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Coverlets Vs. Quilts: What's The Difference?

You've lavished love and attention on every aspect of your bedroom so far, so the finishing touches deserve the same consideration. Your furniture looks so good, the bedding is beautiful and the rug ties everything together. You just need a little something else--that final accent that creates the coziness plus sophistication you want for your space at the end of the day. Quilts and coverlets can be just the thing to boost your bedroom into Instagram-worthy perfection. So, how do you know which one to choose?


Quilts are blankets with three layers of fabric. The top layer is made from woven cloth, like cotton or linen, a fine weave made of flax fibers. Traditionally, quilts didn't always have a top layer made from one single piece of cloth. A quilt might include patches of cloth from two or three complementary fabrics, or it might include lots of miscellaneous patches for a colorful look that could carry a lot of meaning. Today's quilts often have top layers made from a single fabric. They're called whole-cloth quilts. This new style gives your quilt the warm, classic feel you may already love while keeping the quilt in the 21st century as a modern piece of bedding on a carefully-made bed.

The bottom layer of the quilt is also woven, but in between the two layers is a layer of batting, a special sheet of wadding usually made from cotton or polyester. The batting gives the quilt its warmth, but since all three layers are relatively thin--especially compared to a duvet--you can still enjoy layering a quilt over other blankets and sheets.


A coverlet is similar to a quilt but tends to be more decorative than functional. You can still definitely use your coverlet for warmth over your other bedding, but a lot of people dress the foot of the bed with a coverlet when it's time to sleep. Think of that lightweight blanket that is usually over the bed in hotels. That's a coverlet. It's not the first thing that pops to mind when you think of snuggling up, but they do a great job of keeping in the warmth of other blankets, especially if it's chilly where you live.

Coverlets can make a big visual impact when you walk into the room. The top of the coverlet is prime space for a pattern or texture to really pop. Usually, coverlets aren't reversible, although the reverse of high-quality ones will still be attractive and smooth to the touch for wrapping yourself up. Some contain a thin layer of batting, like a quilt.

Staying Warm

For some people, the choice is easy. Which one is going to keep you warmer? This is a great way to make bedding decisions in general. If you live in a cooler climate, your default is always whatever is warmer. Closer to the tropics? Go for the lighter weight choice.

On their own, quilts and coverlets probably keep you equally warm. One of the major determining factors is the heaviness of the specific quilt or coverlet you choose, but another way to approach your selection is by looking at your other bedding. If your bed includes sheets, blankets and lots of layers for transitional seasons or because you love the way it looks, you might want to go with a quilt. The quilt will play nicely with lots of other bedding weights and add heft to the top layer of the bed for a finished appearance. If you've been keeping it simple with one big duvet, a coverlet is probably your best bet. You'll still get the warmth of the duvet, but the coverlet adds a clean edge to your bed that a fluffy duvet might not. The duvet, in this case, will create a look of cushiness under the polished coverlet edges. Either choice will keep you warm, depending on what you've already decided.

Making The Bed

How you make the bed might influence whether you choose a quilt or a coverlet. For instance, people who choose duvets usually enjoy how easy it is to make the bed. Simply straighten the duvet over your fitted sheet and fold it down at the top under where your pillows rest. If you like this no-fuss way of making the bed, a coverlet is for you. Use the same move as the duvet--a simple straightening and you're moving on with your day. Some people love finessing the details, though. Fluffing, plumping and layering aren't chores. They're caring touches that make your home a delight. If this sounds like you, go for the quilt. Quilts usually have a pillow tuck; the additional length that lets you create framed looks for pillow shams, accent pillows or layered blankets. Either choice often has matching pillowcases or shams, so you can make the bed in coordinating colors or a mix-and-match style.


Quilts and coverlets don't have to be used solely on your bed. If you know you're choosing yours for transitional weather or you like to buy home linens that coordinate throughout every room, consider which choice gives you the most versatility. Quilts can be used as bedding, wall-hangings and picnic blankets. Coverlets can double as throws for the couch or bed, but you might not hang one on a wall (not that anything is stopping you!).

Take a look at a variety of styles of each before you make your choice. When in doubt, select one of each. You're bound to use both in your bedroom, guest rooms and living rooms or dens.