Key Takeaways
  • Coverlets are thin bed coverings that can be used as an extra layer of warmth or as a main blanket in warmer climates. Their lightweight construction, array of designs, and often affordable price make them an appealing bedding option to elevate your bedroom’s style.

With a more lightweight feel than a quilt or a duvet, coverlets are a versatile form of bedding that can provide both warmth and decorative flair. 

A coverlet has many potential uses. You can use one as a backup layer, keeping it folded at the end of the bed. A coverlet can also be your primary blanket during the summer months. Since coverlets come in a range of materials, textures, and patterns, they can add visual variety and elegance to your bed. 

We’ll discuss common coverlet materials and ways to use this type of bed covering. We’ll also outline the pros and cons of coverlets compared to other types of blankets.

Coverlets, Explained

Often made with a single layer of fabric, coverlets are more lightweight and generally offer less warmth than quilts, duvets, or comforters. Many coverlets are designed to cover the entire surface area of a mattress, though they typically don’t hang down all the way to the floor like a bedspread. Others are smaller and function more like a throw blanket. Coverlets can come in a variety of patterns or solid colors, and they can be made of several types of materials to have a textured or woven feel.

These features make coverlets a great option for providing a light layer during hotter months or adding a touch of extra warmth when used with other blankets. Given their visual appeal, coverlets can simply be draped or folded up at the foot of the bed for an element of style.

Types of Coverlets

Coverlets can be made using a variety of materials, each with its own pros and cons.

  • Cotton: Widely available, cotton coverlets have a soft feel with great breathability. When used in a thinner coverlet, cotton can be prone to tearing or fading. 
  • Wool: Wool can provide excellent warmth, but it’s also breathable to help resist overheating. Wool coverlets may require more involved and time-consuming cleaning procedures. 
  • Linen: Though sometimes expensive, linen coverlets are among the most durable and breathable on the market. When used decoratively, a linen coverlet may require more care to prevent or remove wrinkles in the fabric. 
  • Microfiber: This soft synthetic material can be especially warm, making it a great coverlet material for use in colder rooms. Microfiber can be more susceptible to absorbing dirt and oils, so it’s important to wash a microfiber coverlet regularly.

Coverlets vs. Other Types of Bedding

While the lightweight design of coverlets may be ideal for certain sleepers, others may prefer the warmer constructions of quilts, duvets, or comforters. The best choice for you might depend on how warm you sleep, your budget, and the style you’re looking for in your room.

  • Often affordable thanks to lightweight construction
  • Can be used alone in summer or with other bedding in winter
  • Provide only limited warmth
  • May need to be paired with a bed skirt to conceal a foundation or bed frame
  • Provide more warmth than a coverlet in a thinner design than a duvet or comforter
  • Tend to be durable
Require more delicate washing
Heavier design limits versatility
  • Removable cover reduces the need to wash the duvet insert
  • Among the warmest blanket options
  • Often expensive, especially if made with down fill
  • May bunch up inside the duvet cover
  • Simple one-piece construction doesn’t require a separate cover
  • Come in a range of materials and warmth levels
  • May be difficult to clean or require dry cleaning
  • Tend to flatten over time

How to Wash a Coverlet

The best way to ensure you clean your coverlet properly is to check the tag for washing instructions. Though most can be machine-washed, some coverlets need to be hand-washed or dry-cleaned. For machine-washable coverlets, you’ll typically want to use cold water on a gentle cycle with a mild laundry detergent. 

Once the coverlet is clean, you can either air dry or tumble dry it on low heat. In general, it’s best to avoid high heat because it could damage the fabric or cause the coverlet to shrink. Always check the tag for the manufacturer’s drying instructions.

Because it typically rests on top of other bedding, you generally don’t need to wash a coverlet as often as your sheets.

Are You a Good Match for a Coverlet?

A coverlet may be the right choice if you want a lightweight and versatile blanket at a reasonable price. Since coverlets are generally thinner than duvets, quilts, and comforters, they often function well as a summer blanket. If you like to add or remove multiple layers to adjust your warmth, a coverlet can fit nicely into your mix of bedding regardless of the season. 

Coverlets frequently have a modern look and can serve as an accent piece in your bedroom. Either draped, spread out, or folded up at the foot of the bed, coverlets can add texture and color to your space. 

A coverlet may be a good fit for you if:

  • You are a hot sleeper and want a blanket that won’t cause overheating.
  • You like to keep a backup layer near the foot of your bed.
  • You want a simple and affordable way to add a pop of color or texture to your bedroom.

A coverlet may not be ideal for you if:

  • You like a heavier blanket with a warmer and cozier feel. 
  • You prefer a simple-looking bed that is easier to make in the morning. 
  • You want to avoid bedding that could add bulk or clutter to your bed.
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