A duvet is a type of bedding— a soft flat bag traditionally filled with down or feathers, or a combination of both and used on a bed as a blanket. Duvets originally came out of rural Europe and were made of Eider, a type of duck’s down, which is well known for its usefulness as an insulator.
A comforter is a type of bedding — a soft flat bag used on a bed as a type of bed cover. It is filled with either an artificial material (such as polyester batting) or a natural material. A comforter usually doesn’t cover the pillows or box spring of the bed. It is basically a luxurious thick, fluffy blanket that people put on their bed to achieve a much higher level of comfort and warmth. A similar type covering made from feathers (often including down) is generally referred to as a duvet.
A quilt is a type of bedding— a bed covering composed of a quilt top, a layer of batting, and a layer of fabric for backing, generally combined using the technique of quilting. Another technique for securing the quilt layers is tying. Tying refers to the technique of using thread, yarn or ribbon to pass through all three layers of the quilt at regular intervals. These “ties” hold the layers together during use and especially when the quilt is washed. This method is easier and more forgiving if the quilt is made by hand. Tied quilts are called, depending on the regional area, “hap”, “comfort” or “comforter”, among other names. Many quilts are made with decorative designs; indeed, some quilts are not used as bed covering at all, but are rather made to be hung on a wall or otherwise displayed.
In Australia a duvet is called a “Doona“, from a trademarked brand name derived from the Old Norse “dunn” meaning “down feathers”. In Danish and Norwegian a duvet is actually called a dyne, which is pronounced similarly to “doona”. Though still registered to the Tontine company, the name “Doona” has become a generic term for a duvet or down quilt.
Generally, they mean the same thing:
- In Australia – Doona or “continental quilt“
- In Britain/ UK – Duvet
- In America – Comforter
A blanket is a type of bedding, generally a large, rectangular piece of cloth, intended to keep the user warm, especially while they sleep. Blankets are distinguished from sheets by their thickness and purpose; the thickest sheet is still thinner than the lightest blanket, because blankets are for warmth, while sheets are for hygiene, comfort and aesthetics. Blankets are subdivided into many types, including quilts, duvets, and comforters, depending on their thickness, construction and/or fill material. Electric blankets are heated by electricity. Blankets were traditionally made of wool, while sheets were made of cotton which is less irritating to the skin. These days, artificial fibers are frequently used for both.
A bedspread is the general name given to basically all pre-filled bed covers intended for use as the top layer on a bed. Comforters, quilts and coverlets fall into that category. They can be both decorative and warming, thick or lighter weight, in a variety of fabric. They are generally used alone, with only a sheet and any blankets you need underneath, but also they can be layered for decorative purposes.
A coverlet is a lightweight, non-reversible bedspread that is usually either quilted or woven. Classically designed as a decorative layer to go over thicker bedspreads, coverlets often have a thin layer of batting, making them appropriate for use as a stand-alone bed covering, depending on the weight. They can also be used as throws on a bed or sofa.