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What are Duvet Covers?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
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To answer the question, "What are duvet covers," one first has to answer, "What are duvets?" A duvet is a bag filled with down, feathers, wool or other natural stuffing to create a warm bed covering that takes the place of quilts and bedspreads. Duvet is the French word for down, as in down from birds. Duvets are rather like comforters, except that they have replaceable, washable covers - much like large pillowcases.

Duvet covers are useful because duvets usually cannot be washed. Water would ruin the stuffing. However, duvet covers can be laundered along with the sheets and pillowcases. This keeps the duvet fresh as well. Duvet covers button, zip or tie at one end to keep the cover secure.

A shopper can find duvet covers in nearly any store that sells bedding, or online. Duvet covers are bought, like other bedding, according to the size of the bed. A duvet fitting a queen-sized bed needs a queen-sized duvet cover, for instance.

Another advantage of duvet covers is that they are changeable. Some are even reversible, with coordinating patterns or colors, so the home owner can change the feel of the room without having to completely redecorate. Duvet covers may be made out of any material comforters are made of: cotton, rayon, silk blends, microfiber, suede, etc. They can be purchased as part of a bedding set, in some cases, along with sheets, pillowcases and a bedskirt, all in coordinating patterns.

The one issue with duvet covers is actually getting the things on the duvet. It can be tricky, especially with king-sized duvets. The easiest way is to spread the duvet flat on the bed, with the cover turned inside out and the bottom seam facing the bottom of the duvet. The person making the bed then puts her arms inside the cover, grasps the bottom corners of the cover and the bottom corners of the duvet and raises the duvet off the bed, allowing the cover to fall around the duvet. The person can then shake the cover in place over the duvet and secure it at the top.

Duvet covers vary in price, depending on materials, manufacturer and where they are purchased. They are priced starting at about US$45, and they go up from there. However, considering that they can be washed and replaced, they are worth the investment.

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Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at HomeQuestionsAnswered. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By bstella — On Apr 02, 2014

I used to have the same problems. Duvets are so hard to get in the duvet cover alone, especially on bigger beds! I found a company called Du-Zipp, and the problem was solved.

It is a system with the duvet and the duvet cover working together using zippers. Half the zipper is on the duvet and the other half is on the cover. You lay the cover inside out, put the duvet on top, zip the zippers together and flip it the right way out. Pull the four corners to straighten it and the duvet stays in place until it is time to wash your cover. No more fussing! I absolutely love it!

By anon343001 — On Jul 26, 2013

Where can I get a duvet cover with an opening side and bottom so that I can lay duvet on the cover and button it up? My shoulders are a bit weak and achy and I have to change several beds every week. Please help. I did hear an Indian lady had thought of the idea, but she was told they were already in production. SO where can I buy them? Thanks for your help.

By anon259169 — On Apr 05, 2012

Before even washing it, the material feels really soft, like the feel of the yummy cotton bedding my grandma used to have on her bed. I'm really impressed!

By anon233510 — On Dec 07, 2011

I have many doubts whether the duvet covers can be used as a cover.

By anon231230 — On Nov 23, 2011

I find it funny that Americans choose to wrestle with top sheets and regard duvet covers as just covers for protecting the comforter/duvet or for changing the look and use top sheets with them. In (northern) Europe, a duvet cover is a sheet, or a piece of sheeting, that is utility bedding rather than decorative. It is a sheet, so top sheets are not used with them.

In Finland (and I guess Scandinavia in general), duvet covers have holes for hands at the seam at the top of the cover: you can grab the comforter/insert through the openings and shake the duvet into place. I cannot understand why others don't put this feature into their covers but seem to love doing things the hard way.

By anon204376 — On Aug 09, 2011

Very beautifully created contents. Thanks for making me aware about duvet covers.

By anon121097 — On Oct 23, 2010

Duvet covers for children's rooms are a wonderful way to update their room without spending enormous amounts of money. A good, high quality duvet will also last for years, making it heirloom quality and one that can be appreciated through the generations.

A duvet cover for a child or teens bed is truly a wise investment.

By anon112334 — On Sep 19, 2010

you can make a duvet cover. you can put a piece of material in the inside corner of the duvet, and attach a large snap, and put the eye on the corner of the feather liner, or else you can use a hook and do the same thing. i put the large snaps on the outside, or once again you can use a hook and eye. they are really quite easy to make. i always put the snap end on the bottom of the bed. i do not want that end at my face. --lois

By anon99642 — On Jul 27, 2010

I think the buttons should go at the bottom of the bed, away from your head/face. Is this right? --Mary

By anon80972 — On Apr 29, 2010

I just bought a duvet and should the opening (ties) go on the bottom or top of the bed?

By anon74787 — On Apr 04, 2010

The higher quality duvets have a small loop at the bottom corners and the higher quality covers have the tie to tie them on. Then again, I've not used a duvet or cover in over 10 years. I'm thinking about going back to that - hopefully the quality and engineering are still well thought out!

