What Is a Duvet? Duvet vs Comforter — Pros and Cons of Comforters and Duvets

Have you ever taken a bite of an extremely good piece of cake only to be severely disappointed by nasty fondant on top? That’s the dessert equivalent of having a perfectly constructed bed topped with a lumpy, sad, hand-me-down blanket. Even if your bod doesn’t cuddle up against it, what goes on top of your mattress, sheets, and pillows is as important as everything else. It’s not just what you (and everyone else) sees, but it can also make a serious difference in how well you sleep (and truly, what’s more important than that?).

When it comes to bed toppers, you’ve got two main options: duvets and comforters. I know what you’re thinking: What the heck is a duvet cover? They look alike, their names are often used interchangeably (confusing!), and, um, they both do the exact same thing. But—but!—each option has crucial pros and cons. So get cozy, stuff that lumpy blanket in the trash, and get ready to make an informed bedding upgrade.

What Is a Duvet?

Often called a comforter (confusing, I warned you), the big distinction is that a duvet is designed to be shoved inside a cover. It’s also quilted and filled with something warm—down or an alternative, usually—but it’s plain and not particularly cute. That’s where duvet covers come in. This bedding requires accessorizing, y’all.

Duvet pros

  • Easy to care for. Because these don’t really get dirty (they’re tucked away inside other fabric), you don’t have to clean them as frequently. Save on time and your dry-cleaning bill, hell yeah.
  • Great for mixing it up. A duvet is a smart option if you treat your bed like a mood ring that changes colors every few minutes. Covers can be super inexpensive and are easy to store, so stockpile a bunch and switch up your look at a moment’s notice.
  • Cheap! It’s literally just a stuffed bag of fluff! You can usually get a duvet for pretty cheap (especially if you don’t care if the insides are down or an alternative).

    Duvet cons

    • Gotta buy another piece. A lot of sheet sets come with duvet covers, but not all do—meaning you may have to invest in yet another bedding piece if you go this route.
    • Changing. Covers. Is. The. Worst. You’ll prob need to enlist a friend’s help with this. Consider yourself warned.
    • They don’t stay put. Most covers these days come with ties on the inside corners to keep your duvet in place, but not even the strongest ones are a match for dreaded duvet drift. Within a week or two, you’re gonna wake up with the bulk of your bedding lumped toward one side.

      What Is a Comforter?

      Comforters are thick, soft, quilted blankets with insulating filling inside—usually down or a comparable alternative—and can come in plain white or in colorful prints. They’re designed to be tossed on top of the bed straight out of the box and they don’t require a cover to keep them protected or make them cute. TL;DR: They’re bed toppers for the fashionably lazy.

      Comforter pros

      • Cute as-is. No need to buy an additional cover to zhuzh it up—comforters come in tons of cute patterns, prints, and even textures.
      • Often sold in sets. To make your bed dressing even easier, a lot of comforters are sold in sets with coordinating pillows or blankets. Kinda like a chic bed-in-a-box situation.
      • One simple piece. The only thing worse than folding a fitting sheet is stuffing a duvet inside a cover. Avoid that drama with a comforter in one easy piece.

        Comforter cons

        • Not for the fickle. If you like to change your bedding like you change your clothes, a duvet may be a cheaper and more practical option than a dressy comforter you’ll be sick of in three months.
        • May go flat on you. The stuffing in your comforter will, eventually, start to wear down, and when that happens, it’ll need to be replaced. But you may not be able to find the same one, leaving you with a mismatched set.
        • Might be a pain to clean. Some are machine washable, but many are dry-clean-only. If you are known to toss all your shit on your bed when you come home or are generally a clean freak, you might be stuck with an expensive bill from the cleaners.

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