Key Takeaways
  • A coverlet is a single-layer bed covering that can be placed over bedsheets, on top of a quilt, or used on its own for additional warmth or comfort. Quilts feature three layers of material that make them warmer, heavier, and best suited as the top layer of bedding. Coverlets are a great option for decoration or light layering. While some quilts come in a reversible design, they can also be more difficult to clean.

Proper bedding can enhance your sleep experience and make your bedroom environment more comfortable. Bed coverings provide warmth that help sleepers maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the night and come in a variety of colors and patterns to suit a wide range of preferences.

Coverlets and quilts are two popular bedding options. Though they are both bed coverings, they differ in their construction, usage, and maintenance. Each one of these factors affects their performance and should be considered when deciding which covering to use. 

We’ll highlight the difference between coverlets and quilts, the pros and cons of each, and what to consider when deciding which one is right for you.

What Is a Coverlet?

A coverlet is a single-layer, decorative bed covering that can be placed beneath a quilt or duvet for added warmth, folded at the foot of the bed to add style, or used alone as a thin blanket. In warmer weather, coverlets can serve as a lightweight option that keeps sleepers at a more comfortable temperature than heavier quilts, comforters, or duvets. Coverlets can also be folded at the foot of the bed for decoration and used when needed. 

Coverlets consist of one layer of a lightweight material, such as cotton or linen, and are smaller and less bulky than quilts. Coverlets also work well as a layering piece or decorative element as they don’t completely cover the sides of the bed.  

A coverlet should be washed about twice a month. Since coverlets are lightweight, they are easier to wash than quilts. Many coverlets are machine-washable. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s care instructions prior to washing.

  • Can be used year-round
  • Adds decoration to your bedroom
  • Requires minimal effort to wash
  • Doesn’t completely cover the bed
  • May not be suitable as a primary bed covering in cooler climates or for cold sleepers

What Is a Quilt?

A quilt is a multi-layered bed covering used as a top layer of bedding. Two layers of fabric are stitched together around an inner thin layer of insulation. While quilts can incorporate wool, down, or feathers as fill, most quilts made today commonly use cotton or synthetic materials. 

The top layer of a quilt may consist of many separate pieces of fabric sewn together in a decorative pattern or a dyed design. Some quilts are reversible, which allows sleepers to easily change the look of their bedroom. Due to their multiple layers, quilts are heavier, larger, and warmer than coverlets, making them a great option for cooler temperatures.

Quilts are sold in a variety of patterns and can be styled multiple ways. A quilt can be pulled back towards the foot of the bed and loosely folded. Alternatively, a quilt and top sheet can be folded together towards the head of the bed or tucked beneath the edges of the mattress for a clean look.

Typically, quilts require a large-capacity washing machine for cleaning. They should be washed only once or twice a year. Refer to the care instructions on your quilt before cleaning.

  • Provides more warmth and weight than a coverlet
  • Completely covers the bed
  • Sold in reversible designs
  • Doesn’t require frequent cleaning
  • Requires a large washing machine to clean
  • May be too thick for hot sleepers or those in warm climates

The Difference Between Coverlets and Quilts

Coverlets consist of a single, lightweight layer, while quilts feature three layers of material that add warmth, weight, and thickness. We’ll break down the benefits and drawbacks of each bed covering.

  • Can be styled multiple ways
  • Works well as an additional layer of warmth in cooler climates
  • Provides lightweight coverage in warmer environments
  • Easier to clean than a quilt
  • Provides more warmth and weight
  • Sold in many patterns and colors
  • Reversible designs allow for versatile styling
  • Only needs to be washed twice a year
  • Doesn’t cover a bed completely
  • May not be suitable for cold sleepers or those in colder climates
  • Requires more frequent cleaning than a quilt
  • Can be harder to handle and wash due to its weight and bulk
  • May be too warm for hot sleepers or those in warmer climates

Is a Coverlet or a Quilt Right for You?

When it comes to designing your ideal bedroom, your lifestyle, sleep preferences, and the climate where you live determine if a coverlet or quilt is best for you. If the temperature of your sleep environment changes throughout the year, a coverlet’s versatility may be ideal. The lightweight design also makes it easier to clean at home.

People who tend to get cold at night may prefer the weight and warmth of a quilt. Quilts also completely cover the bed, resulting in a neater appearance. Additionally, a reversible quilt can add variety to your bedroom decor. While quilts can be more difficult to wash, they don’t require frequent cleaning.

You May Prefer a Coverlet If:

  • You need a multi-purpose covering that can be used year-round
  • You are a hot sleeper or live in a warmer climate
  • You want to add a lightweight, decorative layer to your bed
  • You prefer bedding that is easy to wash
  • You want the option of an additional layer for warmth

You May Prefer a Quilt If:

  • You are a cold sleeper or live in a cool climate and need a warmer, heavier bedspread
  • You want a reversible bed covering
  • You prefer the appearance of a completely covered bed
  • You don’t want to wash your bedspread as often
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