By anon54109 — On Nov 27, 2009

I've used duvet covers for over 20 years in europe. Americans do it a bit backward here. The duvet cover should be made of a washable fabric that you can wash weekly, and you simply put it on your duvet and tuck the duvet under the bed where the buttons and opening are. You don't use a top sheet for the obvious reason that you are washing the duvet weekly anyhow. It also makes the bed up much faster and you don't have any twisted sheets, which is why I prefer a duvet cover. I hate top sheets.

I just wish they would make plain duvet covers that can be washed weekly in the large 110" sizes. Seems the ones I find that size are really made to be "comforters" which you don't wash weekly because the fabric has to be dry cleaned. Defeats the purpose.

By anon49173 — On Oct 18, 2009

I bought a nice one at JC Penney's.

By anon47640 — On Oct 06, 2009

We've used the same comforter for years, and changed the style by putting a duvet cover on it. It's great, and a Queen/Full and Queen sized duvet covers a queen size comforter no problem.

By cherinphx — On Apr 17, 2009

i would like to know if a duvet cover would work as a covering for a feather bed mattress topper? i don't like how the feather bed feels when it's under the sheets so i put it on top of the sheets. i would just like it to look a bit nicer.

By darla — On Jan 30, 2009

Hey Bob...IKEA has duvet covers that are open on the bottom and they are a lot cheaper than anybody else and stylish too!

By Craigee — On Dec 20, 2008

Do the button closures for duvet covers traditionally go on top or the bottom?

By anon17294 — On Aug 26, 2008

I got my duvet from Collection Etc that has open bottom and side slits. Really nice.

By ktjo — On Jun 02, 2008

Ohh..call me Bob! I, too, would like to know where to buy duvet covers with 'slots' in the top corners! Better yet, why can't the manufacturers put hidden zippers on all but the top end of the duvet cover? A king-size duvet and cover that measures 110x96"

offers a good tight fit (no sliding), but a miserable job ahead after laundering the cover. Wishful thinking perhaps - it took the bedlinen manufacturers about 5 years to begin making sheets that fit a 16-18" mattress..:( Perhaps having the covers custom made is the answer. There *is* at least one designer fabrics outlet that offers extra-wide fabric. In the meantime...sigh....:) kt

By olittlewood — On Dec 03, 2007

i say, lose the top sheet! streamline your bedmaking process and reduce your laundry load (and save the environment, one less sheet at a time). life's too short!

By anon5662 — On Dec 03, 2007

Are you supposed to use a top sheet with a duvet cover? I find it so much easier to make the bed without one. I launder the pillowcases and bottom sheet weekly.

By anon5617 — On Dec 01, 2007

I just bought a Ralph Lauren duvet cover that has two slots but a button up bottom.

By anon5364 — On Nov 22, 2007

how does one keep a duvet in place?

By warbogast — On Nov 01, 2007

I am confused, what slots are they talking about? I got one from and I did not notice slots, and the bottom was not open. I am wondering what is to keep the down comforter in place?

By anon4682 — On Oct 28, 2007

Duvets and duvet covers are the standard at least in northern Europe. In Scandinavian countries people do not use anything else, and almost all of the covers have two slots on top corners and open bottom.

I am Finnish and I am really puzzled with this funny American bedding with comforters and all.

By lamaestra — On Oct 05, 2007

It should be able to, since they're both standard sizes, but you might want to check the measurements just to make sure.

By anon4150 — On Oct 04, 2007

I would also like to know if a regular queen size comforter can be fitted inside a queen size duvet cover.

By Dayton — On Sep 24, 2007

That's a great idea! Save money and save resources by reusing old stuff and making it pretty again--good thinking!

The only consideration with that is to make sure you measure it carefully. Many down comforters come in standard sizes, so it's easy to buy a duvet cover for them, but you'll have to measure to make sure you end up with the right size.

Good luck!

By warbogast — On Sep 23, 2007

can an old comforter be used to fill a new duvet?

By anon3346 — On Aug 24, 2007

I bought a duvet set. It was a clearance item marked from 45.00 to 27.00! I am really knew at duvets that I didn't even know what I was buying at the time! So I guess I need to go buy the filling? How much are those?

By wallis — On Jun 21, 2007

Paragraph 5 refers to the difficulty of stuffing a king-size duvet into its cover. It didn't mention getting the duvet back in place when it's slipped away from the edge. I checked one hotel duvet cover (in the hotel) and found a 5-inch slot in each of the upper corners. And the bottom was completely open, with no buttons to fuss with. Perfect!

The catch: Where to buy one. Right now I'm about to take my existing one to a seamstress. I got tired of searching the internet. If someone knows where I can get a ready made cover with these slots and with a wide-open bottom, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Bob Hill

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at...
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