-cost and low-maintenance way to ensure your décor is always on point.


It’s time to ask yourself the important questions - which pillow style best suits my taste? Do I like patterns, block colors, pictures, slogans, bold or neutral? What material do I prefer when it comes to shams? Old-school classic cotton, luxurious pricey silk, innovative, environmentally-friendly bamboo, or even a mix? (Sunday Citizen Snug + Bamboo Sham set, we’re looking at you! Visibly cozy Snug material on one side and cool, antibacterial bamboo viscose on the other is our dream fabric combo for the best of both worlds.)


On that note, are you even familiar with the term, “sham”? This is one of our most commonly asked questions! Literally meaning “false fronts”, shams first rose to fame in the 1700s as decorative, removable pillow covers which were revolutionary at the time. Unlike a typical pillowcase, it is less common for pillow shams to have buttons or zippers for closure. Instead, overlapping fabric tends to create what’s called an envelope closure at the back or side of the pillow, making it easy peasy to take your shams on and off.


To finish off our “All You Need to Know” Guide, we hereby present some of our favorite sham and pillow styling options to give your cushions a unique twist.


Braided Pillows


There’s something about braided pillows that remind us of our favorite, snuggly winter cardigan. The texture is completely irresistible to touch, and the braiding brings an element of interest and class. Sunday Citizen’s Braided Throw Pillow uses different braid widths and techniques for a stylish take on an iconic classic. 

 Braided Throw Pillow in Sahara Tan. Tan colored braided textured decor pillow. Braided decor pillow.

Pom Pom Pillows


Just try to tell us that a pom-pom pillow isn’t the cutest thing since sliced bread – sorry, we don’t believe you. Pom poms are a super fun way to elevate the humble pillow into a piece of standalone décor, providing a decorative touch that demands to be played with. 

 Pom Pom  Throw Pillow in Sienna. Pom Pom decor pillow. Pom Pom pillow. Pom pom accent pillow

The Sunday Citizen Pom Pom Throw pillow and Lumbar pillows are radically soft, with removable, washable covers to make sure they stay clean and pristine.


Animal Print Pillows


Whether it’s leopard, cheetah, zebra or cow, here at Sunday Citizen we simply can’t resist an animal print. Using neutral colors to keep things classy, we love playing around with these fun, sassy prints. Check out our Prairie Lumbar Pillow, Savannah Throw Pillow or Zebra-like Tulum Print Pillows if you’re looking for inspiration.

Savannah Throw Pillow. Leopard throw pillow. animal print throw pillow. animal print decor. animal print bedding.