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What is the Difference Between a Duvet & a Down Comforter?

    Down Comforter or Duvet?

    • Depending on what part of the world you're from, they may be one and the same. In old French, the word "duvet" actually means "down." Both duvets and down comforters are cloth bags used for bedding that are filled with down and/or feathers. Europeans and Canadians refer to these as duvets, while in the United States they're known as down comforters. Down comforters/duvets are generally equal to the size of the mattress.

    What About Comforters?

    • Comforters are a type of bedding generally made of decorative fabric with a fluffy synthetic fill that is often quilted. Comforters are used as bedspreads and are larger than the mattress size, hanging vertically to cover the sides of the mattress and meet the upper edge of a bed skirt. An advantage of comforters is that they are usually machine-washable. In addition, they come in a variety of printed fabrics with coordinating sheets, shams and bed skirts.

    Duvet or Not Duvet?

    • Although the original meaning of duvet was the feather-filled bag itself, common usage in the U.S. now refers to the protective and often decorative cover for a down comforter as a duvet. These duvets are bags that slip over the down comforter and are secured at the open end with ties or buttons. Duvets are to down comforters as pillow shams are to pillows. Although they may sometimes be referred to as duvet covers, most advertisements for linens and bedding refer to them simply as duvets.

    Duvets and Down Comforters: A Perfect Pair

    • Pairing duvets and down comforters offers the best of all worlds. Duvets are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Because of this, a relatively inexpensive duvet can quickly transform the look of the more expensive down comforter. In addition, the duvet protects the down comforter and can be easily removed for washing. Because of this simplicity, duvets may be used instead of a top sheet and washed regularly along with other bedding.

    Bottom Line

    • Understanding the difference between these often interchangeably used terms can ease shopping and make navigating linen ads a little easier. It's no longer an either/or choice of down comforter or duvet but rather a choice of which duvet and which down comforter. A duvet insert goes with a down comforter. A duvet cover accompanies a duvet.

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