The Differences Between a Duvet and a Comforter

If you’re familiar with bedding vocabulary, you’ve probably heard “duvet” and “comforter.” Naturally, one is different from the other, but they both serve almost the same purpose: keeping you warm at night. So which one is better for your bedroom?

You can use either a comforter or a duvet in your bedroom. A duvet usually is thicker and warmer, and it’s used with a duvet cover to keep it clean. A comforter, meanwhile, is just one piece — and it’s usually paired with a top sheet.

After deciding which of the two would better fit your room, you also need to figure out the right size for your mattress, which can be tougher than you’d expect. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between duvets and comforters and which sizes to consider.

What Is a Comforter? 

Bedroom interior with double bed

A comforter is a thick, soft, fluffy blanket laid on the top of your bed to keep you warm. This blanket is usually filled with synthetic fibers, feathers, or down. This filling is secured with stitches that ensure that the filling is evenly distributed.

Comforters are generally thinner and lighter than duvets because they contain less filling. Also, a comforter often comes with other bedding pieces, and you might need to use it with another blanket or a layer of sheets, usually for hygienic purposes.

Many comforters are machine washable, but if your comforter doesn’t fit in the washer, a good hand washing will do. Some comforters require professional dry cleaning. You can use a comforter with a duvet cover to reduce the number of times you have to launder it.

Comforter Sizing Guide

Comforters come in different sizes so that they can fit the different mattress sizes available. You can use the sizing guide below to determine the various comforter sizes. However, note that, unlike duvets, comforters are typically oversized and always hang over the side of the bed instead of fitting the mattress perfectly.

SizeComforter
Twin/Twin XL66” x 86” to 68” x 88”
Full/Double81” x 86” to 84” x 88”
Queen86” x 96” to 88” x 100”
King/California King102” x 88” to 110” x 98”

Unfortunately, this guide isn’t totally standardized across brands, so some manufacturers will add or subtract a bit from the measurement above. Before buying a comforter, always consider the size and thickness of your particular mattress.

What Is a Duvet? 

A duvet is a soft, fluffy quilt made of down feathers that originated in Europe. The word “duvet” is literally translated as a “down comforter” in French. Down is a soft kind of feather located below the bird’s tougher outer feathers. This feather is highly insulating.

Nowadays, duvets are typically filled with down, wool, or synthetic material. Duvets made from eiderdown, a scarce natural resource, are some of the most expensive and luxurious.

Duvets are usually white or light-colored but with different designs. The fabric used to enclose the filling material can be silk, cotton, or another similar option. Typically, duvets are meant to be used with a duvet cover, although some prefer to use the fabric as it is.

Those who like to be very warm at night will probably prefer a duvet, but it’s really up to you to decide which option is best. More on that later.

Duvet Sizing Guide

Like comforters, duvets come in different sizes based on the mattress size. However, duvets are different in that they fit the mattress (they’re smaller), unlike oversized comforters that hang over the side of the bed.

The sizing guide below will help you with the available duvet sizes. However, note that mattress manufacturers might increase or reduce this measurement, so you still have to consider the size and thickness of your bed before investing in a duvet.

SizeDuvet
Twin/Twin XL64” x 89” to 70” x 88”
Full/Double80” x 89” to 90” x 94”
Queen88” x 90” to 90” x 94”
King/California King104” x 90” to 108” x 94”

What Is a Duvet Cover? 

A duvet cover is what you use to protect your duvet, just as a pillowcase covers a pillow. Duvet covers usually have ties, zippers, or buttons used to keep the duvet inside.

Unlike a duvet, duvet covers are easy to remove and wash in the machine. By using a duvet cover, it becomes much easier to maintain clean bedding. You can just wash the cover as needed, and leave the duvet itself for months or even years at a time.

Also, with a duvet cover, you don’t need a top sheet anymore since they both serve the same function. One other benefit of using a duvet cover is that you can improve the appearance and color of your bedding by simply changing the covers. Duvet covers aren’t usually too expensive, so you don’t have to spend much money to have several covers available.

What Are Duvet Covers Made Of? 

What’s in a duvet cover is as important as what’s in the duvet itself. The best choice is fabrics that are natural, lightweight, and breathable. Below are some fabric options you should consider when getting duvet covers.

Cotton

Cotton duvet covers are the most common type you can find because they are soft, light, and breathable. Cotton fabrics are known to regulate temperature well, so they’re great for both warm and cold nights. Above all, cotton duvet covers are easy to clean and maintain.

Cotton fabrics vary; there are different options to choose from. Examples of cotton fabrics are Organic cotton, Egyptian cotton, Traditional cotton, Supima, etc. Organic cotton is the most popular of the bunch. A few Organic cover options are the Tissaj 100% Organic Cotton Twin/Twin XL Duvet Cover (on Amazon) and the BIOWEAVE 100% Organic Cotton Duvet Cover Set (on Amazon). Organic cotton also has the advantage of sustainable manufacturing processes.

Silk

Silk duvet covers are also lightweight and breathable. Silk is a natural product, so it helps regulate body temperature much more than synthetic materials.

