While your bed is most certainly there to serve the purpose of ensuring you sleep in utmost comfort, it’s also the statement piece that pulls the design of the room together. But piecing together a bed ensemble that’s both practical yet stylish can be overwhelming, especially if you can’t make sense of all the options available. While shopping for bedding, there’s a good chance that you’ve encountered terms such as comforter, quilt, duvet and cover, and coverlet. But what do they all mean, and how do you know what one is your best option? And for that matter, does it really matter?

Bedding Breakdown Decoding Quilts Comforters Coverlets and Duvets

First of all, let’s cover what a bedspread is since it’s a term that’s often used interchangeably with the types of bed coverings I’m going to discuss. Bedspread is the generic term used to describe virtually any pre-filled cover for your bed. They can be thick or thin, depending on how much warmth you need, and come in a variety of fabric. Typically, they are used alone, but can also be layered for decorative purposes.

Now, that we got that out of the way…

Popular Bedding Choices


Comforters are a decorative top layer that often comes with coordinating pillow shams or accent pillows. The filling, often consisting of down feathers, wool, silk, or polyester batting, determines the weight and well as the level of insulation. Comforters are typically stitched or quilted to keep the filling in place and evenly distributed. Generally, colors and patterns are dyed, rather than embroidered, onto it.

The nice thing about comforters is that they come in different weights, making it easy to find something that works for you based on the climate you live in. They are also often machine washable, making it the perfect choice if you want something that’s low maintenance.

Duvet and Cover

A duvet is similar to a comforter in that it is filled with layers of material. Typically, the fill consists of down feathers or a synthetic alternative. However, other fill options such as polyester batting, wool, or silk are also available.

Duvets are generally plain white and are typically used as inserts for a duvet cover, which is often sold separately. While there’s no set rule that you have to use a cover, it can be beneficial to protect the duvet especially if it’s one made of expensive fill materials. And considering duvet covers come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, many people enjoy the decorative aspect as well. Furthermore, if you are someone who likes the flexibility to change your bedding seasonally or on a whim when a new style catches your eye, a duvet and cover might be for you.

Because the cover is washable, it isn’t necessary to use a flat sheet underneath, however, many people still do. The warmth a duvet provides is determined by the fill. When shopping for one, you will see them categorized as lightweight, midweight and heavyweight.


Quilts are traditionally composed of three layers of fibers: a woven cloth top, some batting, and a woven back stitched together in decorative patterns. Quilts differ from other forms of bedding in that they are pieced together with several squares of cloth in a decorative pattern.

To this day, quilts are often made or given to mark important life events, such as a marriage or birth of a child. However, you can find quilts from just about any department store if they are something you prefer. Quilts are also very versatile, which means there’s no reason to keep them confined to a bed. Use them as a throw, table runner, tablecloth, or wall hanging--especially if they’re vintage or have a special meaning.

Quilts are ideal for warm climates as they aren’t very thick. Additionally, they are easy to clean. All it really takes is a gentle wash in the washing machine and a line dry.


Coverlets are light-weight, non-reversible bedspreads that are quilted or woven. Because they do have a thin layer of batting inside, coverlets can be used as a stand-alone bed covering, if that is all you need. In many cases, however, coverlets are used as a decorative layer for thicker bedding. If your duvet cover is your focal point, use the coverlet under, rather than over it. Like quilts, coverlets are ideal for warm seasons and climates or as an extra layer in cold months.

Custom Linens for a Bed That Radiates With Style

If it’s a comforter or duvet cover you seek, but can’t seem to find one you like off the shelf, consider going custom. We have a wide selection of discount designer fabrics that can make your bed the stunning focal point it was meant to be. Stop by one of our showrooms to see for yourself!