Standard Pillow Size Guide: Queen, King & More

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If you’re like me, you adore living life surrounded by pillows. I often sit in my writing nook, surrounded by pillows to get good cushioning. In bed, I usually use six or seven to ensure that I get a fair amount of fluffiness. Of course, this leads to a lot of pillowcase buying. It was then I realized that there are a ton of different “standard” pillow sizes. So, what’s going on with this issue?

The pillow industry involves several different sizes and requires different pillowcases.

  • Standard, super standard, and queen sizes can all be covered with a larger standard pillowcase.
  • King pillows need a king pillow cover and measure over six inches longer than a typical pillow. 
  • Euro pillows are square pillows with measurements ranging from 18 to 26 inches and require a Euro pillowcase of equal measurements. 

If you’re going shopping for pillowcases, it’s a good idea to know what you should expect. It is also better for going shopping, simply because understanding what each pillow can offer you helps. Let’s talk about it.

What Are Standard Pillow Sizes Supposed To Be?

The term “standard” gets used pretty loosely when it comes to pillows, because there are well over 10 different standard sizes, not including super small ones like lumbar pillows or even round pillows. Most standard pillows are square or rectangular and are used for supporting your head in bed.

For the sake of this article, we are going to stick to standard pillows. It’s important to note that some pillow manufacturers also may factor gussets (the cloth panel on the side of a pillow) into their measurements. Either way, these measurements below are the general consensus for standards. You should subtract the gusset’s measurements to get the correct size.

Pillow Sizes Chart

Standard Pillow SizeSuper Standard Pillow SizeQueen Pillow SizeKing Pillow SizeEuro/Toss Pillow Size
Typical Pillow Size20″ x 26″19.5 to 20″ x 28″20″ x 30″20″ x 36″26″ x 26″

25″ x 25″

24″ x 24″

22″ x 22″

20″ x 20″

18″ x 18″

16″ x 16″

How Should You Pick Your Pillow Sizes?

The cool thing about standard pillows is that they’re made to be proportional to your standard bed size. So standard pillows fit twin, super standard fit full beds, queen pillows are for queen beds, and king pillows are for king beds. If you have a European-style bed, then you should use Euro pillow sizes of varying measurements.

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having personal preferences. If you want to get aesthetic with it, it’s totally alright to mix different sizes together. The most common combinations include:

  • A Queen Pillow + One 24-inch Euro Pillow. This is a great combo for a kid’s bed, especially if they like the fullness of Euro pillows.
  • Two Super Standard Pillows + Three 18-Inch Euro Pillows. This is a good size for a queen bed. It offers a nice sprawl but still gives you plenty of padding. While you can also get larger Euros, having the smaller ones are good for people who hug on their pillows at night.
  • A Queen Pillow + One King Pillow. It’s an old-school classic, but will be easy to maintain while you’re making your bed.

Although these are some of our favorites, there’s nothing stopping you from making your own pillow setup. After all, you’re going to be the one resting on them, right?

What Are Euro Pillows For?

Euro pillows have two different purposes depending on the material. Some Euro pillows can and are used for head support. However, in the United States, they tend to be strictly for decorative pillows. That’s why they’re often called throw pillows or toss pillows. While the terms are used interchangeably at times, it’s important to remember they are NOT the same.

Throw pillows are 100 percent decorative. They often aren’t very comfy, either. (Trust me, I’d know. I tried to snuggle up to a sequin pillow. Ouch.) Euro pillows can be the soft down pillows that you’d use to cuddle up in, with the only difference being that they’re square.

What Are The Standard Sizes For Pillowcases?

Standard pillow sizes get murky, but that’s not all you should be aware of. Even though pillows are pretty straightforward, the pillowcase issue doesn’t follow the same pattern. In fact, there are only a handful of pillowcase sizes. Here’s the scoop on each:

Pillow Case Sizes Chart

Standard Pillow Case SizeKing Pillow Case Size
Size RangeLength: 20-21″

Width: 30-32″

Length: 20-21″

Width: 36-41″

As you can see, standard pillowcases are meant to work with standard, super standard, and queen pillows while giving a little leeway. King pillowcases are literally over 6 inches wider than a typical standard case. If you aren’t sure which pillowcase you need, look at it. If it’s over three feet long, you have a king pillow. Otherwise, most American pillows will fit a standard case.