Although silk duvet covers are more expensive than those made with cotton, you don’t have to wash them as often.

Still, silk duvet covers require special care when washing, so you should check out the care instructions on the tag. Many silk duvet covers aren’t machine-washable, but for those that are, it’s best to wash them in a protective cover.

A good silk duvet cover to consider is the ZIMASILK 100% Mulberry Silk Duvet Cover (on Amazon) and the Pothuiny 5-Piece Satin Duvet Cover Set (on Amazon).

Flannel

Flannel duvet covers are another great option you might want to consider. They’re incredibly soft, machine-washable, easy to clean, and long-lasting. One major disadvantage of this fabric, however, is that it doesn’t regulate body temperature.

So while it may keep you warm on cold nights, it won’t keep you cool on a warm night — you’ll only get warmer. If you choose to buy flannel duvet covers, you might need to buy different fabrics for different seasons. The Bare Home Flannel Duvet Cover (on Amazon) and the Mellani Flannel Queen Duvet Cover (on Amazon) are two duvet cover options you should consider.

How to Use a Duvet Cover 

The function of a duvet cover is simple — to cover a duvet. Still, that doesn’t mean that it’s that easy to stuff your duvet into it, at least not as easy as placing a pillow in a pillowcase.

If you don’t insert the duvet into its cover correctly, you’ll have to deal with rumples and unevenness, which can be quite annoying. So, what’s the proper way to use a duvet cover?

  1. Spread out the duvet: To begin, spread out your duvet on the bed. The entire material doesn’t have to be perfectly flat, but a good portion of it should be. Also, ensure that the edge and corners of the duvet are easy to reach.
  2. Turn the duvet cover inside out: There’s usually one side of a duvet cover that can be opened with a zipper or buttons. After unzipping or unbuttoning this opening, turn the duvet cover inside out. Ensure that the corners of the cover are smooth and not bunched up.
  3. Lay the duvet cover over the duvet: Place the duvet cover on top of your duvet and make sure that the bottom corners of the cover (the side without the opening) align with the duvet corners. You can clip or tie the corner of both fabrics together to make this easier. After securing the corners, lift up one side of the cover and slip your hand inside to hold the respective corners. It’s okay if you don’t have something to fasten the corners together. You can still hold the corners, but don’t let go.
  4. Turn over the duvet cover: Flip the cover over the duvet right side out, holding the corners firmly. Using your hands, gently shake the duvet as though fluffing it out, allowing the cover to follow the length of the duvet. You can manipulate the fit easier when the corners are secured by a tie or clip instead of your hands.
  5. Pull it down: You can let go and then pull the rest of the cover down to align the corners once the cover has fully engulfed the majority of the duvet. Please put them in their respective spots and secure them with ties or clips like the other two. Otherwise, smooth down the edges and zip or button the cover.

The process might be awkward at first, but the more you do it, the easier it’ll become. And you’ll be glad not to have any bunched-up duvet sections.

You can also use clips to ensure that the duvet stays put in the cover, but that isn’t necessary since it usually stays put once inserted. Some duvet covers also come with instructions on using them, so you can also look out for that.

Which Is Better, a Duvet or a Comforter? 

Luxury master bedroom interior

There’s no hard and fast rule as to which option is better. Still, some things set each one apart, so you need to know what these are to make the best choice for yourself.

For an easy comparison, we can look at the pros and cons of the duvet and the comforter. But before we proceed, the significant difference between both fabrics is that the duvet is made up of two separate pieces — the duvet and the duvet cover — while the comforter is a single piece.

Now, to the pros and cons of each bedding item:

Duvet

Pros

  1. Easy to clean
  2. Easy to lay on the bed
  3. The cover and the insert can easily be replaced
  4. The style of this bedding item is easy to change (by changing the cover)

Cons

  1. It isn’t easy to assemble
  2. The filling can become clumpy

Comforter

Pros

  1. The filling is usually built-in and well distributed
  2. It usually comes with a matching bed set
  3. It’s ready to use straight out of the package
  4. It makes your bed look more layered and well-arranged

Cons

  1. It May is not warm enough in some situations
  2. Challenging to wash and clean

When it comes down to which is better, you can only decide based on personal preference. That’s what the pros and cons are for; you should be able to choose after comparing the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Can You Use a Duvet as a Comforter?

A duvet should be encased in a duvet cover to keep it clean, though some people do use duvets without a cover. In this case, the duvet will require more frequent cleaning.

Will a Duvet Cover Fit Over a Comforter?

Although duvet covers are primarily used for duvets, there’s no reason you can’t use them with a comforter. Some homeowners use the duvet cover with a comforter to protect the latter from getting dirty. So long as the cover fits the comforter, you’re good to go.

How Do You Wash a Duvet?

You can wash most duvets with a washing machine. To do this, gently place the duvet in the washer (remove the duvet cover before doing that). Place tennis balls in the machine alongside the duvet to help keep the fabric fluffy.

Add mild detergent to the material through the machine’s soap dispenser, and wash the bedding on a gentle, warm water cycle. You can also add an extra rinse and spin cycle for better results. Then dry the duvet in the dryer on low heat.

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