What Is a Coverlet and How to Use It

September 18, 2023
Comfortable bedroom with light stylish interior
  • Wondering what is a coverlet bedding? It’s a lightweight bed cover that goes over the bed sheets up to the pillows.
  • Coverlets are lightweight, single-layer covers used on top of bedsheets.
  • Coverlets come in many designs, colors, and patterns you can easily incorporate in different home styles.
  • Woven and linen coverlets are the most popular styles among homeowners and interior designers.

Sprucing up our bedrooms is an activity most of us enjoy, especially when we have so many options to choose from. Ideally, we immediately find what we’re looking for and find the perfect place for it.

But, with so many options comes indecisiveness and, sometimes, misuse of our selections. A coverlet is one of the decor items that most people are unsure how to use. But what is a coverlet? Stay with us as we uncover the basics and details about coverlets to better understand what’s a coverlet and the difference between a coverlet and a bedspread.

What Is a Coverlet?

Coverlets are bedding items that fall somewhere between a quilt and a bedspread. They serve two main purposes and can be used in different ways to enhance a bed’s look (and feel). In a nutshell, a coverlet is a lightweight layer you can place on the bed between the duvet and sheet and use it as a blanket. Alternatively, it can be folded at the foot of the bed to add extra warmth or be a neat decorative element.

Traditionally, coverlets were made using a weaving technique known as matelassé. This technique creates a textured fabric that mimics quilting. Unlike quilts, coverlets are not quilted, which is why they are called coverlets. The absence of quilting makes them lighter and more suitable for layering or folding.

So, whether you prefer to use it as a cozy blanket-like layer on your bed or as an additional decorative touch, the coverlet offers a lightweight and stylish option for your bedding ensemble.

Minimalist interior of cozy bedroom in daylight

Definition and Basic Characteristics

The definition of coverlet best describes it as the top layer of the bed. Coverlets can be the same size as the bed or run slightly shorter. They come in many designs and sizes, so it’s practically effortless to choose a favorite.

Homeowners and interior designers love coverlets because they are:

  • Super lightweight
  • Easy to maintain
  • Great for redecorating
  • Not expensive
  • Perfect for summer

How Is a Coverlet Different From a Bedspread?

We use a bedspread to cover the entire bed, even the pillow, and down to the foot of the bed. Some bedspreads are designed with pockets to hold bedspread fillers for extra plush or warmth.

On the other hand, coverlets are significantly smaller and best used as bed toppers, hanging just over the box springs. When debating what is a coverlet vs. a bedspread, we’d say the first one leans more towards decoration and is lighter and shorter, while the latter serves functionality and is heavier and longer.

What Is the Difference Between a Coverlet and a Quilt?

In essence, there are three main distinctions between a coverlet and a quilt.

  • Function: We generally use quilts to stay warm and turn to coverlets to add an extra layer to a quilt or serve as an extra cover on top of bed sheets.
  • Material: Quilts are made of three layers, while coverlets have only one layer of fabric.
  • Maintenance: Coverlets are easier to care for and can be machine-washed, while quilts are better washed by hand to ensure they last.

What Types of Coverlet Fabrics are Available?

Typically, coverlets are made of cotton, polyester, and woven jacquard. However, you can find coverlets made of other fabrics, as well, since the design allows for fabric versatility. What’s important is that the fabric itself is lightweight and breathable.


Why Should You Choose a Coverlet?

If you need help introducing a novelty to your bedding without spending a fortune, a coverlet can be a great choice. These single-layer covers stylishly complement your bed during seasons when it’s too hot to use a duvet or a quilt.

Besides adding a touch of mellow decor to your bedroom, coverlets are easy to maintain, so you can easily wash them in a washing machine.

What are the Popular Coverlet Styles?

One of the greatest things about coverlets is that they come in many styles, with the most popular ones being:

  • woven coverlets
  • matelassé coverlets
  • embroidered coverlets
  • hand-stitched coverlets
  • patchwork coverlets
  • jacquard coverlets

How to Pick the Perfect Coverlet For Your Bed?

Finding the right coverlet for you can be easy if you know what to look for. A good coverlet is soft, lasts long, and is made of quality fabrics like linen or cotton. Picking a tightly woven coverlet means purchasing one more resistant to wear and tear.

Well-lit Bedroom

Creative Ways to Use Coverlets Around the House

Coverlets are the perfect bedroom decor where the existing furniture is minimalistic. Also, pastel coverlets add the right dose of color to a bedroom painted in neutral colors. If your bedroom isn’t supersized, adding a coverlet to a bed set can make the place warmer and more wholesome.

You can let your imagination run wild when styling coverlets. For one, you can throw it at the foot of the bed, creating an irregular form, or only cover one side of the bed’s end diagonally. Wondering what is a coverlet set? You can use it as decor in front of a fireplace, reading nooks, etc.


What is the purpose of a coverlet?

Coverlets are designed to offer an extra layer of warmth or serve as decorative elements.

What is the difference between a quilt and a coverlet?

Quilts are heavier and made of 3 layers of fabric while coverlets are lighter and only made of single-layer fabric.

Is a coverlet like a blanket?

It can take on the role of a blanket, although it’s better described as a bed cover over the bedsheets.

Can a coverlet be used alone?

Yes, you can use a coverlet as a standalone decor element to cover the bed up to the pillows.

How big should a coverlet be?

In essence, coverlets should not reach the floor. Ideally, it will only go as long as the sides of the box springs.

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