May 19, 2022 5 min read

Although the question “What is a duvet cover?” probably doesn’t keep you up at night, learning how to use a duvet cover can completely change your sleep quality. Knowing your bedding preferences goes a long way in getting those quality ZZZs, but you need the terminology too. So, how do duvet covers work? Let’s get to it.

What Is a Duvet Cover?

Did you know that duvets and duvet covers are two separate things? Yup, that’s right. People often use the terms interchangeably, but there is a difference. Try imagining the duvet as a pillow and the cover as a pillowcase. Though the pieces work as a pair, there are two individual components.

Bed and light grey linen duvet cover Charcoal linen duvet cover bed sheets

But let’s back it up a bit. What’s a duvet anyway?

Duvets are essentially thick, fluffy blankets that lay on your bed (and on top of you). Most people use either duvets or comforters as their bedding covers of choice — but we’ll get to that in a bit. Duvet is a French word (so the T is silent) meaning “down.” And as you might guess, they often contain down feathers or a synthetic filling. However, since the duvet is just an insert, it needs the exterior piece. But how do duvet covers work? The covers are large, washable fabric pockets in which you secure your duvet inserts. Made of a much thinner, almost sheet-like material, the cover offers aesthetic value and is easy to clean. You can select organic duvet covers, or choose from an endless array of textiles, colors, and patterns — just like other bedsheets and pillowcases.


How to Use a Duvet Cover

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Now that we know what duvets are, we need to learn how to use a duvet cover. Though some pieces of bedding may differ between closure methods or the inclusion of corner ties, the big picture remains the same. If it’s your first time using a duvet cover, don’t be surprised it takes you a second to get the hang of it. But ultimately, it’s not too difficult. However, if you’re struggling, many folks have unique hacks that can make the process easier. We’re just going to cover the basics for now, though. Here’s how to use a duvet cover the traditional way:

  • Start by flipping your clean duvet cover inside out. Lay your duvet insert down, then place the cover on top. Align the top edges of the two pieces accordingly. The covers’ opening should be at the bottom, closest to you.
  • Some duvet covers have fabric ties in the top corners. If yours does, fasten the ties to the top edges of the duvet. These prevent your bedding from sliding, but they aren’t necessary. However, you can always sew in your own ties or secure the corners with heavy-duty safety pins.
  • Then, move your hands inside the duvet cover until you reach the top corners. Grab each corner, ensuring you’re holding both the cover and duvet in each hand. Shake or slide the cover down the duvet. This process will flip the cover right-side out.
  • Make any necessary adjustments to envelop the duvet insert in the shell entirely. Secure the bottom corner ties if your bedding has them. Then, do up the buttons, zipper, or clasps to close your duvet set.
  • Finally, shake out the duvet to evenly disperse the filling and place it on your bed.

Differences Between Duvets, Comforters, and Blankets

Many people wonder, “What is a duvet cover?” because there’s lots of confusion around duvets, comforters, and blankets. These three bedding covers serve similar purposes but are pretty different.


Duvets are the fluffiest and warmest type of bedding cover. Made up of two pieces, they contain a removable, washable shell and a thick, somewhat weighty insert. The duvet itself is filled with down feathers or an alternative material. A downside of this bedding type is that the fill often shifts around, leading to uneven coverage. But if you ever spill something on your bed, you’ll be grateful for this detachable two-piece set. These super cozy covers are ideal for the winter months and cold sleepers.


Like duvets, comforters contain a filling. Though they’re not as fluffy, comforters solve duvets’ coverage issues through quilting. This composition holds the stuffing in smaller pockets preventing it from shifting throughout the whole piece. Comforters are also lighter than duvets and function as-is — there’s no insert or cover. However, this makes comforters more tedious to wash. If you’re a warm sleeper who enjoys a bit of weight, this may be the ideal bedding for you.


Blankets are the thinnest bedding cover and layer well over both duvets and comforters for some extra warmth. What you see is what you get here: there’s no filling whatsoever. Since they’re so lightweight, washing blankets is no trouble at all. Adding a throw to the foot of your bed is both convenient for chilly nights and immediately elevates your bedding aesthetic. But you can include blankets anywhere around your home, not just in your bedroom.

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Tips and Tricks for Using Duvet Covers

As you continue making sense of the question, “How do duvet covers work?” keep these tips and tricks in mind.

  • Swap them out with the seasons. You can quickly change up the entire vibe of your room by changing your duvet cover. Does light-toned linen bedding bring out your best summer self, while darker cotton shells feel more wintery? Channel that instinct and mix it up when you want.
  • Wash regularly. Any bedding that comes in contact with your body requires frequent cleaning. For optimal hygiene, launder your duvet cover weekly (with your sheets and pillowcases). If you’re someone who skips the top sheet, definitely keep up on your washing routine.
  • Get a friend to help. Don’t give up yet if you’re struggling to get your duvet cover around the insert. Ask someone to help you with the process — it can be tricky until you figure out a technique that works for you.
  • Shake it out every morning. There’s nothing more irritating than unevenly dispersed duvet filling that leaves your body chilly. Prevent those dreaded clumps by shaking out your covers daily, or at least every now and then.
  • Try it out on a comforter. Are you an avid comforter-lover but like the appeal of duvet covers? Combine the two! Although comforters don’t require a shell, you can always add one if you’d like. The removable cover makes laundry day a hundred times easier.

Learn How to Use a Duvet Cover in Your Home

Learning how to use a duvet cover can completely change your bedding game. You can swap out these removable pieces anytime to stay on current trends or seasonal vibes. Plus, they’re super easy to wash. So gone are the days of asking, “What is a duvet cover?” You’ll become a pro in no time.