Coverlet vs. Quilt: What’s the Difference?
Understanding when to use a coverlet or quilt is essential in curating a cohesive style as they add different design elements to a room. It also helps to know the difference when deciding which bedding should be used during certain times of year, depending on climate. Coverlets serve as decorative accents year-round or as lighter bedding during the summer, while quilts are thicker and designed to provide optimal warmth. Quilts are crafted with multiple fabric layers and thick inner padding, and coverlets are smaller and consist of single, lightweight pieces of fabric. Although both options provide a certain amount of comfort and add an attractive touch to the bedroom, there are key differences between coverlet and quilt bedding in terms of thickness, style, and warmth.
What is a Coverlet?
Coverlets are lightweight bedding pieces commonly placed over thicker bedspreads or quilts as decorative layering. Crafted with lightweight materials such as linen, cotton, and polyester, coverlets also often get paired with top sheets for cooler, comfortable bedding alternatives during the summer. Our Summer Bedspread Guide can help you make warm-weather decisions based on weight, color, and material. When determining what a coverlet is compared to a quilt or bedspread, coverlets generally come smaller in size than traditional quilts and thicker bedspreads and consist of single layers of fabric. Additionally, quilts and bedspreads typically drape down to the floor, while coverlets drape about halfway down the sides of a standard bed which can show off platform beds or other bed styles with legs as subtle decorative touch.
Coverlets are available in a wide range of styles, designs, and colors to accompany quilts and bedspreads and accentuate your bedroom. Fresh white cotton with detailed embroidery complements the charming and natural feel of cottage style. A brightly colored coverlet with abstract patterns is sure to add an extra layer of unique and carefreeness to a boho styled room. Whether your style is farmhouse and rustic; embodying unfinished wood and natural fibers, or minimalistically modern and contemporary with clean lines, coverlets can work alongside the rest of your decor to elevate your space.
Coverlet materials are typically lighter and perfect for temperate to warm climates. With the variety of bedding materials out there to choose from, which one will work best for your bedding? That’ll all depend on your preferences with how the material feels, or how warm you want to be kept under the sheets.
Lightweight cotton is a popular coverlet material option thanks to its breathability and crisp, clean appearance. Lightweight cotton coverlets pair nicely with light-colored bedspreads or quilts during the summer months, as lighter colors such as crisp whites and pastels work well to deflect sunlight coming in through the windows. Lightweight cotton also absorbs less heat than thicker fabrics, allowing for a cool and comfortable night’s sleep.
Polyester coverlets are durable, easy to care for, and less prone to wrinkling, which makes them a suitable option for busy households or whenever you have guests over. Coverlets crafted with polyester, microfiber polyester, and polyester blends are resistant to fading, so you can have a coverlet that looks great even after years of ownership.
Linen coverlets are an ideal option during the summer since linen is a light, airy fabric that’s breathable and cool on the skin. Draping a linen coverlet over a thicker bedspread during the warmer seasons allows for an aesthetically pleasing, functional bedroom accent that can be easily swapped out as the seasons change.
What is a Quilt?
Quilts differ from single-layer blankets and coverlets, as they have a padded middle layer and feature quilted stitching on the top layer, which provide extra warmth and insulation. Quilting dates back hundreds of years when traditional quilts were created for that same purpose, and early iterations often featured intricate stitching patterns and decorative elements. Oftentimes, the top layers of quilts consist of multiple pieces of fabric stitched together.
Quilt Bedding Styles
Quilt blanket and bedding styles can vary based on color, stitching, pattern, and material, so it’s important to choose quilt styles that correspond with your desired aesthetic. Quilts with scalloped edges in light, neutral colors make the perfect touch to a coastal style home or for those looking to create a calming environment. Accentuate your space’s eclectic style by choosing reversible quilts with different patterns and colors on each side. Many quilt bedding styles also take note from the traditional quilts of the past, with patterns such as tea stars or multi-colored fabric squares; these pivotal designs rounded off the emphasis of dark wood in 18th and 19th century traditional designs. With so many options for quilt bedding, our Quilt Buying Guide can help you make an informed decision for your home based on your needs.
Popular Quilt Fabric Materials
Quilts can be made with an abundance of different types of fabrics, but they are often made with classic materials such as cotton or microfiber. Discover some of our popular quilt materials below.
Cotton is one of the most common quilt fabric materials for top and bottom layers due to its comfort and breathability, as well as its durability. While cotton is generally a lightweight material, cotton quilts still provide plenty of warmth thanks to the interior layer of batting. Cotton quilts with light padding can also be used all-year round, where adding another blanket on top provides some versatility to this bedding piece. Meanwhile, thicker cotton quilts are ideal for use during the cooler seasons if you only want to use one layer.
Microfiber is an extremely fine polyester fiber that’s soft yet durable. Since microfiber is a versatile material, it’s often used throughout the entire quilt and can withstand multiple machine washes, as it’s less resistant to fading compared to other fabrics.
Velvet quilts offer a soft and luxurious feel, with a medium weight that’s suitable for year-round use. Velvet is a breathable material, so heat doesn’t become trapped during the night, and quilts crafted with velvet or velvet/polyester blends are generally machine washable for easy care.
When to Use a Coverlet vs. Quilt
Quilts are crafted with several layers of loose weave quilted fabric to provide extra warmth, while coverlets consist of a single sheet of light fabric, typically cotton or cotton blend. Specific quilt and coverlet designs can vary, but most quilts include a decorative, quilted top layer, a middle layer of batting, and solid fabric on the bottom. Some coverlets feature intricate stitching for added texture, and others are solid-colored without embellishments.
Quilts are ideal for colder weather, whereas coverlets can be used as light blankets during the warm seasons and paired with quilts or comforters to keep you warm throughout the colder months. You can also place a coverlet on top of a quilt or bedspread as a decorative piece. Our Blanket Buying Guide will walk you through how to choose layering pieces based on your warmth and home decor needs.
Quilts and coverlets are aesthetically pleasing, functional bedding pieces that complement your sleeping space, and there are numerous style and material options to suit your bedroom decor needs. Review our Bedding 101 Guide to discover all the bedding essentials needed to go along with your new quilt or coverlet.