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What is a Duvet?

A duvet, pronounced "due-vay", is a comforter filled with down. The word "duvet", derived from Old French, means "down" and has been used to describe a down filled comforter for many hundreds of years, beginning in Europe. These days many people, especially here in the U.S., will refer to a duvet cover as a duvet, which can lead to some occasional confusion.

"Hello, I'd like a duvet." "Sure, happy to help. What size do you need?" "Oh, king size I think." "Great, do you know what warmth level you'd like?" Silent pause, then; "What?" That's usually our clue to ask; "Perhaps I misunderstood? Do you need a duvet, or a duvet cover?" So...

A Duvet is a Down Comforter

 This down comforter is a duvet
A Plumeria Bay® duvet, or down comforter

A Duvet Cover Is...

A Duvet Cover is the cover that slips over the duvet, much like a pillow case on a pillow.

A duvet inside a duvet cover
Duvet covers and matching/coordinating bed linens are available in a wide variety of color and design options.

Why Use A Duvet Cover?

A duvet cover helps to protect your pristine white goose down comforter from stains, fabric yellowing from body oils, and general wear and tear. That practical consideration aside, a duvet cover is a great way to add color and design to your bedroom.

Duvet, Down Comforter, Blanket, Quilt, Doona, Federbett, Fluffy Goodness

Duvets have been keeping people warm for centuries, beginning in rural Europe, when most everyone slept on hay, or perhaps a featherbed if they were of some means. Duvets and featherbeds were often filled with whatever kind of feathers and down, fowl or fair, that happened to be available. These days a duvet is much more than a rough cloth bag filled with the inedible portions of last nights supper! Luxuriously soft down proof fabrics, highly processed, super clean, de-dusted and sanitized white goose down and state of the art sealed baffled box construction result in a comforter that will stay fluffy and warm for many years to come.

The modern duvet is 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 duvet and about Plumeria Bay® duvets in particular.

A Quilt, in it's most basic form, is a comforter or quilted blanket that is usually filled with cotton or a synthetic batting such as Primaloft®, and sewn through from top to bottom. These quilts have also 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

A rose by any other name...

No matter what you call your comforter: A duvet, blanket, continental quilt, 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.

How To Use A Duvet Cover

Putting a duvet cover on your duvet, or comforter, 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 (where the zipper or buttons are) 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. If you have ties on your duvet cover (and your duvet has corner loops, like ours do), you'll want to roll the duvet cover back all the way so that the ties are accessible.

4: Place the two corners of the comforter into the corresponding corners of the duvet cover, at the head of the bed. If you have ties, this is the time to tie them to the top corner loops on the comforter. Once you have the ties fastened, 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, fasten the bottom ties and button the buttons or zip the zipper closed. Hold 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.

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 down comforter.

A duvet cover also helps to prolong the life of your comforter 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 serves perfectly as a top sheet. Others prefer using a top sheet in conjunction with the duvet cover. Either way is fine, it's just a matter of personal preference.

Duvet covers are available in a wide variety of fabric choices; cotton, linen, silk and more. A good quality lightweight cotton duvet cover is hard to beat for comfort and ease of care. Here's three choices in a wide variety of solid colors that we can wholeheartedly recommend: St. Geneve Capri Sateen, Sferra Celeste Percale, and the Schlossberg Noblesse Sateen. For those that prefer organic cotton, the St. Geneve Nico Organic Cotton Percale is really quite nice. And, for those seeking the very best of the best when it comes to lightweight & soft duvet covers; Sferra Giza 45 Percale.

Cotton Percale fabrics are generally lighter and cooler, compared to cotton Sateen fabrics. Learn more about cotton Sateen and Percale fabrics.

Duvet covers come with either button or zipper closures. We like a good nylon zipper closure for convenience (the 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. :)

A little mystified by other bedding terms like pillow shams and bed skirts? Here's our guide to to all that stuff and what makes a well dressed bed.

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