Coverlet vs. Quilt: What’s the Difference?

Whether a quilt or coverlet is the better option when choosing comfortable bedding comes down to decor style and sleep preference. These similar bedding pieces are often used as lightweight, lovely layers in any season, and understanding the key differences between a quilt and coverlet can help you decide which to purchase.

Quilts and Coverlets Are Made Differently

When compared to comforters, quilts and coverlets are thinner and they’re not filled with down or down alternative. Both are lightweight options for warm weather and make good extra layers during cool months and shoulder seasons; the primary difference between them is how they’re constructed. 

What Is a Quilt?

A quilt is a traditional bedding item constructed with two outer layers of fabric stitched over an inner layer of batting. Quilts come in a variety of styles, from understated designs to elaborately embellished creations with appliqué, decorative stitching, or embroidered accents. There are two main types of quilt: 

  • Patchwork or pieced-style quilts are constructed with multiple small fabric shapes to create a larger pattern or design.
  • Wholecloth quilts feature a single, complete length of fabric for the topmost layer.

What Is a Coverlet?

A coverlet, also referred to as a ‘bedspread,’ is a lightweight blanket made to use as a polished top bedding layer. Because it is made without the inner layer of batting, a coverlet is thinner than a quilt and can be an ideal lightweight option to top the bed in the summer or to layer beneath a comforter or duvet in cooler months. A coverlet may also be folded and placed at the foot of the bed for an element of style and an easy-to-reach extra layer. 

Which Is Better, a Quilt or Coverlet?

You really can’t go wrong with either option: Both quilts and coverlets bring warmth and personality to the room. If you love to layer your bedding, either style will serve as a gorgeous bed topper. After you’ve chosen sheets and mid-layers, a quilt or coverlet provides the finishing touch that brings it all together.  

How to Choose Between a Quilt and a Coverlet

Consider these points when choosing between quilts and coverlets for your perfect bedding layer: 

woman sleeping on coverlet
  • Quilts are thicker and thus often slightly warmer than coverlets, because they’re made with two layers of fabric stitched around inner batting. 
  • Both quilts and coverlets can serve as a top bedding layer, but also work wonderfully beneath comforters and blankets for extra warmth. 
  • Many of our quilts and coverlets are available with matching shams to complete the look of your bedding, and our coverlet collections may also include matching bed skirts. 
  • Both quilts and coverlets can be laundered seasonally, or more often if necessary, but pieced quilts may be more delicate than coverlets due to the construction techniques. 

If you can’t decide between a quilt and coverlet, layer them both. In warm summer weather, choose a quilt to top your bed and leave a folded coverlet at its foot, or vice versa. This way, if you get cool in the middle of the night, you have an extra layer within easy reach. During the spring and fall, top your sheets with a coverlet, and then add a quilt above the comforter for extra warmth.  

Whether you choose a quilt or coverlet is a matter of style preference and desired warmth level. Both bedding pieces offer similar benefits when used as an extra layer in shoulder seasons or as a primary layer when the weather is warm. Explore our other Guides for more bedding tips and ideas.