History and Evolution of Duvets Quilts and Comforters

Duvet Quilt Comforter

As humans, we have always been fascinated with the idea of comfort and warmth. Throughout history, our ancestors have experimented with various materials and techniques to create bedding that would not only keep them warm, but also offer comfort and protection. One such innovation was the creation of duvets and quilts, which have been around for centuries and continue to be popular to this day. Read on as we take a journey through the history of duvets and quilts and explore their evolution from ancient times to modern-day comfort.

Difference between Duvets and Quilts

Before we delve into the history of duvets and quilts, let’s first understand what they are. In the US, a duvet is typically referred to as a comforter or quilt, while in Australia, it’s called a Doona.

If you’re like most people, you might use the terms ‘duvet’ and ‘comforter’ interchangeably. However, these bedding items are actually quite different.

Should I buy a comforter or a duvet? (EXPLAINED)

What is a Duvet?

A duvet is essentially a soft flat bag filled with a range of materials, including down, feathers, wool, cotton, silk, or synthetic alternatives. Its main purpose is to provide warmth and comfort while you sleep. Unlike a comforter, which is typically one piece of bedding, a duvet is designed to be used with a removable cover. This cover can be easily washed or swapped out for a new one, making it an excellent choice for those who like to switch up their bedding style regularly.

What is a Comforter?

In the US, the term ‘comforter’ is used to refer to a thick, fluffy blanket that’s designed to be used alone, without a cover. Comforters are usually filled with synthetic materials, such as polyester, making them more affordable than duvets. While they provide some warmth, comforters are generally less insulating than duvets, and they can be more challenging to clean.

Early History of Duvets and Quilts

The use of duvets and quilts can be traced back to ancient times. In Europe, duvets were used as early as the 14th century, when they were filled with feathers and used to keep soldiers warm during the winter months. Similarly, quilts were used in China as early as the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). These early duvets and quilts were often made of silk or wool and were used primarily by the wealthy.

Evolution of Duvets and Quilts in Europe

During the 17th century, the use of duvets and quilts became more widespread in Europe. They were no longer restricted to the wealthy and were instead used by people of all social classes. At this time, duvets were filled with feathers, while quilts were filled with wool or cotton.

In the 18th century, the production of duvets and quilts became more industrialized, and they were no longer made by hand. This led to a decrease in their cost, making them more affordable for the public. Duvets became increasingly popular in Northern Europe, where they provided much-needed warmth during the cold winter months.

The Rise of Quilting in America

The History of Quilting in Four Minutes

In America, quilting became popular during the 19th century. Women would gather together to make quilts, often as a social activity. Quilts became a way to tell stories and pass down family history. They were often made from scraps of fabric and were decorated with intricate designs and patterns.

During the Civil War, quilts were used to provide comfort to soldiers. They were often made by women’s groups and were sent to soldiers in the field. These quilts were known as “Soldiers’ Quilts” and were made to withstand harsh conditions.

Modern-Day Duvets and Quilts

Today, duvets and quilts are widely used and are available in a variety of materials and designs. Duvets are often filled with down, feathers, or synthetic fibres and are covered with a removable duvet cover. Quilts are still popular and are often used as decorative items in homes.

In recent years, there has been a trend towards using eco-friendly materials in the production of duvets and quilts. This has led to the use of materials such as bamboo, organic cotton, and recycled fibres. These materials offer a more sustainable and eco-friendly option for those who are conscious about the environment.

Benefits of Duvets and Quilts

Duvets and quilts offer a range of benefits beyond just warmth and comfort. They are easy to clean and maintain, as the duvet covers can be removed and washed. Additionally, duvets and quilts can be used year-round, as they come in different thicknesses and materials suitable for various seasons.

Another advantage of duvets and quilts is that they can be used to add style and personality to a bedroom. With so many designs and patterns available, they can be used to create a unique look and feel in a room.

Why Choose a Duvet?

Duvets are highly versatile and offer several benefits over traditional comforters. Firstly, they provide superior warmth and insulation, thanks to their fluffy filling. Additionally, they’re incredibly lightweight, making them ideal for use year-round. Duvets are also highly customizable, allowing you to change the cover to suit your mood or decor.

Why Choose a Comforter?

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that doesn’t require a separate cover, a comforter might be right for you. They come in a range of styles and designs, making it easy to find one that matches your decor. Comforters are also incredibly easy to use – simply throw them on your bed, and you’re good to go!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is the difference between a duvet and a comforter?

A. A duvet is a soft, flat bag filled with down, feathers, or synthetic fibres, which is used as a blanket. It is typically covered with a removable duvet cover, which can be easily washed. A comforter, on the other hand, is a thick, fluffy blanket that is usually made of cotton or synthetic fibres and is not covered with a removable cover.

Q. Can I use a duvet without a cover?

A. While it is possible to use a duvet without a cover, it is not recommended as it can lead to damage to the duvet itself. Additionally, using a cover makes it easier to keep the duvet clean and hygienic.

Q. Are duvets and quilts suitable for people with allergies?

A. Yes, there are hypoallergenic options available for both duvets and quilts. These are typically made from synthetic fibres or materials that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions.

Q. What is the best way to care for a duvet or quilt?

A. Most duvets and quilts can be machine washed, although it is important to follow the care instructions provided. Duvet covers and quilt covers should be washed more frequently than the duvet or quilt itself.

Q. Can duvets and quilts be used in warm weather?

A. Yes, duvets and quilts come in different thicknesses and materials suitable for various seasons, making them versatile bedding options that can be used year-round.


In conclusion, the history of duvets and quilts is a testament to our ongoing search for comfort and warmth. From their origins in ancient times to their modern-day popularity, they have evolved and adapted to meet the changing needs and preferences of people. With their many benefits and versatility, they are sure to remain a popular choice for bedding for years to come.