Repatriate: Pillow Case Size Troubles

October 24, 2018

A few weeks ago, some bedding I have been stalking online - because as far as I can tell it's the only stock of the HAY and Scholten & Baijings collaboration left in the entire world - went on sale. So despite the £34.99 shipping fee (yes British Pounds, not dollars!), and the minor inconvenience that they were the wrong size, I went ahead and ordered them!

BOTH SETS! Aren't they gorgeous?! The reverse of the pillow cases on this very chic and minimal set pictured above are bright yellow. Swoon! They literally could not make me any happier. Except that I might ruin them resizing them, and I seem to have fallen down some international bedding size rabbit hole!



If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time since 2014, then you probably recognize this duvet set above. I ordered these from the US site of Finnish Design Shop right as we were moving back to the US from Zurich. Quite by accident, this duvet wound up being the background in Theo's birth announcement and it's nothing short of perfection. I never get tired of looking at these duvet covers. They're so pleasing. Naturally, because I loved them so much, I went back to the US site of Finnish Design Shop to buy more in other styles, but they were all out of stock! I emailed Finnish Design Shop as to when they would get more and they informed me that that was it! No more stock would be coming in - ever. I was devastated and threw myself into a neurotic internet search that went on for days. No, really. Days. You can do that sort of thing when you're nursing 10 hours per day.

My search was not fruitful. I found some in the UK that were the wrong size (LOL;) and I was about to give up all together when I happened upon a German site that had a few colors in our size, although not the ultra-minimalist set I really wanted, sadly. But I figured it was better than nothing, so I ordered this set pictured above. They arrived and I was happy, except for one very weird problem - the pillow cases were these giant squares!

When I saw them, I was so puzzled because the pillow cases in the set we had ordered on Finnish Design Shop were just the right size for our pillows. And then, as I was changing Coco's pillow case one day, I realized that the pillows we had bought at IKEA USA for the kids' room were way bigger than the pillows J and I had on our bed - which, of course, had come back from Switzerland with us! Crazy. Over the months that followed, I realized that our US-bought duvet covers fit our US-bought summer duvets, but not our Switzerland-bought winter duvets. Germany and some other Northern European countries use these gigantic square pillows, while Switzerland uses what Americans would consider a normal rectangular pillow, but it's very small. At first glance, the UK pillowcases that came with the two I just ordered are the same as a US pillowcase, but then when I went to measure the duvet covers we already have to see how much to cut off of the new ones, I realized they're all different sizes, too!

My head is about to explode with all of this. Truly. IKEA pillow sizes and duvet sizes vary by country. And that's not all - within countries, IKEA pillow and duvet sizes tend to vary from standard. Is that not the most bizarre thing to think about?! My mind is blown.

Am I nuts or would you do the same thing for something that beautiful? Do you have high quality duvets, or just IKEA or other affordable ones? I'm ready to buy some nice ones...but I guess the size of my duvet covers will determine which country I buy them in!

PS - Is pillowcase one word or two?! And sleeping with two duvets instead of one.

(Photos via HAY/Scholten & Baijings and Nest)

Join the conversation!

  1. I have a linen duvet and I would love one for our guest room, but it's a splurge for sure. I love the cozy, crumpled look and they're so soft. That said, I got excited when I saw this post because I thought you may have unearthed a chart of global bed sizes. I have a similar problem in Italy. I know the beds and bedding are different, but I don't know how they're different. We could really use a new mattress, but I'm nervous to buy one because I'm worried it won't fit our frame, and then our sheets won't fit, etc. First world problems for sure, but still annoying. :)

    (P.S. I can't comment on your site for some reason when I use Chrome. I think it might have to do with the captcha because when I click 'submit,' it simply clears my comment and the captcha thing never pops up. Just an fyi!)

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  2. Hahah I totally didn't know that the Swiss use the smaller pillows. The standard German pillows are 80x80 or the smaller rectangles you describe 40x80. So theoretically if you halve your pillowcase you'll have one that fits at least a Swiss pillow !

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    1. It's insanity! The Swiss pillow is not what you describe. It's very, very tiny - 50x60 cm. No pillowcase anywhere but there will fit it! Haha!! What's funny is that it looks rectangular, but it's almost square...

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  3. Since living in Switzerland we no longer use the flat sheet as it's so pointless (to me at least ;-). We have duvets from Ikea and we recently went to get a new fitted sheet from Macy's for our king size bed. Mission impossible! Who knew it's so hard to find decent bottom sheet, not included in a pack with pillowcases, fitted sheets, flat sheets galore!! This would be a great business venture to get involved with, even if just for Europeans and repats living here!!

    Also, as a side note I had the same issue as Katie above with trying to leave a comment.

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    1. Oh that is such a drag with the comment thing. Sorry, ladies and thank you for being tenacious and I will look into it.
      I agree 100% that the top sheet is worthless. It's almost uncomfortable to me now. I feel like top sheets wrap around you and completely disrupt sleep. Maybe that's just me. ;) Either way, we do need a single-fitted-sheet-only source other than IKEA. I actually wrote a post all about using two duvets, which you can find here: http://www.swisslark.com/2016/06/two-duvets.html

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    2. ^ See this is exactly how I feel about pajamas! Maybe that's why I can't get behind the no-top-sheet movement. I like a top sheet, but I don't mind its "drapeyness" because... well... there's nothing for it to get hung up on! And a top sheet is so much easier to wash than a duvet cover.

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    3. Yep, I'm with you on the PJs but still can't do the top sheet!

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