What style of pillowcase should I choose? The three ways to dress your bed (and what each says about your taste)

If you're wondering what style of pillowcase best suits your bed, this is what you need to know, and some of the best styles to buy

A bedroom pillow with frill
(Image credit: Kensington Leverne. Design: Atelier Ochre)
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Best European style pillow
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Picking out the best pillowcase is a super personal choice for your bedroom. We all have our own preferences when it comes to how we like to sleep, and different styles bring a different aesthetic to our bedspread. There are subtle but very key differences between styles of pillowcases, so we're here to narrow down the best pillowcases for your set-up. 

First up, it's crucial to define the differences. The main three styles of pillowcase in everyday homes are the Oxford pillowcase, which has a narrow border of between 5-10cm, the housewife pillowcase - a simple case without a border sewn edge that fits neatly to the pillow, and the European style pillowcase, which is square and large in design. 

But what does each say about your interiors style? Which best suits a modern bedroom? Here's what you need to know, and my pick of the best. 

Best European-style pillow

Called so because it's the standard size in Europe, these style of pillowcase are typically large and square in design, measuring around 26 x 26 inches. I've recently bought two large European-style pillowcases for my bed and I think it brings such luxury to my bedspread, making it feel like more of a pampering space. 

I would advise, however, only buying if you have a large bed in the first place. Anything smaller than a double and the European pillow might swamp the bed a little. They are a great addition when you want to add a lot of back support and perhaps you don't have a headboard. Here are three that have caught my eye.

Best Oxford pillow

The simple difference between an Oxford pillowcase and a housewife pillowcase is just the extra border around the edge. This area of trim just brings an illusion of more cushion, making your bedspread feel bigger. The extra fabric also makes things look a little more plush. Sometimes borders are in different colors to really highlight the edging. 

While they have a more decorative touch, they are intended to be pillows to sleep on too. Lay the bed with two Oxford pillows paired with two smaller housewife pillows in front to really layer your fabric. These three have caught my eye.

Best housewife pillow

The most common of pillowcase is the housewife pillow. Widely used in the home in the US, they might appear mundane and everyday, but that's why there is even more of a focus to get your choice right. 

Embrace simplicity with your housewife pillow and go for a light or neutral color. This way, as your bedroom changes as trends come and go, your pillow won't look out of place. With the right care, you can have it for years to come as different decorative shams and duvets come and go.

What is the best way to style a bed

Knowing how to make a bed is a true art form, and it can really make all the difference to your bedroom. Your pillows play a role in creating a bed that is cozy and sumptuous, so how do you arrange pillows on a bed? Dressing the bed is all about having the right amount of pillows and ordering them well to create the right mood and create a luxury bedroom look. 

Lean two sets of pillows against the headboard, 'We recommend the denser full-size pillows in the back, fluffier pillows up front, and any smaller decorative pillows in front of that,' says Samantha Struck of StruckSured Interiors. 

Create symmetry too, put the smaller pillows in front so there is a height order there, then include a pillow sham in square or rectangle form in the center for a decorative touch. 

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.