What is a Duvet Cover?
How It Differs From a Duvet or Comforter


Written by David Rubin

Expert Tested

Table of Contents

A duvet cover is a practical piece of bedding designed to protect the warm blanket it encompasses. It acts as a shell, fully encasing and safeguarding the insert against wear and tear. Duvet covers come in a variety of materials, fabrics, and designs. They’re often machine-washable and made from durable fabrics engineered for longevity.

We’ll take an in-depth look at duvet covers, exploring their construction and explaining how they work. We’ll also highlight common duvet cover materials and the pros and cons of each. You’ll learn how to put on a duvet cover and what to look for when picking between products.

Is a Duvet Cover Different Than a Duvet?

A duvet is an insulating blanket that’s inserted into a protective cover. The French word “duvet” means down, and refers to the fine layer of feathers found beneath the exterior feathers of geese and other fowl. Historically, duvet inserts were goose down, though they now feature many types of fill, including down alternative fiber, wool, polyester, and eucalyptus. The fill is kept in place using a fabric shell that incorporates baffles or other stitching.

Most duvet inserts have simple colors and constructions since they are not designed for standalone use. This is where a duvet cover comes in handy. After sliding your duvet insert inside the cover, you close the cover around it using a zipper, snaps, or buttons. The cover ensures that your insert lasts longer and stands up to wear and tear. Using a cover also lets you easily swap out different bedding colors, fabrics, and styles, helping to keep your sleep environment fresh.

What Are the Benefits of a Duvet Cover?

Though you can sleep well without a duvet cover, adding one to your existing bedding setup can increase your overall comfort and protect your investment.

Adds an Extra Layer of Comfort

Duvet covers come in a wide range of fabrics and materials, allowing you to mix and match with your insert to create your ideal bedding. A duvet cover functions as a barrier between your body and the insert and can enhance your overall comfort. You can pick between crisp cottons, cozy flannels, luxurious silks, and many other materials that each have a distinct look and feel. Owning multiple duvet covers allows you to swap between fabrics depending on your mood, the weather, or decor preferences.

Protects Your Duvet Insert

One of the most important reasons to use a duvet cover is protection. Adding one to your bedding setup ensures a longer lifespan for your duvet insert, thanks to the additional layer between you and your blanket. A duvet cover also safeguards against body oils, sweat, pet dander, and dust. Duvet covers often feature fabrics that hold up to wear and tear more effectively than inserts do.

Easier to Throw in the Washer

Many comforters and duvet inserts have fills that require dry-cleaning or hand-washing. Using a duvet cover allows you to go longer between washes because it contacts your skin instead of the insert. Since this is one of a duvet cover’s major functions, most feature materials that are easy to wash at home. If easy care is important to you, make sure to consider a cover’s washing instructions before purchasing.

Provides More Style Options

You can purchase duvet covers in nearly any color, print, and fabric imaginable. If you like to mix up your decor often, switching between multiple duvet covers can be a cost-effective way to change your bedroom’s look. Using a duvet cover can also be particularly helpful for parents looking to accommodate their kids’ changing style preferences without purchasing entirely new bedding.

How to Put a Duvet Cover On

Like folding a fitted sheet, putting a duvet cover on may seem tricky, but it’s simple once you get the hang of it. We’ll highlight our favorite way to put on a duvet cover and explain the process step by step.

Lay Your Insert on the Bed

Putting on a duvet cover requires a clean, flat surface. Your mattress is likely the most convenient option. Lay the duvet insert on your bed with the corners aligned with the corners of your bed.

Turn Your Cover Inside Out

Situate your duvet cover so that it’s inside out. The easiest way to do this is to reach inside the cover and grab the top two corners, bringing them to the outside and flipping the entire cover inside out.

Grab the Corners of the Insert and Flip

With your hands still inside the cover, grasp the top two corners of your insert so that both the cover and insert corners are in your hands. Flip the cover so that it’s right side out again, shaking all four corners into place. Fluff the insert and tie or button any fasteners to keep it in place.

Close Up the Cover

After your insert is correctly positioned within the cover, secure the cover by zipping, snapping, or buttoning the closures.

Are There Different Types of Duvet Covers?

Duvet covers are available in many different styles, fabrics, and looks to complement nearly any taste or climate. With such a large range of options on today’s market, you can easily choose a cover that suits your needs and your bedroom’s decor. We’ll explore some of the most popular duvet cover materials, helping you gain a thorough understanding of each style’s performance and feel.


Cotton is a popular material for good reason. It’s durable, soft, and easy to wash at home. Cotton is also quite breathable, which makes it an excellent fit for people who sleep hot and those living in warmer climates. The material takes dye very well and often comes in many different prints and textures.

Price-points for cotton duvet covers can vary widely. Workhorse fabrics made from upland cotton are typically affordable, while Pima and Egyptian cotton duvet covers come with a much higher price tag.


While linen has been a common fabric for centuries, it has recently become more popular in bedding products. Made from the flax plant, linen has a rustic, lived-in look. It can feel a bit rough at first touch, but it becomes much softer after washing. Linen duvet covers are cool and breathable, as air moves freely through the fabric. High-quality linen duvet covers tend to be pricey, but the material is highly durable and likely to last.


