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Duvet vs. Comforter vs. Blanket vs. Quilt vs. Coverlet (What are the Differences?)

Bed with white duvet

Have you ever puzzled over the difference between a comforter and a duvet? Maybe you want to know how a blanket, quilt, or coverlet fits into the picture. We've got you covered. Read our Duvet vs. Comforter vs. Blanket vs. Quilt vs. Coverlet to find out once and for all.

Sleep is seriously underrated. Cuddling up in a well-made bed may be the closest that some of us ever come to heaven. But you’ll never know what you’re missing if you don’t understand the difference between a Duvet vs. Comforter vs. Blanket vs. Quilt vs. Coverlet.

Go ahead and settle in, we’re going to discover the unique history and use for each one of these bed coverings. Soon, you’ll know everything you need to raise your bedding to a divine status.

Popularity comparison chart

Here’s a chart showing the relative popularity of each bed cover.

Chart comparing duvet, quilt, blanket, coverlet and comforter.

Do a Duvet 

Bed with duvet

The word Duvet is French for “down”—as in goose down. Though it may have originated in China, the duvet was popular in Europe as far back as the 1700s. It wasn’t until the 1970s when the Habitat shop opened in London that the duvet made its way to America.

If you’re confused about the difference between a duvet and a comforter, it’s not surprising. People often use the terms interchangeably, although they are two different types of bedding with some similarities.

Materials

SORMAG 100% Washed Cotton Duvet Cover 3 Piece, Comforter Cover Queen Full Size, Solid Color and Ultra Soft with Zipper Closure, Corner Ties, Simple Bedding Style, White
Click image for more info

Much like a comforter, a duvet is a bag filled with down, feathers, or synthetic fiber. Unlike a comforter, you can’t use a duvet as is—it needs a duvet cover. In fact, you’re not supposed to use a duvet without a cover, because it’s like a flat feather bed with box stitching that you can’t throw it in the wash. What this means for you is that you need to keep the duvet as pristine as possible.

Main Purpose

What’s more, the purpose of a duvet is two-fold. It’s a bed topper that keeps you warm and cozy. However, the real purpose of a duvet is to cut down on the rest of the bedding.

The idea is that the duvet is an insulator because of the material inside. The stuffed duvet, combined with the separate duvet cover, is supposed to take the place of a top sheet, blankets, and quilt. It’s also perfect as the top layer instead of a bedspread. As you can imagine, a duvet is a real time-saver when you’re making the bed.

Comfort, Warmth, and Design

XeGe Plush Shaggy Duvet Cover Luxury Ultra Soft Crystal Velvet Bedding Set 1PC(1 Faux Fur Duvet Cover),Zipper Closure (Queen, Dark Gray)
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When it comes to cozy comfort and staying warm, a duvet is an excellent choice. Even better? Since you can change the cover, you can have one for each season. For example, you may want something such as this ultra-soft and warm Plush Shaggy Duvet Cover by XeGe for winter, and a simple 100 percent cotton cover for summer. One of the best things about a duvet is the ability to switch out the cover. What this means for you is that you can change your style whenever you want.

Durability

Your duvet can last up to five years if you care for it properly. Its durability lies in the fact that it’s protected. Not to mention that it rests on top of you, so it doesn’t have to take your weight, which means the filler won’t get damaged as quickly. One thing to remember is that you want one with a baffle construction, so the stuffing stays securely in place.

Benefits 

The list of benefits to owning a duvet includes being able to change the cover, save time on making the bed, and customizing it for the season. If you like flexibility, you’ll love owning a duvet.

Cost 

The price for a duvet ranges between $30 and $130. It depends on the thread count, the type of filler, and the size of your bed.

Comforter

AmazonBasics Ultra-Soft Micromink Sherpa Comforter Bed Set
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Now, you may have already noticed the similarities between the duvet and a comforter. What might surprise you is that the comforter’s history is more in line with the quilt. Before the industrial revolution, women made quilts by hand out of necessity.

Once manufacturing became widespread, quilts started getting mass-produced and soon turned into what we know today as comforters.

Comfort Level—It’s All in the Name

As its name suggests, the comforter is comfy and cozy. It’s a thick, fluffy blanket that keeps you warm and toasty when it’s cold. On the other hand, you’re not going to want to use it in the summer when things warm up.

