Design 101: What’s The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets??

Question: why are there SO many terms for the bed blanket? Is it a called a bed blanket? Oversized throw? Why is it sometimes called a coverlet or bedspread? And nowadays, I feel like even the term “quilt” which historically is a very specific type of blanket, has a “loose” meaning…

All these questions have been floating in my mind for a while now, so it was time to do some investigative research and really break down WHY all these things have different names and what their purposes really are. So if you’re wanting answers, you’ve come to the right place and we’re gonna learn this together.

BED BLANKET

DEFINITION: /bed·blang·kuht/ A large blanket designed to go at the end of your bed and on top of the duvet. Size-wise, your bed blanket should be as wide as your duvet, if not a few inches smaller.

Design 101: What's The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets?? Best Children's Lighting & Home Decor Online Store
photo by veronica crawford | from: a bedroom update + how i feel about a tv in the bedroom

Bed blankets or oversized throws are probably the most common of the bunch, and they’re also usually the coziest. So if you’re looking for something to snuggle up with when you’re gettin cozy with some cocoa while watching The Bachelorette, a bed blanket is most definitely your best bet.

PSA: standard throws are not the same as bed blankets. EXTRA LARGE or OVERSIZED throws typically are. A standard throw is too small to cover the end of your bed and it looks awkward if you try to use it like a bed blanket (which I most definitely didn’t know until I started working here). There are, however, ways to use a throw on the end of a bed that’s not awkward. Here’s an example from Birdie’s nursery, styled to sell:

Design 101: What's The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets?? Best Children's Lighting & Home Decor Online Store
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: eliot’s room styled to sell

In this example, since there is already a “bed blanket” draped over the duvet at the bottom of the bed, throwing a standard throw on top of it just adds extra texture and in this case, color.

BEDSPREADS

DEFINITION: /bed·spred/ A bedspread is a thin blanket designed to go on top of a duvet or comforter, and generally spreads the entire length and width of your duvet –– which makes sense considering its name.

Design 101: What's The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets?? Best Children's Lighting & Home Decor Online Store
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house reveal: our calm scandinavian master bedroom

So basically a bedspread is the biggest of the bunch. It’s usually as big as your duvet in size, but is MUCH thinner. This is a great option if you want colorful bedding but with little commitment. Also since this can cover the whole bed, I think this is a PERFECT option for people that want white bedding but have dogs, pets, or children that will somehow find a way to dirty it up. It’s also a great option if you want a blanket at the end of your bed but are a hot sleeper (like me) and don’t want something too thick.

COVERLETS

DEFINITION: /kəv·ər·lət/ A coverlet is generally the same thickness as a bedspread (so it’s pretty thin) but it’s designed to either go in between your top sheet and duvet, or on top of your duvet. Sizing wise, it’s not as big as a bedspread, and is closer in size to a blanket, quilt, or oversized throw. Its purpose is to double up if you need a little extra warmth, but not too much warmth.

Design 101: What's The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets?? Best Children's Lighting & Home Decor Online Store
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: reveal: a refresh of the kids room in the mountain house

QUILTS

DEFINITION: /kwilt/ A quilt is the same as a coverlet or blanket in size, but generally has an extra layer inside, making it thicker and thus serves the purpose of providing A LOT of extra warmth (not just a little). Quilts are also designed to go either in between your top sheet and duvet, or on top of your duvet. Quilts also typically have a stitched, well, quilted, pattern whereas a coverlet can be any texture or pattern.

Design 101: What's The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets?? Best Children's Lighting & Home Decor Online Store
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: target’s new threshold collection 2019

Hot Tip

Layer, layer, layer! Mix and match quilts, blankets, coverlets, bedspreads, and even standard sized throws. Double the blanket = double the fun.

So in conclusion, a lot of it is about sizing…so a standard throw is small (too small for the end of a bed), so opt for a bed blanket, quilt, coverlet or beadspread instead. They’re all generally around the same size, except the bedspread, which is large enough to cover your whole bed. They can vary in thickness but bedspreads and coverlets are generally thinner than quilts or blankets. Quilts are (obviously) quilted and blankets can typically have the most texture out of the bunch (think pom poms, embroidery, fuzzy sherpa goodness, they can really have the works).

Then coverlets and quilts are the two that can be placed in between your top sheet and duvet OR on top of your duvet, so they’re typically a little stiffer than a bed blanket or bedspread, which are strictly intended to go on top of your duvet.

If you want more info on how to make your bed, let me direct you toward this post: Our Five Best Bed Making Formulas. Because hey, I didn’t know how to make my bed “the right way” until about a year ago.

And of course, we wouldn’t leave you without some shoppable options so you can implement this in your own home. ENJOY!

Design 101: What's The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets?? Best Children's Lighting & Home Decor Online Store
Design 101: What's The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets?? 9

1. Channel Stitch Velvet Quilt | 2. Winter + Summer Cotton Coverlet | 3. Baywood Quilt | 4. Striped Linen Quilt | 5. Hydrus Black and White Blanket | 6. Chunky Knit Bed Blanket  |7. Handwoven Dorado Blanket | 8. Rahim Navy Tasseled Bed Blanket | 9. Linen Quilt | 10. Candlewick Blanket | 11. Houndstooth Bed Blanket Black/White | 12. Miramar Organic Waffle Blanket

Design 101: What's The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets?? Best Children's Lighting & Home Decor Online Store
Design 101: What's The Difference Between Bed Blankets, Bedspreads, and Coverlets?? 10

1. Bubble Blue Coverlet | 2. Popcorn Grid Coverlet | 3. Bati Coverlet Natural | 4. Linoto Linen Coverlet | 5. Lush Velvet Linear Coverlet | 6. Vista Bedspread | 7. Amber Yellow Linen Bedspread | 8. Vintage Matelasse Coverlet | 9. Ruffle Skirt Bedspread Set | 10. Afar Coverlet | 11. Waffle Linen Bedspread | 12. Mitchell Coverlet Set

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: “Mountain House Reveal (Yes, Another One!): The Coziest Upstairs Guest “Bunk” Bedroom” | Styled by Emily Edith Bowser and Julie Rose

Fin Mark

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