Polyester duvet covers are affordable, simple to wash, and available in many vibrant colors. As a synthetic fabric, polyester can sometimes retain more heat than natural fibers. However, many sleepers shouldn’t find this a problem unless they tend to run exceptionally warm at night.

You can typically wash and tumble dry polyester duvet covers at home. The fabric is soft and not as prone to wrinkling as cotton or linen. Polyester duvet covers are a worthwhile choice for those looking for a soft duvet cover that doesn’t break the bank.


Known for its cozy feel and classic look, flannel is soft to the touch. The fabric is a comfortable choice for cold weather, as it’s often available in heavier weights that help keep sleepers warm. While many fabrics can have flannel’s plaid design, flannel is most often made from brushed cotton or wool, which gives the fabric its characteristically fuzzy feel.


One of the most luxurious options for a duvet cover is silk. The fabric feels cool to the touch and exceptionally soft against your skin. However, there are a few things to consider when it comes to silk bedding. It’s one of the most expensive fabric options and can be difficult to wash at home. Before purchasing a silk duvet cover, make sure you’re willing to trade ease and affordability for its luxe and elegant feel.

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How Much Does a Duvet Cover Cost?

Like sheets, inserts, and mattresses, duvet cover price-points vary widely depending on their materials and size. The most affordable duvet covers can cost as little as $30 to $40, while high-end options easily cost hundreds of dollars. Brand names, fabrics, and quality can all affect a duvet cover’s price.

Quality of Materials

Silk, high-quality linen, and organic cotton duvet covers can all cost upward of a few hundred dollars. Many companies that manufacture high-end fabrics also use sustainable practices that increase the overall price-point of their products. These materials tend to be hard-wearing and durable, which may be worth the extra cost for some shoppers.

Conversely, lower-quality cotton and synthetic blend fabrics require fewer resources to make and can be less expensive as a result. However, cost doesn’t always dictate quality and it is possible to purchase long-lasting covers at low prices.

Brand or Manufacturer

Well-known brand names and luxury goods manufacturers often command prices that reflect their reputation. In these instances, part of what you may be paying for is branding. While many reputable companies are popular because their products are high quality, that’s not always the case. Consider customer reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings to determine whether a brand’s prices reflect overall quality.

Style and Design

Some fabrics and designs require labor-intensive practices, from hand-dyeing to intricate embroidery and embellishments. Generally speaking, the more intricate a design, the more you should expect to pay for it. Multiple textures and details within the same cover can command a higher price due to the time it takes to craft.

Separate Pieces

Duvet covers are often sold separately from inserts, sheets, and pillowcases, which can increase your overall out-of-pocket cost. Those wishing to match their cover to their bedding may have to pay extra because the pieces aren’t generally offered together. Consider purchasing the same brand for all your bedding to take advantage of bundled pricing or other offers.

What Is the Difference Between a Duvet and Comforter?

Duvets and comforters have the same broad purpose, which is to keep you comfortable while you sleep. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but there are actually a few subtle distinctions.

Duvets consist of an insert and separate cover, while comforters have a built-in cover. Comforters are available in various designs and typically feature washer-friendly materials, though that’s not always the case. Comforters may feel less fluffy than duvet inserts and may require a quilt or coverlet during colder months. People who use a comforter need to wash it regularly, as the fabric comes into direct contact with their skin. Many sleepers prefer to use a top sheet since there’s no barrier between your body and the comforter.

While duvet inserts are sometimes available in multiple colors, they’re most often neutral or white, allowing customers to choose a cover with a design they like. Duvet inserts don’t always consist of washable materials, which is why people typically protect them with a cover. Some people opt to use their duvet without a top sheet, as the cover replaces the need for one.

Price-wise, duvet inserts and comforters both vary widely depending on their material. Duvet covers increase your total bedding cost, but they may be more cost-effective for shoppers who like to change their decor often. Purchasing additional duvet covers may be less expensive than buying a new comforter.

Which Should You Choose?

We’ll examine the pros and cons of each option to help you better understand the differences between duvets and comforters.



Duvets feature a blanket insert designed to fit inside a cover. While they are typically thick and warm, they can include fabrics and fills to complement any taste or climate.

  • Allows you to easily change up your bedding’s look and feel
  • Using a cover makes it easy to wash your bedding
  • Situating the cover correctly on your duvet can take some practice
  • Requires purchasing an additional piece of bedding


A comforter includes a cover built into its construction. Comforters are usually thinner than duvets, though they are made with many different fills and materials.

  • Usually easy to wash and dry at home
  • Often come bundled in sets with sheets and pillowcases
  • You may need to use an additional blanket or quilt for warmth during winter
  • Changing your bedding’s look means purchasing a new comforter

About The Author

David Rubin

Certified Sleep Science Coach, Director of Product Testing

David is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with a lifelong passion for well-being and health optimization. His interest in sleep developed with the arrival of his son, when sleep suddenly became a precious commodity.

  • POSITION: Side Sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Hot Sleeper

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