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Coverlet vs. quilt

Coverlets and quilts: What's the difference?

With so many bedding options available, it can be tricky to know what to go for. If you like a traditional bedding setup, you'll probably want to layer a quilt or coverlet over a top sheet. So what is the difference between a coverlet and a quilt, and which do you need?

A quilt is a multilayered type of bedding with a filling inside for warmth, while a coverlet is a thin single-layer type of bedding for layering, decoration or use on warm nights.


A coverlet is a single-layer bed covering traditionally made from woven materials, but isn't necessarily woven today. The main difference between a coverlet and a quilt is that a coverlet doesn't have multiple layers or a filling. Coverlets are hemmed around the outside to keep the edges neat.

As coverlets are thin, they're great for layering or use as decorative throws. Most coverlets cost between $30-$75.

Coverlet pros

  • Coverlets are great for use in warmer weather. A coverlet on top of a sheet is just right for nights when a sheet alone isn't warm enough but a quilt or duvet may be too hot.
  • In general, coverlets are more affordably priced than quilts, which is great for buyers on a budget.
  • If you live somewhere where temperatures fluctuate, it makes sense to sleep under several thinner layers you can easily add or remove rather than under one thick item of bedding.
  • Since coverlets are thin and drape nicely, they're great for decorative use over the top of a quilt, comforter or duvet, even if you ultimately take it off at night and don't sleep under it.

Coverlet cons

  • Coverlets have hemmed edges, so they aren't reversible; you can only use them one way up.
  • If you're looking for warm bedding to sleep under, coverlets don't fit the bill.

Best coverlets

Mellanni Bedspread Coverlet Set

This soft microfiber coverlet has an attractive embossed pattern and is available in a range of colors. It comes with two matching pillow shams to complete the look.

Sold by Amazon

Threadmill Home Linen Queen Coverlet

Made from 100% cotton, this coverlet is lightweight, breathable and an excellent choice for anyone who prefers to stick to natural fibers. Its simple geometric pattern won't go out of style anytime soon.

Sold by Amazon

Fancy Collection Luxury Bedspread Coverlet

Available in a wide range of colors with matching pillow shams, there's an option here to suit most buyers. It's made from a soft polyester microfiber with an embossed design.

Sold by Amazon


A quilt is a piece of bedding consisting of two layers of fabric stitched together with batting in between. In modern quilts, this batting or filling usually is polyester hollowfibre. They're often colorful or feature stylish prints, usually with different designs on each side.

Quilts are lighter than comforters or duvets but offer more warmth than coverlets. You can place one over a flat sheet or layer them on cooler nights. Quilts can cost $50-$250 depending on the size, brand and quality. For more information, check out the full guide to quilt sets at BestReviews.

Quilt pros

  • Quilts are warmer than coverlets, which is ideal for cooler nights when a coverlet and a sheet won't be enough to keep you warm, but they aren't so thick that they're only suitable for winter use.
  • Since quilts are double-sided, they're reversible and often have different colors or prints on each side so you can alternate when you want a change.
  • Although sizes vary between manufacturers, quilts often are slightly larger than coverlets and designed to drape all the way down the sides of the bed so they almost touch the floor.
  • Quilts are stitched through to keep their filling in place and can feature attractive stitching patterns that add to the overall visual appeal.

Quilt cons

  • Some large quilts are too big and padded for machine washing at home, so you sometimes need to wash them at a launderette/laundromat.
  • Quilts generally are too warm to use during the summer, so you need to find a suitable place to store them during a good chunk of the year.

Best quilts

Justina Blakeney Prosperity Quilt Set

The black-and-white geometric print of this quilt stands out and works well with a variety of decorative styles, while you can fold the bright-yellow reverse side over for a pop of color. It's available in queen or king sizes, and comes with two pillow shams in a matching black-and-white print.

Sold by Amazon

Bee & Willow Terra Spa 3-Piece Reversible King Quilt Set 

With an elaborate yet muted floral design on one side and a plain gray fabric on the reverse, this is an attractive and versatile quilt. Choose to go full floral or have the gray side facing up with a turndown for just a hint of the floral pattern.

Sold by Bed Bath and Beyond

Eddie Bauer Home Fairview Collection Lightweight Quilt 

A stylish quilt with a classic plaid on one side and a patchwork effect on the other, it comes with matching pillow shams that also are reversible.

Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond

Should you get a coverlet or a quilt?

Coverlets are great for use in warm weather or for layering with blankets, comforters, quilts or duvets when temperatures drop. Quilts have some filling to them, so they should see you through a good chunk of the year without any additional layers; it's only when the mercury really falls that you'll need extra layers. You may decide you want both a coverlet and a quilt, or one of the two plus some other types of bedding for layering.


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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