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Coverlet or Quilt: Which Bedding Is Right for You?

In modern home design, the difference between coverlets and quilts is easy to overlook. However, there are a few key characteristics that offset one from the other—and can ultimately make or break the look you're going for.

Not sure which one is right for you? Start by looking at the ways coverlets and quilts are similar, and go from there.


Plaid Coverlet Set Sawyer Mill Farmhouse Quilt

Coverlet vs Quilt

  • Coverlets and quilts are shorter bed coverings, generally only reaching the mattress
  • These can be sold individually (without shams or a bedskirt) or in sets that include the main bed covering, a bedskirt, and shams
  • Quilts and coverlets can be layered over a bedspread, comforter, or duvet (or used on their own)



  • Traditionally made of multiple pieces of fabric stitched together (whole cloth quilts are also an option)
  • Always have fiberfill (or batting) between two layers of fabric that are stitched together
  • Often feature elaborate designs like patchwork or florals in multiple colors
Patchwork Quilt

Why might you want to decorate with a quilt instead of a coverlet?

Quilts immediately convey a rustic sensibility or a quaint cottage vibe. They set a vintage tone for shabby chic, modern farmhouse, and a variety of other decorating styles. Their inner layer of fiberfill makes quilts perfect for layering in the winter, when a comforter alone just won't cut it.

Moreover, the artistic nature of quilts means you can display them on a blanket rack or use them in more unconventional ways, like as a tablecloth or a piece of wall art. Quilts offer a freedom of expression that other types of bedding seldom do.


  • Are generally two large pieces of fabric stitched together and are not fashioned from multiple smaller pieces
  • May or may not have fill. Matelasse coverlets feature a single fabric layer with no batting inside
  • Often feature solid colors or modern designs, like stripes or color blocks in two or three shades
William and Mary II Woven Matelasse Coverlet from Colonial Williamsburg

Why decorate with a coverlet instead of a quilt?

Coverlets are lightweight and breezy, especially when you go with matelasse. They're a godsend in stuffy rooms or warmer climates, where a comforter or bedspread is simply too hot.

With solid colors like plum, teal, or melon, coverlets bring a trendy vibe to a studio apartment or an eclectic bedroom. Accessorize with patterned pillows for visual interest, or choose a coverlet with painterly brushstrokes for a bold focal point.