Can I Use a Duvet Cover as a Bedspread? The Ups and Downs

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On February 13th, 2024
Can I Use a Duvet Cover as a Bedspread? The Ups and Downs

Key Takeaways

  • Seasonal Bedding Tradition: Historically, bedding varied with the seasons, and using lighter bedspreads in warmer months was common before climate-controlled homes. Consider adapting your bedding to the season.
  • Repurposing Duvet Covers: You can use your duvet cover as a summer bedspread or even as mattress sheets. This allows for a seasonal switch without spending on new bedding. The benefits include easy removal and washing of the cover for a refreshed look.
  • Considerations and Alternatives: While using a duvet cover alone in summer is practical, it may lack the warmth and coziness of traditional bedding. Factors like fabric choice, fit, and personal preference should be considered. Alternatives such as lightweight quilts, woven bedspreads, and coverlets are suggested for a cooler and comfier sleep.

Sleeping in the summer heat can be pretty miserable. Of course, having air conditioning helps tremendously, but if you’re feeling hot when you go to bed, falling and staying asleep can be hard—especially if you’re a hot sleeper trying to still use a bulky comforter or duvet.

And as cozy as your thick, fluffy duvet may be, you probably don’t need that kind of weight in the warmer months. But why spend money buying something lighter, when you can use your favorite duvet cover as a summer bedspread? Just take off that outer layer as you pack your duvet away into the linen closet.

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Here’s what to know before deciding if using your duvet cover solo is the right move this summer.

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Use Your Duvet Cover as a Summer Bedspread

Thanks to our modern, climate-controlled homes, we tend to think of our bedding as being year-round—perhaps with the exception of flannel sheets—but this is a relatively recent mindset.

Before the days of central heat, or any type of air conditioning, the type of bedding you used depended on the season. Heavier quilts came out of storage when temperatures started to drop each fall, then switched out for lightweight bedspreads come spring.

In many climates, it’s still crucial to update bedding as part of a summer bedroom makeover.

Use Your Duvet Cover as Mattress Sheets

Another way to utilize your deconstructed duvet cover in the summer with or without the duvet is by replacing your fitted sheets and flat sheets with it. If you wish you had a little more substance to the bedding, setting it up as your sheet set instead might be the answer.

Do yourself a favor and conserve energy where you can by avoiding the messy task of fully re-sheeting your bed in the warmer months. Opt for shams and throw pillows to add contrast and style over the busy pattern perhaps already in place on your duvet cover.

The Benefits

Fortunately, if you’ve invested in a duvet and a cover (or two), you already have what you need to make a similar seasonal switch, updating a winter bedroom for warmer months. The key advantage? The ability to easily remove and wash the cover on its own when you use it solo.

Of course, the same is true when you use a duvet cover (without the insert) as a summer bedspread—you can toss it in the washer with the rest of your bedding whenever it needs a refresh.

Another benefit of repurposing your duvet cover as a warm weather bedspread ties into styling. When you picked out your duvet cover originally, you may have taken the rest of the room’s decor into consideration. So, if having a cohesive look is important to you, you can achieve it without having to search for a new lighter bedspread or quilt to coordinate with your space.

Considerations Before Going Cover-Only

While using a lightweight duvet cover instead of a warmer quilt or comforter makes plenty of sense for summer, the transition isn’t always seamless. There are a few factors to keep in mind before deciding if it’s the right solution for you.

If you tend to feel chilly even in warmer weather, a duvet cover on its own might be too breezy and lightweight to keep you cozy at night.

And if you use it without the duvet insert inside, you may find that it slips around on the mattress without anything to anchor it in place. Many duvet covers come with corner ties that can be used to secure the cover to the mattress without an insert, though you may need to turn the duvet cover inside out for this trick, which can make the bed’s look unappealing to sleepers.

Fit could also be an issue with certain covers if they are sized specifically to hold the insert. Many duvet covers are oversized enough to spread over the sides of a bed with a down comforter creating loft that shrunk the spread. Without a duvet or comforter inside making the duvet cover taller, it will spread out to its full width and may fall too much over the side of a bed for a sleeper’s liking.

While easy to wash and style-friendly, a solo duvet cover also lacks some of the loft, insulation, and coziness provided by traditional warm weather bedding like quilts and matelassé or waffle-woven coverlets.

Making It Work – Tips and Tricks

If you decide to use your removable duvet cover sans insert this summer, there are a few easy ways to maximize its comfort and functionality as a substitute bedspread.