And, unlike the duvet, it doesn’t use a cover. You can wash your comforter just like you would wash the sheets and blankets.

Full of Fluff 

Down, feathers or fiber, are the potential fillers in a comforter. They give it the luxurious fullness that we love to cuddle up in when it’s cold outside. Though a comforter has the same kind of stitching and filling as a duvet, it’s quite a bit thicker and stitched tighter.

Why Use a Comforter?

EASELAND All Season King Size Soft Quilted Down Alternative Comforter Hotel Collection Reversible Duvet Insert with Corner Tabs,Winter Warm Fluffy Hypoallergenic,Dark Grey,90 by 102 Inches
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The primary use of a comforter is as a bedspread. Its stylish look and feel, make it an excellent choice to accent your bedroom décor.

Design features

A comforter is three layers, with a front, back, and filling inside. Quilting ensures the filling stays evenly distributed and holds everything neatly in place.

How Long Will It Hold Up?

Comforters are durable. They can last up to 15 years. It all depends on how often you use them, the baffle, and especially how you care for them. You want to use a mild detergent, wash it as little as possible, and try to keep the kids and pets off of it if you can.

Benefits 

Comforters are easy to care for, stylish, and luxurious. They’re a beautiful addition to your bedroom décor. Everyone should have the pleasure of owning one.

Related: Decorative King and Queen Bed Pillow Arrangements

Cost 

Luxurious King/California King Size Siberian Goose Down Comforter, 1200 Thread Count 100% Egyptian Cotton 750FP, 50oz, 1200TC, White Solid
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If you want a real comforter, not a Duvet, don’t buy a “comforter alternative.” In other words, you have to pay attention to the wording regarding the product. A real goose down comforter (my favorite) will run between $80 and $600.

Quilts Are Part of Our History

Patchwork Quilt

Related: Quilt Stands | Top Quilting Books | Quilting Websites and Blog

Long before we had duvets and comforters here in America, people slept under linen or burlap bags filled with straw. Quilts changed all that and became the first proper bedding.

Women created patchwork quilts in the early 19th century by cutting fabric into squares then sewing them together. After that, they attached cotton batting and added a back to create a three-layer quilt, similar to today’s comforters.

Quilts are part of history in other ways as well. For example, women used quilts to raise money to help end slavery. Not only that, but there are also rumors that rebels used quilts to signal the underground railroad. In more recent history, the Aids Memorial Quilt memorialized victims of the disease and served as a way to raise public awareness.

Main Purpose

Today quilts are decorative and typically use a motif. But in the early days, quilting was all about function.

Comfort Level

Quilts aren’t as comfortable as a comforter; however, they’re often sentimental, and they make great wraps for when you’re lying on the couch watching tv. They’re also excellent for baby blankets because they’re warm but not too fluffy.

Materials

Modern quilts haven’t changed much since the beginning. We use scrap fabric for the front, cut into squares, cotton batting for filler, and a solid piece of fabric for the back. The most significant difference today is that initially, no one cared about beauty—it was all about staying warm.

Design features

Cool looking quilt

Much like the Aids Memorial, Quilts today usually have a motif. Geometric, floral, and nature-inspired themes are popular.

Handmade Durability

Handmade quilts are moderately durable, and depending on the quality of craftsmanship can easily last for years. Of course, care is everything. You don’t want to wash a quilt frequently. You also never want to dry clean it because the chemicals could damage the batting.

Instead, use a mild detergent and wash it in a front load washer. The top loaders have an agitator that could damage the stitching. It’s best to line dry them; however, you can dry them on low heat until they’re almost dry, then let them air dry the rest of the way.

Benefits 

Owning a beautiful handmade quilt is like owning art. Truthfully, many are worth hanging on the wall. And if you’re lucky enough to get one as a gift from someone who made it just for you, they’re highly sentimental.

Cost

If you want a handmade quilt and you don’t have a grandma at home to make you one, you can either learn how to do it yourself or head over to Etsy. You’ll find gorgeous handmade quilts ranging from $130 to $1300.

