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Duvet, Coverlet, Duvet Cover, Quilt...What’s the Difference?

You don’t have to know the difference between coverlet and duvet bedding to recognize that bed covers matter — you've felt it! If you’ve ever had a rough sleep while staying at a friend’s house, hotel, or anywhere other than your own bed, you know what we’re talking about. The weight, material, and filling of bed coverings can make or break your night. The wrong type of bedding can leave you feeling itchy, too warm, or not warm enough. It’s a lot of pressure for one piece of fabric! Luckily, we’re here to decode all the bedding definitions for you so that you can achieve maximum comfort every single night. 

difference between coverlet and duvet

What’s the Difference Between Bedding Covers? 

It’s okay if you don’t know the difference between a comforter, coverlet, or quilt. We know that bedding options can be overwhelming, to say the least. Distinguishing a duvet vs. comforter, identifying the difference in care across bedding accessories, and figuring out what’s best for your comfort level don’t need to be challenging. Are you ready to learn everything you need to know about bedding items? Let's get to it!

Duvets

Duvets are one of the most popular bedding covers around. You can think of this topper as a thick, padded blanket that’s filled with down feathers or synthetic fibers. Duvets are known for their warmth yet remain fluffy and lightweight — perfect for any season. Most sleepers require minimal additional bedding when using a duvet, and you’ll especially appreciate the extra coziness on chilly nights in the colder months.

So what sets duvets apart, other than warmth? Unlike comforters, duvets have two parts. The duvet itself lays inside a machine-washable sleeve known as a duvet cover. These pieces of fabric are available in tons of different colors, materials, and decorative patterns, so you can choose which ones best suit your boho chic decor

Still, not only this removable covers give you a chance to flex your interior design muscles, but it’s incredibly easy to clean. 

Comforters

Looking for a lighter alternative to duvet coverings? Comforters might be precisely what you want. This type of bedding is similar to duvets but is noticeably thinner, making it a perfect top layer for hot sleepers, especially in the warmer months. Still, it’s a wonderful lightweight blanket year-round. Add some extra blankets on the cooler nights, and you’re good to go! 

Unlike duvets, you don’t need to add a cover to your comforter. Instead, you can throw the entire thing in the washing machine — just double-check the manufacturer’s instructions! You may also want to make your bed with a top sheet if you don’t already, just for an extra layer. 

Quilts

A quilt is an even more lightweight piece of bedding than a comforter. While often known more for their decorative styles than anything else, a bohemian quilt set can be the perfect addition to your home. 

These thin covers can be used by themselves, though they may not keep you warm enough. If you do run hot at night, quilts can provide all the comfort you need. However, if not, they work magically as additional bedding or as a cozy throw blanket in your living room. 

So, if a quilt is more like a comforter, what is a quilt cover then? Unfortunately, the name is a bit misleading. Quilt covers are just another name for duvet covers and don’t actually have anything to do with quilts at all. 

Coverlets

Here’s one bedding cover that isn’t as interchangeable as others. “Coverlet vs duvet?’ you may ask. So let’s go through the differences between them.

Rather than laying atop the entire bed like a duvet, a coverlet is a thin piece of fabric often found at the foot of the mattress. If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel, chances are you’ve seen them before! You may have even questioned what they are. Coverlets are primarily used for decorative purposes but can provide a bit of extra warmth as well. 

Bedspreads

You might not be as familiar with this bedding cover as the others, and that’s because bedspreads are a bit out of style these days. These thin, primarily decorative pieces sit atop entire beds and act as a full cover. 

Still, they do maintain some functionality. Bedspreads are perfect for preserving the integrity of your bohemian bedding sets underneath, protecting them from dust, dirt, and the like. If you have a guest bedroom that often goes unused, adding a bedspread might be a good idea for you. 

How to Choose Bed Covers

alternative to duvet

So, now that you know more about the types of bed covers available, what should you look at when you’re shopping? Consider these factors before purchasing a new bedding set. 

Weight

One of the most significant differences between types of bed covers is their weight. The heavier and thicker the layer is, the warmer it will be. So, if you live in a warm climate or are a hot sleeper, a quilt or comforter may be best suited to you. 

On the other hand, if you’re often chilly at night, a heavier blanket such as a duvet may be a better option. Alternatively, choosing multiple, lighter layers may make finding that perfect warmth balance across seasons easier. 

Material

Paying attention to materials is always crucial when shopping for bedding — both the ones used internally and externally. When choosing a top layer, be sure to check out what the filling is composed of. 

A down filling is light, fluffy, and breathable, while synthetic material is hypoallergenic, machine washable, and more affordable. 

On top of that, the exterior material can make or break your sleep, since you’ll feel against your skin. Linen is an excellent choice if you prefer a breezy, boho-chic option, while silky-smooth cotton sateen brings a luxurious texture. However, there are endless choices available.

Practicality

The type of bedding covers you choose needs to align with your lifestyle preferences. If you’re someone who loves a decor change every now and then, being able to easily swap out a duvet cover can be highly advantageous. Similarly, if you don’t want to struggle with getting your duvet back into its quilt cover every time you wash it, a comforter or quilt may be preferable for you. 

Final Thoughts

Shopping for bedding is much easier once you know exactly what you’re looking for. Comforters are a common choice for many, while duvets are heavier, fluffier, and require a duvet cover. On the other hand, quilts are thinner and often paired with additional bedding. Lesser-known bedspreads sit atop other covers to protect the bed, while coverlets lay at the bed’s foot to provide extra warmth and decoration.

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