When it comes to buying bed linen, the volume of terms used can be confusing and overwhelming.
Many terms are interchangeable; some are more widespread in America, and others in the UK or Australia. Nevertheless it's important to learn which is which, so you are able to find the right bed coverings for your home.
So, what is a bedspread? A bedspread is an American term for what the UK and Australia refer to as a coverlet.
It is a large bed covering, often quilted, which covers the entire bed - including pillows - and hangs over the sides. In winter, it provides an additional layer of warmth, and in summer it can be used on top of bed sheets as a lightweight quilt or duvet.
What is a bedspread used for?
A bed spread can be a very versatile piece of bed linen. In the cooler months, it can provide an additional layer of insulation on your bed - ensuring you stay warm all night long, and it can be used in place of a duvet or quilt as lightweight bed coverings.
Many people use it in conjunction with a flat sheet, which they fold over the top of their bed spread. Often patterned or quilted, a bedspread can also add colour, texture and contrast to your bedroom.
What is the difference between a bedspread and a quilt?
A quilt (or doona, or duvet) is a thick bed covering with a filling made from either man-made (synthetic) materials, or natural materials (like wool, or down). The thickness and filling determine its warmth, and can also give additional health benefits (like antimicrobial, or hypo-allergenic).
A quilt is a fundamental piece of bedding, and should be protected by a duvet cover - which come in many styles, colours, patterns and textures.
A duvet cover is a personal choice, and often reflects one's personality. It can really set the tone in a bedroom, and make a statement.
A bedspread is a bed accessory - like a bed skirt - not fundamental, but definitely an item of bed linen that will suit and benefit some households.
It can be used decoratively, as a way of introducing contrasting colours or textures into your bedroom - or practically, as a way of building up layers of insulation to keep you warm at night. Bedspreads come in one style, colour, or pattern only - you cannot change its look with a cover. However they are available in a variety of materials, ranging from cotton to velvet.
What does a bedspread include?
When you buy a bedspread, you're buying a bed covering. Bedspreads are often patterned or textured - so make sure the pattern or texture suits your style or interior (as you can't buy bedspread covers like you can a duvet cover).
Make sure the size you buy is suitable for your mattress size - you want your bedspread to cover the entire bed, and drape down either side to the floor.
What is the difference between bedspread and bed sheets?
When we talk about bed sheets, we are usually talking about a flat sheet and a fitted sheet. A fitted sheet fits tightly over your mattress, and has elastic around its edges to ensure no creases. A flat sheet can be used on top of a mattress (with sides folded and tucked underneath it), but usually it is used on top of a fitted sheet, between you and your quilt.
Bed sheets come in a variety of colours and materials. You can find bed sheets made from bamboo cotton, polyester, linen, and organic cotton (to name but a few!).
The popularity of the flat sheet is waning, as younger generations prefer to sleep directly under their duvet cover and on top of a fitted sheet.
A bedspread is a more traditional bed covering used on top of the bed. Unlike bed sheets, bedspreads are not made to be in direct contact with your body. They are often made from coarser or heavier materials (as they are primarily used for additional warmth in colder months).
If you are using a bedspread as a lightweight alternative to a duvet in the warmer months, ensure you use a flat sheet between yourself and the bedspread for maximum comfort.