Comforter? Duvet? Doona Cover? Quilt? What's the difference?

Are you staring at your old, worn out bedspread and contemplating revamping your bedroom, but are a bit confused by all of the bedding lingo? What on earth is a duvet and how does it differ from a comforter? Don't worry; you are not alone in your confusion. With so many options out there, and all of the bedding phrases and terms that are thrown around, it can surely be an overwhelming task to navigate the world of bedspreads. Let's dive in and take a look at some of the fundamental differences between the most common bedding solutions - so that you can choose the perfect one to give your bedroom the second life it deserves!

The always dependable comforter
A comforter is the standard American English term for any self-contained bedspread that is filled with an insulative material - this could be synthetic, cotton, wool, silk, feather, down, etc. Unlike a quilt, comforters are typically not embroidered in an intricate pattern, but the stitches serve the sole purpose of securing the filling. Unlike a duvet, comforters are enclosed in one piece and are meant to offer a stand-alone bedspread solution. Comforters are intended to be used without a decorative cover and, therefore, come in a variety of patterns and colors. They regularly adorn a bed in conjunction with a set of sheets. Countless bed-in-a-bag sets are available that include a comforter, a coordinating sheet set, and a set of pillowcases. Sometimes, larger comforters may require professional laundering since they typically will not fit in a home washing machine - no matter how hard you push. However, since comforters are usually accompanied with both a top sheet, they should not require regular washing.

Duvets, doonas, and continental quilts - oh my!
A duvet is also known around the world as a doona, continental quilt, or ralli quilt. Don't let the language fool you - each of these terms refer to the same bedding solution. A duvet is a soft, usually white bedspread that is packed with down, feathers, or wool (or sometimes a synthetic material). The bedspread is covered with a removable case - similar to the way a pillowcase covers a pillow. Duvets originated in Europe, where they were traditionally stuffed with duck feathers. Duvets are still the most commonly used bedding solution in northern European nations. Because the cover can effortlessly be removed and laundered, people often decide to cuddle up under duvets without a top sheet. Duvets can be warmer and cozier than comforters, especially when filled with quality-filling such as wool or down, and are rated based on their thermal insulation value. Duvet lovers often remark that it is easier to make the bed due to not having to mess with a pesky top sheet.

The endless decorating power of the duvet and doona cover
A duvet cover (also referred to as a doona cover or a quilt cover) is simply the protective portion of the duvet set. An almost endless selection of duvet covers are available, in different textiles, shades, and patterns, often paired with coordinating sheet sets. The sky is the limit if you are reinventing your bedroom! Duvet covers fold easily to fit in the linen closet - to be swapped out if the mood strikes. Duvet covers fit over the bedspread and then the remaining open side is secured with a zipper, buttons, or Velcro. These covers can be washed regularly, protecting your bedding from stains and common wear and tear. Duvet covers provide the fun, spontaneous ability to switch up the look and feel of the room without replacing an entire bedding set. If you enjoy changing your bedroom style on a regular basis, this is the bedding solution for you!

The proven durability of the quilt
What do you think of when you hear the word quilt? Many instantly picture a circle of women working tirelessly at their craft. While countless quilts are still shaped by hand, it is also common to see quilts that are mass produced by machines. A quilt refers to a decorative bed covering that is kept together by intricate lines of stitching. The stitching connects layers of fabric sandwiching a cotton or synthetic batting material. Each layer may consist of several squares of fabric sewn together, or one large piece of fabric with the designs appearing from the stitching. Because of their density, a thin quilt can often provide as much warmth as a thick comforter. Quilts can be created using a sewing machine, carefully crafted by hand, or produced by a machine. Historically, quilts have been designed for a myriad of reasons and were often constructed of fabric that held a special significance to the artist, or made as a gift to mark a rite of passage. Fabric artists often spend months designing these intricate works of art that often include beautiful displays or complex abstract patterns.