Design 101: Your Ultimate Guide to Bed Pillow Sizes & Dimensions

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WORDS BY Chloe Haven

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Published on April 26, 2023

A comfortable bed is the cornerstone of any good night’s sleep. But in addition to a duvet, bedspread, and a proper bed frame, the size and type of pillows you use can make a big difference, both in terms of comfort and aesthetics.

Of course, picking out the right size bed pillows can be a surprisingly daunting task — knowing the difference between a standard pillow and a euro sham isn’t exactly common knowledge. But don’t despair — you don’t need to be a professional designer in order to create a dreamy sleep sanctuary. By understanding the different pillow sizes, styles, and dimensions, you can create a comfortable and inviting space that reflects your personal style.

From lumbars to king-sized pillows, this installment of Havenly design 101 zeroes in on all things pillows. Keep scrolling for the tips, tricks, and visuals needed to ace this crucial bedroom design detail.

Pillow sizes | Guide to pillow sizes

Standard Pillows

Pillow sizes | Guide to pillow sizes

A standard pillow is (you guessed it) the gold standard in bed pillows. It measures 20 inches by 26 inches and can be paired with any standard size pillowcase or decorative pillow sham. Standard pillows are typically used for sleeping, either alone or in pairs. For styling purposes, standard pillows can be laid flat or propped up at the head of the bed, or styled in front or behind larger pillows to create a layered look.

King Pillows

Pillow sizes | Guide to pillow sizes

King pillows are the largest standard-size pillow and measure 20 inches by 36 inches.  They’re designed for king-sized beds and properly fill out the width of the mattress when placed side by side. Thanks to the extra 10 inches, king pillows are perfect for those who like to hug a pillow while sleeping or prefer extra back support when lounging or reading in bed. You can treat king pillows similar to standard pillows when it comes to styling — use it as a sleeping pillow with a standard king-sized pillowcase, or dress it up in a sham for a more decorative function.

Euro Pillows

Pillow sizes | Guide to pillow sizes

Euro pillows are large square pillows that measure 26 inches by 26 inches. They’re typically used as decorative accents, or as a base pillow in place of standard or king pillows. Euro pillows can be styled in a variety of ways, but traditionally, they are used behind standard or king-sized pillows to create a layered effect. They can also be used alone as statement pillows or paired with decorative throw pillows for added visual interest.

Decorative Throw Pillows

Pillow sizes | Guide to pillow sizes

Decorative throw pillows are square and come in a range of sizes, the most common being 20 inches by 20 inches or 22 inches by 22 inches. They’re used primarily for decoration and add color, texture, and pattern to a bed. On a bed, throw pillows are often styled in front of larger pillows as a decorative flourish, and typically fly solo on an accent chair or sofa. Mixing and matching different patterns and sizes can create a dynamic, visually interesting look.

Lumbar Pillows

Pillow sizes | Guide to pillow sizes

Lumbar pillows are rectangular and measure 12 inches by 24 inches. They’re typically used for decoration, but can also provide added support while reading or lounging in bed. Lumbar pillows can be styled in a variety of ways, such as placed at the center of the bed or used in front of larger pillows for a layered effect. They can also be paired with bolster or decorative throw pillows for added color, pattern, texture, and dimension.

Bolster Pillows

Pillow sizes | Guide to pillow sizes

Bolster pillows are long and cylindrical, measuring up to 10 inches in diameter and 27 inches in length. They’re typically used for decoration in living spaces or bedrooms, particularly on traditional-style furniture like a tuxedo sofa. Bolster pillows are typically styled as a set on sofas and loveseats, and as a stand-alone flourish on accent chairs and beds of all sizes.

Want expert advice on your own space, straight from an interior designer? Get started today with our style quiz.

Words by Chloe Haven