What is a Duvet?

Of Duvets, Comforters and Duvet Covers

A duvet, pronounced "due-vay" ("duvet" means "down" in old French) is a down comforter; that is, a comforter filled with down. These days, many people use the term "Duvet" to refer to any kind of comforter, regardless of what the comforter is filled with (down, cotton, wool or synthetics such as polyester, etc.). We're not too fussy about it. As long as "duvet" is used to describe a comforter of some kind, and not a duvet cover, we'll know what you're talking about.

What can be confusing is when people say "duvet" when referring to a duvet cover. This little missive is our modest attempt to help stop the madness: A Duvet is not a Duvet Cover.

A duvet cover is the protective cover that slips over the down comforter (or duvet), much like a pillow case on a pillow. Duvet covers are available in a wide variety of color and design choices. This opens up a whole world of possibility when the time comes to change the look of your bedroom, without having to purchase a new duvet.

Tips on how to choose and use a Duvet Cover:

Duvet covers are available in a wide variety of fabric and design choices, along with matching and/or coordinating sheets, pillow cases, shams and bed skirts, presenting practically unlimited possibilities when the time comes to change the look of your bed and bedroom without having to purchase a new comforter. A duvet cover also helps to prolong the life of your duvet while protecting it from stains and soiling.

Most people find that they no longer need to use a top sheet when using a duvet cover, since the duvet cover doubles as a top sheet. This is nice because the duvet cover is not as prone to tangling, compared to a top-sheet. Plus, using a duvet cover with your duvet makes your bed much easier to make each morning, compared to using multiple blankets, a top sheet, a coverlet or bed spread, etc.

Duvet covers are also available in a wide variety of fabric choices; cotton, linen, silk and more. A good quality lightweight cotton is hard to beat for comfort and ease of care.

Duvet covers come with either button or zipper closures. We like a good nylon zipper closure for convenience (Schlossberg duvet covers come with zippered closures), as it can be a bit tedious to fasten and unfasten 10 buttons (or so) each time you change the duvet cover for laundering. Having said that, we also use duvet covers that have button closures. The pain is short-lived. :)

Putting on the Ritz: Putting a duvet cover on your duvet is a straight forward task, like putting a sock on your foot; a really big sock on a really big foot! It can help to have 2 people, one person on each side of the duvet to pull the cover over the comforter, but it is certainly not necessary. Here are the steps:

1: Lay the comforter on the bed. Usually the end of the comforter that has the labels will go at the foot of the bed, although you may want to occasionally rotate this to alleviate wear caused by your arms, etc. squishing the part of the comforter that rests by your head and shoulders.

2: Place the duvet cover with the opening at the end of the comforter that is at the head of the bed. You want the duvet cover closure to end up at the foot of the bed when you are finished.

3: Roll up the duvet cover a bit, just like you would roll your sock up before putting it on your foot.

4: Place the two corners of the comforter into the corresponding corners of the duvet cover, at the head of the bed. Lean over a bit and help the middle of the comforter into the duvet cover.

5: Now that you've got the cover started, simply pull the cover down over the comforter, again, leaning over a bit and helping the middle part of the comforter into the cover. If there are two of you, you'll do this in tandem. If just one person, you will have to go from one side of the bed to the other. A couple of trips should do it!

6: Once you have the duvet cover all the way on, button the buttons or zip the zipper closed. Grab the comforter, with both hands through the duvet cover at the foot of the bed and give it a few good shakes so that the comforter fills the duvet cover properly. You may also want to do this from the side(s).

7: Viola! You're done.

To tie, or not to tie: Some duvets (like Plumeria Bay® duvets) come with little loops at each corner. If your duvet cover has "ties" (fabric laces) inside at each corner, you can tie the duvet cover to the duvet to help keep the duvet from shifting around inside the cover. Usually though, a duvet cover that is a bit smaller than your comforter will be all that is needed to prevent shifting. A quick shake in the morning (described above in step 6) will be all that is necessary to put everything in it's proper place. One exception to this rule would be a silk duvet cover with a silk comforter. Silk on silk is very slippery, so ties would definitely be a good solution to help prevent shifting here.

