Introducing the Different Types of Pillowcases


Do you know the difference between Oxford and Housewife pillowcases? How about the Boudoir and the Orthopaedic? It’s okay if you don’t – they aren’t terms that you would hear unless you took a great interest in pillows.

Fortunately for you, we do. At Homefords, we take pride in our extensive knowledge about pillowcases, what makes them different and how best to arrange them.

Whether you’re looking to dress a bed to the nines or simply gain an understanding of your options when ordering bedding, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about the different types of pillowcases.


Housewife is essentially the standard pillowcase, running at 50cm x 75cm. It traditionally features a plain, sewn edge which fits snugly around standard rectangular pillows. As for the name, there is a great deal of uncertainty. Despite the obvious sexist connotations, there may actually be a more wholesome origin…

In the 19th century, pillowcases were stitched on one end, which meant the pillows would often fall out. Apparently, the Housewives Cooperative in Bolton stepped in and adapted this design with an inside flap that would open and secure the pillow in place. In honour of the Cooperative’s design, these pillowcases became known as the Housewife. They remain one of the most popular pillowcases worldwide.


The Oxford pillowcase is the Housewife’s fancier cousin, made with an additional fabric border around the edges of the standard case. This additional flat border is usually around 5cm in width and is purely decorative in nature. Oxford pillowcases are still made to fit standard pillow sizes perfectly, but the border gives the appearance of a larger size.

Again, there is some confusion about the origin of this name. However, there is a convincing theory that the Oxford pillowcase was named after the fabric it was made from – thick material known as Oxford cloth. Today, there are a variety of fabrics used for Oxford pillowcases.


A boudoir pillow is a 30cm x 45cm pillow that is strictly used for decoration. They were first introduced as an enhancement for the boudoir, which roughly meant a room that was between the private area for an upper-class woman that was next to her bedroom. These pillows were and still are used for decoration, and the small rectangular boudoir is the perfect size to add interest to the room.


Also known as the ‘V-shaped’ pillow, an orthopaedic pillow is naturally shaped to support both the neck and head, and is ideal for sitting up in bed. It is particularly useful for reading in bed or nursing in hospitals and care homes. Paired with a beautiful V-shaped pillowcase, an orthopaedic pillow doesn’t have to spoil the aesthetics of the bed.

What’s the best way to use these pillows?

An easy way to use the pillows is to start simply. Start with two Oxford pillows at the back of the bed, then put two Housewife pillows in front of them. You can either opt for traditional white linen for all four pillows, or create a modern feel by adding in two colourful pillowcases and playing with textures. To add a layer of luxury and make a room look extra special, add in a single boudoir.

Which type of pillowcase is right for you?

Whichever pillowcase design you go for, you’ll find plenty of options at Homefords. We offer a wide variety of wholesale bedding. From simple Oxford to colourful Housewife pillowcases, you’ll find the perfect bedding in no time – all with low prices, bulk purchase discounts and free shipping to mainland UK addresses.

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