We spend a third of our lives in our bed, so it’s worth dedicating some time to choosing your covers. We suggest starting with a duvet—the most versatile piece of bedding you can buy. Comfortable, cozy, and easy to clean, a duvet can be a centerpiece of a bed’s look, easily adaptable to any season or style, and a sturdy foundation to support layers of beautiful bedding.
Duvets vs Comforters
Essentially a fluffier quilt or comforter, a duvet is similarly filled with down or a down alternative but differs in that it requires a cover. Herein lies the advantage of a duvet—its flexibility. A cover not only protects your duvet from wear, tear, and spills, but also lets you change your style in seconds. Go from winter festiveness to cool spring freshness just by swapping your duvet cover.
"A duvet can add fullness and make a bed feel like a luxurious cloud," says Keren Richter, one half of the Brooklyn-based husband/wife team behind White Arrow Interiors. "It’s easy to mix and match duvet covers and similarly easy to swap out the inserts depending on the season and your warmth needs. They’re also easy to wash since you only need to launder the cover."
A duvet can cost anywhere from $150 to over $600, says Richter, depending on the fabric quality, brand, and means of production. "Hand block–printed fabric, embroidery, and more luxurious materials can drive the price," she says. Size also factors in, of course.
If you skimp on this budget item, you’re mainly sacrificing durability. "A high-quality duvet should just get better the more you wash it. A lesser-quality duvet will noticeably deteriorate over time," says Daisy Finley, designer and manager at Fritz Porter Design Collective in Charleston, South Carolina. "It might be fine for your guest bedroom that gets used and washed a few times a year, but for your primary bed set, step it up a notch. The marginal difference in price will give you so much more long-term enjoyment."
Duvet Fill and Cover Materials
There’s not a huge price range in the duvet space, especially when it comes to the insert itself. You’ll pay more for better-quality fill—down (insulating bird plumage) and down alternatives (synthetic rayon or polyester) are the most common options, with down being the more expensive. However, be sure to research if the down is ethically sourced, as the process often includes force-feeding and live-plucking of ducks or geese.
And more for more fill, should you want a warmer or cooler duvet: a higher fill (indicated by fill power ranging from 500 to 800) gets you more insulation; lower fill will be better suited for warmer climates.
How the insert is constructed is the key feature to look for here. Higher-end duvet inserts use baffle box construction to keep the fill in place and give it room to circulate. A thin strip of fabric is sewn between the two covers, creating 3D, box-shaped pockets that distribute the fill evenly.
Lower-quality inserts generally use the sewn-through method, where the two sides are sewn together to leave pockets for the fill. The advantages of baffle box are more loft, better durability, and more consistent warmth, with sewn-through being a better budget option.
When it comes to choosing the duvet cover, there are more things to consider, including material, design, and durability. "Look for good-quality material with a well-made zipper or buttons," says Richter.
Cotton is the most popular choice with linen, silk, polyester, and blends being other options. Bear in mind that you don’t need a top sheet if you have a duvet, so if you are going without, make sure you like the feel of the material.
"I'm in the forgo-the-top-sheet camp," says Jessy Moss of Jessy Moss Design. "I don’t really feel it’s necessary with a duvet cover. The top sheet strikes me as too trad and tangly, so I just don’t use one."
"Material drives both the feel and the price," continues Richter. "Cotton is most commonly used and is low-maintenance, while polyester/cotton blends are more fade- and wrinkle-resistant. We love the casual look of linen and its feel. Percale is better for a more tailored appearance."
Moss is a percale advocate. "For bed linens, they should be 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton (or Pima in the US)," she says. "I prefer percale over sateen." Percale (pronounced pur-keil) and sateen are differentiated by their weave: the former’s one-yarn-over, one-yarn-under weave yields a matte, crisp finish while the latter’s one-yarn-under, three-yarn-over weave results in a silky sheen.
As with sheets, thread count—the number of threads woven per square inch—is a consideration. "Look for 300 thread count or higher for durability and comfort," says Finley. "And make sure it’s machine washable—no one has time to hand wash or dry clean their bedding."