If you have a Euro pillow, then you will need to have a Euro pillowcase in order to fit it. These will have the measurements labeled on them, therefore making it pretty easy to find your corresponding size.

Note: You can always go a size up if you’re the type of person who likes to have a little bagginess in your pillows, or who wants extra space so that your pillow won’t “escape.”

What Size Are Bed Throw Pillows?

Assuming you don’t have a funky one-of-a-kind throw pillow, it’s safe to say that the throw pillows you have are going to be Euro pillows between the sizes of 18 inches to 24 inches. Pillows larger than 24 square inches do exist, but they’re more the exception to the rule than the regular rule.

A good rule of thumb to note is that if you see a pillow that has a unique shape (such as a pineapple or a bunny), it’s not meant to be a functional pillow. Rather, they’re meant to be throw pillows almost exclusively. So, don’t worry about getting any pillowcases for them. They probably aren’t even made.

What Size Throw Pillows Should You Use?

There is no exact rule to the size of the throw pillows you should use. However, there are always going to be some guidelines that can help you pick the right throw pillow sizes. These tips below will make you get the most out of your throw pillow sizing:

  • Small throw pillows don’t look right on large sofas and couches. When you’re working with chairs, couches, and sofas, you need to match the throw pillow size to the size of the seat. A large seat needs a big Euro pillow, and maybe a throw blanket too. Small sofas can work well with lumbar or boudoir pillows.
  • Beds often work best with one to two small throw pillows on top of their functional pillows and larger throws. It’s okay to have five-ish pillows if you know how to arrange them. It’s not okay to overkill. The idea is that you want to make the throw pillow the “icing on the cake.” Your bed should not look like it’s covered in throw pillows. Too many petite pillows will turn your bed into a cluttered mess.
  • You can mix and match throw pillows on your bed. Your bed is an excellent place to get creative when it comes to your throw pillow set up. Don’t be afraid to jazz it up.
  • When in doubt, go with fewer throw pillows and make them bigger. A couple of large throw pillows will always look good. A couple of small ones might not. Always go with a safe bet if you’re not good at interior design.
  • A single uniquely large throw pillow might be enough, too. You know that giant leaf-shaped pillow your bestie got you? It might work well as a centerpiece for a bed.

Beyond Standard Pillows: Unique Pillow Type Standard Sizing

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s talk about pillow types that are not quite standard. These might include roll pillows, body pillows, as well as lumbar support pillows. In short, these are the pillows you rarely rest your head on. While there are some that can be used for head support, we’re going to just say that these pillows below are a little bit different.

The below are mostly for supporting your back or adding a little extra cushioning. In the case of the boudoir pillow and bolster pillows, they also might be decorative in nature. Either way, they’re there.

Pillow Sizes Chart

Bolster Pillow SizeNeckroll Pillow SizeLumbar Pillow SizeBody Pillow SizeBoudoir Pillow Size
Standard Measurement8″ x 30″6″ x 16″

12″ x 24″

14″ x 36″

20″ x 54″12″ x 16″

What Kinds Of Pillowcases Should These Pillows Use?

Here’s the problem with trying to get pillowcases for unusual pillows: it’s hard. Super hard, actually. Most of the pillows listed above will come with their own pillowcases as part of a package deal. In the case of bolsters and neckroll pillows, you might not even be expected to have a pillowcase on top at all. They might be built fully sewn up and ready to wash on a light roll.

It’s best to use common sense here. If the build of the pillow feels more like the king and queen pillows on your bed, it probably needs a case. If it has a denim or rougher exterior, it’s probably built to stand as needed.

Where Can You Find Non-Standard Pillowcases?

