In this article, I’m going to discuss different sizes of pillows.
Pillows come in a variety of different fills, such as buckwheat, the latex, feather, down and many other different fills. I will discuss some of those in a different article relative to our preferences and the benefits and features of each of those.
But here I’m going to talk specifically about sizes.
Without question, the most common size pillow is referred to as the standard pillow. It is 20 inches in width and 26 inches in length.
Two of these fit very nicely across a full bed or a queen bed.
Going up, manufacturers produce a queen sized pillow. These pillows are just not that popular and it’s primarily because the pillowcases are very hard to find. Most department store quality bedding that you would find sell a full size set or a queen set only in a standard pillow case.
So if you have a queen insert, it will not fit the pillowcase properly. You’ll end up with three or four inches hanging outside of the pillowcase itself.
If you move into the luxury limit market, you will find that some manufacturers will offer you a standard pillowcase, a queen pillowcase or a king pillowcase.
Other manufacturers elect just to produce a standard / queen, which is slightly oversized. It will accommodate a standard pillow as well as a queen pillow and then the king pillowcases.
The king pillow is 20 wide and 36 inches long. Two of these fit perfectly across the king bed. But a lot of people don’t particularly care for the king size pillow, because it is a little bit longer and it’s a little bit more cumbersome.
A lot of people do tossing and turning at night and they hold on to the pillow and move it this way and that way, and they find that that additional length becomes a little bit cumbersome. So they opt to utilize a standard pillow instead.
A king bed you can put three standard pillows across the entire width of the bed and it looks perfect. Keep that in mind.
The king size is popular but certainly not as popular as the standard pillow.
Next size is the boudoir. It is 12 inches by 16. These are used as travel pillows. Very similar to the size that you’d find in an airplane.
But primary use for this is in a bedroom environment. It’s not necessarily sleeping but more of a decorative function.
You can just place a couple of these in front of your sleeping pillows. These are great little pillows to bring some color and some additional interest or texture into the bed. Very small, easily removed, but very popular.
Last pillow is the Euro. A very popular pillow. It’s 26 inches by 26 inches and it’s ostensibly used at the headboard.
There’s no right or wrong in this.
Many people bring the Euros forward and put their sleeping pillows behind. I think a nicer look is to put the Euros in the very back of the bed against the headboard.
And then you achieve this nice, layered look, stepping down from the headboard to the Euros to the sleeping pillows and then possibly some decorative pillows or boudoir size pillow shams.
I also want to discuss pillow protectors.
It’s not a horribly exciting product, however, it’s the product that is recommended for your bedding.
When you purchase a new pillow, it’s bright white and clean. However, inevitably what happens over time is that your pillow will begin to discolor.
This discoloration is a direct result of body oils that made their way through your pillowcase unto the shell of the pillow itself.
In addition to the body oils, some people often have a tendency to drool at night. Obviously that provides an additional discoloration. So your pillow over time will begin to become unsanitary.
Also, your pillow itself will pick up dust mites. They are inevitable in all bedding. Dust mites are nasty little creatures that live off of your skin dander.
The waste that is produced from the dust mites can literally double the weight of a pillow within eight to ten years.
The pillow can be laundered or it can be dry-cleaned, but both of them have some challenges.
The dry cleaning process itself utilizes a chemical called perc. It is a known carcinogenic and it is absorbed into the fibers that are utilized in most pillow fills. You’re literally sleeping next to this perc chemical, breathing this over the course of ten years.
And your pillow will come back from the dry cleaners smelling like this chemical. Some people find this offensive and not desirable.
The laundry is an option as well.
Laundering new pillow is not all that difficult and you could put a little bleach in the pillow although it’s not recommended by any down manufacturer. The bleach itself will sanitize the pillow and kill the dust mites.
The problem associated with laundering a pillow, however, is the drying process. It needs to be totally dry, because it is effectively a sponge and it’ll soak up all of the water and detergents in your wash cycle. That water needs to be removed, otherwise, because it is a natural fiber, it would begin to rot and mildew and you will have to throw away your pillow.
Alternatively a pillow protector helps mitigate these problems.
First of all, pillow protectors come in a wide variety of textiles, most often cotton. They generally have a zip closure. You simply place you pillow inside the pillow protector, zip it and then put your pillowcase on top of it.
This provides an additional layer of protection. It will provide years of additional cleanliness to your pillow.
You may find over the course of a month or two, this may begin to discolor. Simply take it off, throw it in the laundry with your bed linens themselves and put it back on.
You will keep your pillow looking fresher for many years.
Alex P. Davis has a BA in Interior Design from The New York School of Interior Design and 10 years of experience expertly designing sophisticated interiors.