A Duvet is a Down Comforter. A Quality Duvet is Warm Fluffy Goodness

image of a fluffy goose down duvet

A Plumeria Bay® winter warmth duvet

A (quality) duvet is soft and fluffy, lightweight yet warm. A delight to sleep under, as cozy as you could ever wish, a duvet can help to make your bed your absolute favorite place to be. Your duvet is best used with a duvet cover, both to protect the comforter and to provide a design statement/accent.

These days, a quality duvet is much more than a rough cloth bag filled with the inedible portions of last nights supper! Luxurious soft down proof fabrics, highly processed, super clean, de-dusted and sanitized white goose down and state of the art baffled box construction result's in a comforter that will stay fluffy and warm for many years to come.

Duvets are available in a wide range of down proof fabrics and construction styles such as Sewn Through, Channel and Baffled Box. Our down comforter buying guide is a good place to learn more about what makes a good quality down comforter and about Plumeria Bay® duvets in particular.

The inside story: What goes in your duvet is at least as important as the fabric that your duvet is made with. "Down" is available in a wide range of fill qualities, from duck feather and duck down blends to the finest large cluster white goose down. The law label attached to the duvet will describe, to some extent, what the duvet is filled with. However, it is also important to understand, and be aware, of what the law label does not state: For example, if the law label does not state "White Goose Down", the comforter is likely filled with a less costly gray down. If the law label states "Down" instead of "Goose Down", the comforter is likely filled with duck down. The law label will also state the Fill Power of the down that is used in the comforter.

A duvet that is filled with a high quality goose down will offer a wider comfort range (cooler when it's warm, warmer when it's cold) than a lower quality goose down of the same weight. This is because a high quality goose down has more fibers, allowing it to insulate and breath better, compared to a lower quality down. A high quality goose down is also superior to modern synthetic fills, with one exception: Goose down (or any down, for that matter) does not perform well when wet.

Down Alternative Comforters: Marketed as having the warmth and comfort of down, mainly as an affordable alternative or for people that have allergy issues with down. These comforters are usually filled with synthetic fibers such as Primaloft®. While these synthetic fills certainly have their place, especially in outdoor gear that may be exposed to rain, there really is no equal to a high quality goose down comforter when it comes to warmth and soft fluffiness. As far as allergies to down; the vast majority of people that are "allergic" to down are actually allergic to the dust and dander that can be present in down that has not been properly cleaned. Plumeria Bay® goose down is meticulously cleaned, de-dusted and sterilized and is guaranteed to be hypoallergenic.

Quilts, often confused with comforters, have become the medium for some amazingly beautiful and elaborate creations that can take the artist months and even years to complete. Featuring designs that range from traditional to impressionistic to abstract to realistic and everything in between, often with intricate stitching and a wide array of fabric choices; the quilt as art is something to behold. These priceless creations will often be found displayed as wall hangings and will never even see a bed.

image of quilts at the local county fair

Quilts, at the local County Fair

It is interesting to note that "Eiderdowns" or "eider down quilts" were also terms used to describe a down duvet whether or not it was actually filled with eiderdown. This practice continues to this day, and it's not just Grandma referring to her precious "eiderdown". It is, unfortunately, fairly common for down products to be misrepresented by unscrupulous merchants, especially as high quality materials become more costly, and desirable.

A rose by any other name... No matter what you call your comforter: A duvet, continental quilt, eiderdown, doona, dyne, federbett, duvet insert or Mr. Fluffy, we think there's nothing quite like cuddling beneath a wonderful cloud of soft warm fluffy goodness, all protected, of course, by a duvet cover!

Related: Goose Down Duvets : Eiderdown Duvets : Duvet Covers : What is Goose Down : About Eiderdown