Layer it over your sheet and blanket to produce a makeshift quilt for the right balance of breathability and soft warmth. Using the interior ties, securely attach your empty duvet cover to each corner of the mattress. Not only will this provide a smooth look, but it will also prevent the cover from ending up on the floor overnight.

In addition, be mindful of fabric whenever using a cover on its own. More open, gauzy weaves will be too breezy for many sleepers, while flannel or microfiber fleece covers lock in more body heat than desired during summer. For the best blend of temperature regulation, lightweight feel, and easy care, cotton duvet covers are ideal for solo use in warm weather.

Check Out These Alternative Bedspreads Instead

If you try using your duvet cover as a summer bedspread and find it still too warm or lacking in coziness, consider these alternative layering pieces that will keep your bed cool and comfy.

  • Lightweight Quilts: From basic quilted bed spreads to matelassé and waffle coverlets, the variety of lighter-weight quilts available today is endless. Choose cotton, linen, or microfiber depending on your budget and desired level of breathability.
  • Woven Bedspreads: Classic, unfussy woven cotton and linen bedspreads deliver effortless texture and provide full coverage for made beds. Clip them to a mattress pad or fitted sheet for a smooth look. For relaxed beds, let them puddle casually over sides.
  • Coverlets: Somewhere between a quilt and a bedspread, medium-weight coverlets strike an ideal balance. Many feature decorative details like embroidery or lattice patterns too. Coverlets allow for adjustable layering as well by using them over a top sheet or blanket.

See also: Coverlet vs Quilt: Which Bedding Option Is Better?


Can you just use a duvet cover by itself?

While a duvet cover is designed to protect and decorate your duvet insert, it’s not typically used on its own. The duvet cover serves as a removable and washable outer shell for the duvet, providing both style and convenience. To fully enjoy the warmth and comfort of a duvet, it’s recommended to use it in combination with a duvet insert.

What’s the difference between a duvet cover and a bedspread?

The primary difference lies in their functionality and appearance. A duvet cover is a protective layer for a duvet insert, often featuring a closure like buttons or zippers.

On the other hand, a bedspread is a decorative covering that extends to the floor and covers the entire bed. Bedspreads are more for aesthetic purposes, while duvet covers are practical for protecting and enhancing the lifespan of the duvet insert.

Can you use a duvet cover on a regular comforter?

Yes, you can use a duvet cover on a regular comforter. Duvet covers come in various sizes, and many are designed to fit standard comforters. Some may even be labeled as a comforter cover.

Simply insert the comforter into the duvet cover, secure it with the closure, and you can enjoy the benefits of a stylish and easily washable cover for your comforter.

What do people use instead of bedspreads?

Instead of bedspreads, people often opt for duvet covers, quilts, or comforters to add both style and functionality to their bedding. Duvet covers provide a protective layer for duvet inserts, while quilts and comforters offer warmth and decorative elements. The choice depends on personal preferences and the desired look for the bedroom.

Can you put a quilt in a duvet cover?

Yes, you can put a quilt in a duvet cover. Duvet covers are versatile and can be used to cover and protect various types of bedding, including quilts. This allows you to change the look of your bedding easily and keep your quilt clean. Ensure that the duvet cover is appropriately sized for the quilt for a snug fit.

Do you need a top sheet with a duvet cover?

The use of a flat sheet with a duvet cover is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the simplicity of using only a duvet cover, while others like the added layer and smooth feel of a top sheet beneath the duvet. Ultimately, it depends on your comfort preferences and the level of warmth you desire while sleeping.

Can you use a duvet cover as a top sheet?

While a duvet cover is not typically used as a top sheet, you can certainly use it as a replacement if you prefer. The texture and weight of a duvet cover may differ from traditional top sheets. However, if it provides the comfort and style you desire, there’s no strict rule against using a duvet cover as a top sheet alternative.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, whether choosing to repurpose your duvet cover or invest in a new summertime bedspread, the goal stays the same – keeping your sleep comfortable amid rising temperatures. A duvet cover acts as a simple and affordable way to lighten your bedding during warmer months, not just with a traditional duvet.

Not only does it allow you to get more use out of pieces you already own and save you from having to store extra bedding. You can just toss it in the wash whenever it needs freshening up.

If a spare cover isn’t cutting it comfort-wise on its own, experiment with layering or check out the variety of lightweight quilts and bedspreads designed with breathable materials for staying cool. Finding your ideal warm weather bedding solution is a breeze once you know what to look for.

You can also use a duvet cover over a loveseat or sofa, much as you spread out a throw or blanket for warmth when lounging.

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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