For designer Sarah Latham, principal at Latham Interiors in Ketchum, Idaho, organic is a must. "People want to know what they are sleeping on as much as what they are eating," she says. "We want beautiful, natural products that we can rest easy in."
"Inflated thread counts and low-quality (such as polyester) materials with unnecessary toxins affect your health in some way," explains Latham. "I want to know that I’m going to be sleeping in something that isn’t going to get me sick over time, thanks to unnecessary chemicals, and that it comes from high-quality materials like 100% cotton or linen, non-GMO, certified-raw and fair-trade."
Layering With Duvets
Design is highly personal, and in a bedroom, sometimes simple is best. "I tend not to use the bed linens as an opportunity for a design statement," says Moss. "I pretty much always spec white unless a shot of pattern or color is strongly desired by the client."
Richter likes to use a white duvet as a foundational element. "We love to use an all-white duvet in conjunction with accent quilts, statement sheets, and with a mix of patterned or colored pillows," she says. "White bedding offers a perfect canvas for layering." Coverlets are a recent trend she’s observed, forgoing the mix of pillows and layered quilts in favor of a minimalist look.
Details are a simple, elegant way to make your duvet stand out without being a focal point. "A delicate hand stitching or a subtle, textured pattern can elevate an otherwise basic duvet to the next level without breaking the bank," says Finley. "It's those little details that separate a well thought-out design from something more run-of-the-mill."
Save ($200 or Less)
A decent-quality, inexpensive duvet can be had for less than $200. Moss recommends Amazon, where she scored a 1,200-thread count percale duvet for $139. Latham recommends Target, where prices are as low as $50.
Emily Henderson, a style and design blogger, agrees: "For an affordable and beautiful linen comforter, I love, love Target’s Lightweight Linen Comforter," she says. "It's the perfect add on for those cooler nights when all you want is to be warm and comfortable."
Richter’s go-to budget-friendly options include West Elm, Zara Home, and Etsy ("Lots of good linen options on there!"). The downsides here are lower-quality materials and likely a shorter lifespan.
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Pricing roughly doubles in this next category to fall between $300 and $600. "A good-quality duvet should last up to 15 years," says Latham, so spending more gets you longevity.
It also gets you better-quality fabric, more unique prints, and the option of luxurious materials and higher thread count, says Richter. "They’ll also have nicer buttons or closures, and small details to keep the duvet secured in place."
She recommends duvets from Parachute, Restoration Hardware, Serena and Lily, Hawkins New York and Kerry Cassill, as well as Coyuchi.
"I have tried a ton of duvet covers in my day—both affordable and expensive—and Brooklinen’s Classic Duvet Cover is my all-time favorite," says Henderson of the $119 cover—the insert starts at $300 for a queen size. "It’s a very crisp, yet soft, percale, and it’s truly the only one I want on my bed."
Finley is a big fan of Bovi, which falls in the $350 to $550 price range. "They have great elegant and timeless basics and are committed to making their bedding premium-quality," she says. "Everything is made from natural fibers with impeccable attention to detail."
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Coyuchi is universally loved by all our experts, and with a wide range of prices, it can fit in any of the three categories. "I personally use it on my bed," says Finley. "It is all made from organic, natural fibers that are sustainably processed without harsh chemicals, and they have a great range of price points."
Other high-quality options recommended include John Robshaw, Sferra, Hill House Home, and Peacock Alley. "For a hotel-like atmosphere, bedding goes a long way," says Richter. "There’s nothing better than feeling like you’re sinking into a cloud. Well-made bedding will last a long time!"
Finley and Latham agree, however, that Matouk is the gold standard. "The design and quality are impeccable," says Finley. "But you will definitely pay for it—$600 to $900."
Ultimately, the decision to spend, save, or splurge on a duvet comes down to how tough you are on your bedding, and just how important it is to you to feel cocooned in luxury when it’s time to grab some shut-eye.
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