Blankets

Merino Wool Blanket

The first blankets were wool because the material was not only warm but also fire resistance. As far as we know, a 14th-century weaver by the name of Thomas Blanquette coined the term blanket.

Main Purpose

A blanket’s primary purpose is to add a layer of warmth and comfort to your bed. They typically lie between the top sheet and bedspread.

Material Comfort

Depending on the material, blankets are incredibly comfortable. A light cotton blanket is perfect for summer, and it has the advantage of getting softer with every wash. Cashmere is soft, lightweight, and luxurious. The only downside is having to take it to the dry cleaners.

Then there’s linen, which works great at keeping you cool in the summer and cable knits that provide beautiful textures. As you can see, there are plenty of choices when it comes to blankets. They’re probably the most versatile bedding you’ll find.

Design features

Blankets come in a wide variety of colors, materials, and sizes—but when it comes down to it, typical blankets are a large piece of fabric without fillers.

From the brightly colored Mexican blankets to the Japanese patchworked boro and the Morrocan wedding blanket, decorated with sequins and tassels—these designs function as clothing as well as blankets.

Today, we have another type of blanket, the weighted blanket. Its 15-pound weight is supposed to help people with anxiety. People who use one say it’s like getting a hug or sleeping in a cacoon.

Durability

Blankets can last for years. But some materials hold up better than others. Cotton has excellent durability as does wool, or a tightly woven Mexican blanket. On the other hand, chenille, though it’s gorgeous, tends to snag.

Benefits 

It’s good to keep a supply of blankets around. The benefits go beyond adding an extra layer of warmth on your bed. You need blankets to keep in the car, and to take on picnics, or camping. They’re also nice to use in your décor to hang over furniture. Not to mention, you need extras for when you have overnight guests and out of town visitors.

And if you’re anything like me, you use all the old blankets for the pets. They love to have their own too.

Cost 

As you might imagine, considering the wide variety of the materials you have to choose from, the price ranges are just as varied. Also, price isn’t an indication of how long it will last, that has more to do with the material. I’ve had my favorite Mexican blanket for years, and it cost $15.

If you want a quality blanket and you’re not buying an authentic serape like mine, expect to pay anywhere from $40 to over $200.

Related: Summer Duvet Buying Guide

Coverlet

Madison Park MP13-2802 Dawn 6 Piece Cotton Percale Quilted Coverlet Set, Blue
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Woven coverlets date back to the pre-Civil War era. Women used a floor loom and made them by hand from wool or cotton. They were typically at least two colors, and they were reversible, too.

Then, in the early 1800s, Joseph Marie Jacquard invented an attachment that made a unique pattern in the weave: however, the new attachment made the loom expensive. Consequently, these new-fangled looms got set up in factories, where men took over creating the coverlets.

How Do You Use It?

A coverlet’s main purpose is decoration—They dress up a modern bedroom in place of a traditional bedspread. Unlike a bedspread which extends to the ground, a coverlet lies on top of the bed skirt.

Its size makes it perfect to use with a platform bed, as it lands right in the spot where the bed frame and mattress meet. You can tuck it in for a contemporary, sleek look, or leave it out for a more casual feel. What’s more, you can fold it and put it on the end of the bed in place of a blanket.

Comfort Level

EXQ Home Quilt Set Full/Queen Size Grey 3 Piece,Lightweight Microfiber Coverlet Modern Style Stitched Quilt Pattern Bedspread Set
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Today’s coverlets may provide some warmth, but they’re lightweight and smaller than regular bedspreads. A coverlet is versatile bedding that you can use all year long. Also, if you live in a warm climate, a coverlet is an excellent choice for a bed topper.

Materials and Design features

You’ll find cotton, silk, velvet, and linen coverlets. Not only that but the Jacquard weave is still popular.

The Benefit of Long-Lasting Elegance

A coverlet can last many years, considering that it doesn’t get the same wear and tear as your other bedding. It’s easy to care for and dries much quicker than a comforter or quilt.

Cost 

Like our other bedding on this list, you can find coverlets in a variety of materials and a price range that varies too. Ultimately, it’s worth it to spend a bit more to get a quality coverlet that will last. You can pick one up in a price range for $40 to $200and up.

Related: Types of Pillows | Types of Bed Sheets | Types of quilted throws

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