There are a few types of slightly similar bed linens that go by different names. And while they are different, their styles may overlap.
What is a Coverlet?
A coverlet is a thin, non reversible blanket that covers the mattress of a bed. It is often paired with a bed skirt and left untucked, or used in a modern style, tucked in around the mattress.
A coverlet is thinner in weight than a quilt, but of the same weight as a bedspread. Unlike a quilt which is many pieces of fabric sewn together, a coverlet is woven, though it may have quilted stitching or other stitched patterns. It is almost missing the insulation layer that a quilt has.
How to use a coverlet
Coverlets are often used in bed linen layering, with comforters or duvets. They often have coordinating shams, though that’s not necessary. Some coverlets have the bottom side sewn to the sides, so that it sits over the mattress like a cap. It doesn’t make for easy bed making but it does look nice.
Coverlets may be layered with blankets underneath or used just with the sheet. Often bedding companies layer a coverlet on the bed with a comforter or duvet folded at the end of the bed in their retail photos.
What is a coverlet made of?
Matelasse is a type of fabric used in some coverlets and is often referred to simply as a “Matelasse”. However it is just the same as a coverlet, just a specific single-ply woven fabric with a raised pattern. The fabric can also be used on bedspreads or comforters or duvets.
Coverlets may be fabricated with a variety of other materials as well, such as jacquard, cotton, velvet, silk or polyester. A printed or brightly colored coverlet can add a fun splash of color to your room. Choose muted solid tones for an understated or minimalist feel.
What is a Bedspread?
A bedspread often refers to the category of bed linens that cover the sheets and warm blankets of a bed. However, it is also it’s own type of bedding, much like a coverlet.
Bedspreads are more formal in look, extending down to the ground from the bed. They are lightweight and woven, mostly used for decorative purposes. Many bedspreads have details that are decorative in nature, like pleats, ruffles, pintucks etc.
How to use a bedspread
A bedspread is designed to go over the pillows used for sleeping, with decorative shams placed on top. If you want an elegant, traditional or romantic ethereal look – this is the way to go.
They are lightweight like a coverlet and aren’t meant to be the sole blanket keeping you warm at night. It’s important to layer blankets under the bedspread so that you don’t get too chilly.
What is a bedspread made of?
Like a coverlet, a traditional bedspread can be made of many different materials depending on the look. A heavy jacquard leans formal, lacy cotton traditional, and polyester can go a number a different ways. Other fabrics include velvet and silk.
What is a Quilt?
A quilt is made of squares (or other shapes) of material stitched together, layered with batting and a woven bottom. While a quilt is thinner than a comforter or duvet, it is denser than a coverlet or bedspread, adding nice weight and warmth to sleep under.
Once upon a time, before fabric was loomed in to long sheets, homemakers stitched fabric together with an insulator to keep warm at night. Modern quilts aren’t always intended for bedding, but they certainly work well. A quilt also works as secondary warmth, folded at the end of the bed in case you get cold at night.
How to use a quilt
Depending on how warm your home is, you may need more layers than just a quilt to sleep under. A warmer climate might be just fine with a sole quilt over the sheets. In the winter, swapping in a comforter or duvet out as the sole bed top and folding the quilt at the end of the bed for extra warmth is common.
What is a quilt made of?
Most quilts in the traditional sense are made of cotton. Quilters buy cotton materials to sew together. The batting inside is also usually cotton as well as the backing. Commercially made quilts can be velvet, polyester or a variety of other fabrics.