If you've always been unclear about the difference between a bedspread and a coverlet, you're not alone. They may sound similar, but believe it or not, there are stark differences to consider before you plan to upgrade your bedding. Your bedroom's design, the type of bed, and even the climate you live in have an effect on which of these bed coverings is best for you.
We invited , founder and designer behind interior furnishings companies including , and , Caitlin Murray, principal designer at Los Angeles-based design firm , and Chicago-based interior designer , to provide some clarity. Read on for their expert tips for deciding between the two bedding options.
What Is a Bedspread?
This elegant white bedspread by Pine Cone Hill sweeps the floor of an equally sophisticated bedroom, lending a touch of traditional charm to the space.
When it comes to bedspreads, think traditional. "A bedspread is an all-encompassing piece that extends all the way to the ground," says Selke. "Bedspreads tend to be more old-fashioned than coverlets."
Because bedspreads are typically intended for an elegant, traditional bedroom, you may be more likely to encounter prints when you're shopping for a bedspread than a coverlet. "Since bedspreads are a little more traditional, and maybe even more shabby chic, they often come with some sort of pattern or print on them," says Murray. "In that case, you need to consider the rest of the room. Another pattern or print may compete."
Even though a bedspread reaches all the way to the ground, don't assume that means you can skip a bedskirt."If you pull the bed spread back, you're still going to see that ugly part of the bed," says Selke. "It's always a more finished look to address your underpinnings with a bed skirt."
What Is a Coverlet?
A neutral coverlet by Annie Selke Luxe graces the top of a matching bedskirt, echoing the simple elegance found throughout the rest of the room.
For a more modern bedroom, opt for a coverlet. "A coverlet only goes to the top of your bed skirt," says Selke. "It's a better choice for a modern space. And while a more traditional bedroom might have a dust ruffle to match, in a modern bedroom with a coverlet, you might find a flat tailored bedskirt that doesn't draw the eye."
Coverlets are also an ideal choice if you're looking for versatile bedding. "A coverlet is something you can use in a lot of different ways as an extension to your bed," says Murray. "They can be folded up and look great at the end of the bed as an accent, whereas a bedspread is a little bigger and you can't switch up the design that much."
A faux fur coverlet in an eclectic room design by Donna Mondi.
Coverlets are typically made of cotton, linen, velvet or silk, but that doesn't mean that you're not allowed to experiment with other materials. "For a sexy surprise, I love to use faux fur with a satin lining," says Donna Mondi.
Coverlets work especially well with platform beds, says Selke. "With a platform bed, you can tuck sheets, a blanket, and a coverlet for a really sleek, contemporary look," says Selke.
In addition to platform beds, they're ideal for bed designs that boast statement legs. "Show off those legs with a simple coverlet tucked into a statement bed frame," says Mondi.
An understated coverlet keeps the focus on a statement bed frame.
They're also the perfect layering piece that can easily be tucked for an elegant look. "Layer on the decadence by using the coverlet as a lighter base that’s easier to keep tucked," says Mondi. "Save the duvet for the end of the bed where it has less chance of looking like a mess."
A coverlet can be paired with a blanket during colder months if you live in a seasonal climate. Arrange a sheet, blanket and coverlet when it's chilly, and in warmer months, dress the bed with just sheets and a coverlet.