While the main function of a pillow case is to keep a pillow clean and dirt-free as it endures countless hours of use, this does not mean it has to forgo style. Decorative pillow cases can transform boring, beige pillows into a piece of artwork or focal point for a room. The variety, vibrancy and versatility of decorative pillow cases make them a common and easy choice for adding color, texture or whimsy to a room's decor.
Vintage pillow cases often featured hand-embroidery flowers and crocheted edging on the pillow's opening edges. In addition to vintage finds at antique stores and the like, this old-fashioned style of needlework is still available on many modern decorative pillow cases offered by various artists and some textile companies. Another vintage style still available involves quilted and yo-yo pillow cases. Yo-yos are small circles of fabric — typically scrap leftover from quilting — that are sewn edge to edge to form quilt blocks.
Pillow cases can be used to spell out words and phrases. A modern twist for pillow cases include texting expressions, such as omg ("Oh my gosh") in black block letters on white pillow cases. Pillow cases with letters of the alphabet can also be grouped to spell out short words, such as c-o-z-y on a couch or l-o-v-e on a bed. Whether store-bought or handmade, decorative pillow cases are available in just about any desired theme, including cartoon characters, musicians and animals. Patterned fabrics, such as zigzags and polka dots, can be used individually, paired with other patterns or paired with solid colors.
Personal touches, such as monograms and photo fabrics, can be added to a room using decorative pillow cases. Embroidered pillow cases with a new bride and groom's monogram and wedding date can be given as a personalized wedding gift. Photographs can be reproduced on fabrics, which can then be used to create pillow cases featuring a favorite person, pet or scene.
Unusual and exaggerated textures can create visual interest in a room and are easy to add to existing decor using decorative pillow cases. Rich, plush velvets in deep golds, greens and blues can be paired with silk tassels for an upscale look, while fuzzy pink and purple pillow cases can add whimsy to a young girl's room. Other whimsical options include pillow cases featuring a multi-colored pony with wings, a huge fingerprint or an owl with buttons for eyes.
In addition to standard square and rectangular-sized pillows, many decorative pillow cases are also available to fit pillows of other shapes. Pillow cases are available for neck pillows, which are cylinder-shaped, and a variety of round pillows. Decorative pillow cases are also available in unusual shapes, such as animals, people and monsters.