What is a coverlet?

Not quite a quilt, not quite a bedspread, the coverlet is a lightweight blanket that has two primary uses. “A coverlet is meant to be a lightweight layer that can either be made into the bed, between the sheet and duvet, to act like a blanket, or folded at the foot of the bed for an extra layer of warmth.

Coverlets work well in cold climates or seasons as an additional layer atop your comforter or duvet, but they can also be used as your main bedding option in warm climates or seasons. They come in a variety of materials, most commonly cotton or linen. Adding a coverlet is an easy way to change your bedding, just remove, fold, or display it however you desire.

A coverlet can be tucked in or left untucked. Since many coverlets are edged with a decorative trim or scallop edge untucking is suggested. We typically suggest adding matching shams and a bed skirt or decorative box spring cover (bed wraps) to finish the look since the coverlet does not reach the floor like a bedspread. Using a coverlet simplifies the bedmaking process as they are lightweight and less cumbersome than a bedspread or comforter.


How coverlet is different from other bedding?

Coverlets are a smaller and lighter alternative to other bedding options, like a comforter or bedspread. While they can be used as an additional layer, they are visibly lighter and shorter (never extending past the bed skirt).

When should you use a coverlet?

While a coverlet is great for extra warmth, coverlets are mainly used for decoration. It is a sophisticated accent piece for your bed that spruces up your entire room. The thinly padded cover is especially great to lay across the bed, with corners tucked around the mattress for a neat, modern look. A coverlet can also be folded in half and placed at the bottom of the bed for a layered look.

What’s the difference between a coverlet and a quilt?

Let’s start with the definition of a quilt: it’s a blanket comprising two layers of woven fabric with a layer of batting in between. While old-school coverlets were not technically quilts, as they just mimicked their woven looks, that’s not the case today. This is why you see more ‘quilts’ than coverlets [on the market].” In essence, a contemporary coverlet can be a quilt, but it doesn’t have to be. One major differentiator is that true quilts are often heavier than quilted coverlets, which oftentimes forgo that middle layer of batting in order to be as lightweight as possible.

Another big difference is in the purpose of the blanket. “Coverlets differ from quilts because coverlets are usually used as a layer, where quilts can be layered or stand alone on a bed. So if your quilted blanket stands alone on top of your bed, it’s probably a quilt, but if it’s one of the multiple layers, it’s probably a coverlet. Of course, quilts can also be layered, so take this all with a grain of salt.

What’s the difference between a coverlet and a bedspread?

If you’ve been using the term “bedspread” as a catch-all for the blankets you layer onto your bed, you’ve likely been using it incorrectly. Coverlets are much smaller since they’re designed to be a decorative element at the foot of your bed or a thin extra layer between the bedspread, duvet, or quilt and your sheets.

When should I use a coverlet?

As a lightweight blanket, coverlets are quite versatile. If you’re a hot sleeper and find your quilt or duvet too heavy in the summertime, you can use a coverlet over your sheets. And then in the winter, a coverlet can be a great extra layer for warmth. If you’re using a coverlet as decoration at the foot of your bed, then you can easily keep it there all year round.

How should I style a coverlet?

Coverlet Style

Variety is the name of the game when it comes to coverlets. They come in all types of colors, patterns, materials, and styles, so it should be relatively easy to find one that suits your bedroom’s vibes, whether you skew more farmhouse-chic or Scandi-cool.

How do you wash a coverlet?

Taking care of a coverlet is relatively low maintenance. Since they are thin and light, they are easier to wash than a thick quilt or fluffy comforter. If you simply fold your coverlet at the end of the bed as a throw, or if it does not make regular contact with your skin, you can wash it once a season. If you use a coverlet as your primary blanket (along with bedding sheets), try to wash it once per month. Your coverlet will come with specific washing instructions listed on the tag, indicating machine-wash, hand-wash, or dry-clean only. A coverlet should be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinkage. If you choose to air dry your coverlet, you can stretch it out flat in the sun to dry within a day. Indoors, it may take up to two days to dry.

You don’t need a blanket when you have a coverlet

You do not need the blanket (if you feel it would be too many layers) on the bed as you can use the coverlet for warmth. Using a blanket saves washing or cleaning the coverlet more often as a blanket can go into the washing machine which saves the Coverlet from being cleaned as often. As with most bedding, checking for stains is very important. Most coverlets can be washed and dried, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Of course, if you are an innkeeper, hotelier, or vacation home owner where you have guests using your property, bedding will have to be properly cleaned more often.

Think of a coverlet as a junior version of a bedspread, as it is shorter in length and width and lighter weight.  It can be used as a lightweight cover in warmer months or as a textural layering piece in cooler ones. They can also be used as a blanket.

Coverlet purchase advice

Coverlets are decisive for sleeping comfort – what could be nicer than slipping contentedly into the cozy bed in the evening and pulling the Coverlet over your head and feeling the comfortably warm feeling of security? 

Do you know your personal need for warmth?

Everyone has a different sensitivity to heat – some people, mostly women, often have cold feet, freeze quickly, and therefore prefer a heated bedroom, while others tend to sweat and like to sleep with the window open. These criteria place different demands on your Coverlet and should be analyzed and taken into account before purchasing.

Do you tend to freeze?

Are you one of those people, mostly women, who tend to have cold feet and therefore find it difficult to fall asleep? Duvets with cassette quilting can prevent the filling material from slipping and form a good air cushion for storing heat. Down and feather fillings are particularly warming. The small fluffy feathers have a very high filling power, insulate particularly well, and thus store heat optimally. In addition, we recommend fluffy, warm beaver or flannel bed linen for a restful sleep without freezing.

Are you always warm?

Are you one of those people who are always too warm and tend to sweat easily? Then we recommend a light and breathable blanket made of natural hair, such as cashmere, new wool, or camel hair. Natural hair absorbs moisture quickly without feeling clammy. A cheap and purely plant-based alternative is a cotton blanket. Cotton is very hard-wearing and easy to care for and only absorbs a small amount of heat. We also recommend temperature-regulating bed linen in seersucker or linen quality for those who sweat, so that you can enjoy a consistently pleasant bed climate!

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