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What Is the Difference Between a Duvet & a Quilt?

Updated July 19, 2017

Bedding comes in a variety of styles. It is easy to be confused by the names for particular styles of bedding. Two items often referred to interchangeably are duvets and quilts.

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What is a quilt

Quilts are made of a top, batting and a back. Most tops are pieced or appliqued from a variety of fabrics to be aesthetically pleasing. The three layers are held together by stitches which creates a secondary design.

Using a quilt

Quilts are used with regular bedding such as sheets and blankets. Since most quilts are made from cotton materials they tend to breathe and are warm in cold weather and cool when it's warm.

What is a duvet

Duvets are soft fabric bags that are traditionally filled with down. The outer fabric can be cotton or silk, any fabric soft to the touch will work. The down traditionally comes from the Eider duck.

Using a duvet

Duvets are used as a sole bed cover. The down is sufficient to maintain warmth.


Duvets developed in Europe and have spread around the world. Early examples of quilts have been found in the Orient but it is thought that they began as the undergarment worn with armour. Early examples have also been found in Italy.


Owning or making a quilt is enjoying a resurgence in popularity around the world. They have also become regarded as pieces of art. Duvets adapt to any redecorating scheme by simply changing the outer covering.

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