As an interior designer and sleep consultant, some of the most frequent questions I get revolve around the many different kinds of top bedding. There is often some confusion about the terminology describing different bedding types, and around which bedding style is best for a particular application or situation. Today I want to help explain the difference between duvets and coverlets in particular, so that you’ll be better informed as you customize your bed to be the best fit for you in both comfort and style.
A Quick Survey of Bed Cover Terminology
Before I dive deeper into the particulars of duvets and coverlets, it might be helpful for us to define and describe some of the most popular bed cover categories in use today. To begin with, when I say, “bed cover,” I’m basically just referring to the layer or layers that go above your bed sheets. Here are some simple descriptions of bed cover types:
- A quilt is a blanket that typically includes a woven top layer, some sort of batting, and a woven back. It’s stitched together in a decorative pattern and is sometimes pieced together from many smaller sections of cloth. Many quilts can be decorative and functional.
- A comforter (also commonly referred to as a down comforter) is somewhat like a quilt, except that it’s typically heavier and thicker. Comforters can be filled with any variety and amount of down or down alternative, depending on the amount of loft desired. It can be used on its own or in a duvet cover.
- A duvet insert is a special type of comforter that can be used by itself, or it can be covered with any variety of interchangeable, washable duvet covers. A duvet insert is essentially a large fabric “bag” that is filled with some sort of down or synthetic material.
- A blanket usually refers to any simple bed cover that isn’t filled, but is rather made of a thicker cloth material. Blankets can also be used as “throws” to add color and texture to a bed, or to any other piece of furniture as well.
- A coverlet is a lighter type of blanket that’s usually either quilted or woven. Traditionally, coverlets were designed as decorative layers to be placed over thicker bedspreads. Some coverlets also include a thin layer of batting; these can be used as standalone top covers when desired. Some coverlets also make for good throw blankets.
Duvets vs. Coverlets
Don’t be misled by the title of this section. Duvets and coverlets aren’t an either/or situation. In fact, they do not have to be in competition with each other, either. Duvets and coverlets both serve useful functions in their own regard and can even be used in tandem. Let’s look closer at duvets and coverlets to learn the unique benefits of each!
A duvet insert is basically a super-plush quilt filled with down or alternative fibers. Duvets are thicker and fluffier than traditional comforters, and they’re a great way to make your bed look and feel soft, cozy, and warm. Another unique feature of a duvet is the fact that it’s made to be able to fit inside a specially-designed protective sheet known as a duvet cover.
Duvet covers come in a variety of attractive colors and fabrics that are made to be machine washable. You can keep your duvet insert cleaner much longer by using a duvet cover. As long as you wash the cover frequently, your duvet insert itself should only need cleaning once every 2-3 months or so. You can also change up the look of your bed anytime you want by simply switching out your duvet cover. It’s a good idea to keep several duvet covers on hand in different colors, textures, and styles.
As mentioned above, a coverlet is a lighter blanket that makes a perfect finishing touch to any bed. Coverlets work well as covers for duvets or quilts, but they can also be used as main layers of bedding in their own right, especially during the warmer seasons. Using a coverlet is a great way to add an extra touch of comfort and warmth to any bed. Coverlets are versatile pieces of bedding that work as folded decoration at the end of your bed, or as throws for your sofas or chairs. And because coverlets are so lightweight and cozy, you can also wrap up in your own personal coverlet and take it with you from room to room, or to sit out by the fire.
It’s Really Not Either/Or … It’s Both/And!
There are really good reasons to consider adding both duvets (& duvet covers) and coverlets to your personal bedding collection. Each really does have its own set of benefits and advantages. We have bedding of all types at Jennifer Adams. Duvet covers and coverlets, along with many other incredibly soft bedding choices among our many luxurious sets and collections.
No matter which options you choose, remember to select colors that reflect your individual style as you make your bedroom – and the rest of your home – into your own personal, peaceful oasis.