Have a bolster or a lumbar pillow you want to cover? It’s not that bad a problem. While finding pillowcases can be rough, it’s not impossible. These quick tips can spell the difference between being case-free and finding that perfect match you love:

  • If your pillow comes from a luxe, custom-made place, hit up that place again. Some stores try to make extra cash by forcing people to buy a pillow cover from them. How? By making pillows at funky measurements. If you bought from one of those types of stores, the fastest way to make sure you get a pillowcase that fits is to go back to them.
  • Search on Amazon (or similar platforms) for pillowcases by name. For example, if you want a lumbar pillowcase, mention the “lumbar” term. When you find a pillow cover you like, check the measurements. It should be slightly (like half an inch) larger than your pillow’s measurements.
  • Don’t be afraid to make your own. If you are handy with a sewing machine, then there’s nothing stopping you from getting crafty and making your own pillowcase. Conversely, you can always hire someone else to do it, too.

How Many Pillows Should A Bed Have?

Traditionally, a bed is meant to have two or four pillows, depending on how many people are sleeping on that bed. For example, a twin traditionally would have two standard pillows on it, while a king bed for one would have two king pillows. If two people sleep in the king bed, then each would get an extra pillow.

However, this is not always the case anymore. In fact, it’s almost never the case. These days, it’s far more common for people to choose to add extra pillows for added cushioning or added beauty. It’s a way to make a bed seem fuller, even if the pillows don’t quite get used at night. Considering how much aesthetics matter in today’s age, adding extra is a good idea.

One thing you never want to do is have a bed that looks sparse when it comes to pillows. This means that a single pillow won’t cut it unless it can stretch from one end of the bed to the other.

Is It Possible To Have Too Many Pillows?

Believe it or not, the answer is yes. It is possible to have too many pillows, even if you’re a big pillow fan like myself. Avoiding overkill is crucial if you want to save your back and also keep your bed looking good. Worried that you’ve gone too far with the pillows? These signs below say it’s time to cut down on your pillow hoarding…

  • You can’t lay down without moving a bunch of pillows around. Pillows are, for the most part, supposed to be at the head of the bed. If pillows are getting plopped all the way down to the middle of the bed, it might be time to reevaluate everything.
  • Many of the pillows don’t even feel good. While throw pillows don’t have to feel good, they still need to feel touchable. Or tolerable, at least. If you can’t stand touching them, you have a problem. Toss those bad throw pillows!
  • Actually, some of the pillows you have are in gnarly condition. Pillows do not last forever, even if you take great care of them. Toss out the ones that are yellow and brown, please! It’s a sanitary thing!
  • You have a cabinet or chest for extra pillows, and it’s overflowing with pillows. It’s fairly normal to have a drawer with extra linens, especially if you’re home with a lot of beds. However, it’s never supposed to be flooded with pillows. Either you need to get more storage, or you need to get rid of pillows.
  • People would rather stand than interrupt all the pillows on your bed. It could be a courtesy thing, sure, but it’s still something to wonder about.

Related Questions

What are the most common throw pillow sizes?

While throw pillows can be as large as 35 square inches, most are far smaller. The vast majority of throw pillows are 18 to 20 inches in size. Larger throw pillows are around 24 inches in size, but they are only starting to get the popularity they deserve.On the other side of the spectrum are pillows under 18 inches and pillows over 26 inches in size. Both ends of the spectrum involve pillow sizes that are unusually rare. So, if you want to have standard throw pillows, stick to 18 and 20-inches.

Is it better to have a thick or thin pillow?

Ideally, your pillow will be just thick enough to keep your head straight while you lay down. This means that people who have broader shoulders will need to have thicker pillows if they sleep on their sides. If they sleep flat, a single thinner pillow is going to be great for most people.People who have extremely broad shoulders may need several pillows to prop up their heads. If you have neck and spine problems, then your best bet is to talk to a chiropractor about the best pillow size for your situation.

What’s a pillow insert?

A pillow and a pillow insert are basically the same thing. The only real difference is that pillow inserts are the white, fluffy things that you place pillow cases or covers on. Pillows can allude to throw pillows (which aren’t inserts) or pillow inserts. With that said, most people will just assume a pillow is a pillow.The only time inserts really have to be inserted is if you’re making your own throw pillow or are looking for a pillow insert that you want to use for your sleep’s comfort.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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