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How to Choose a Duvet Cover

Throughout my adult life there have been an handful of times where I have truly felt like an adult.

Things like purchasing my first Christmas tree and decorations (which I unfortunately lost to a fire), signing my first phone contract, cleaning an oven for the first time (not fun), getting my first employer-backed RRSP, and buying a duvet cover.

I realize that finding an affordable duvet cover and learning how to use it doesn’t carry the same weight as some of the other things on my list, but it’s like the cornerstone of of your bedrooms. You pick a color scheme, add some fancy pillow shams, and pick a cute bedside lamp.

Think about it — all of your first apartment is important, but your bedroom holds a special significant. It a reinvention from your childhood to the adult you want to become. So, finding the perfect affordable duvet cover is a big move.

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

Before we start picking out the best one, let’s talk about what the difference between the duvet and the duvet cover. The duvet is the pillow equivalent of a blanket, whereas the cover is the pillowcase. You don’t necessarily need both, but it’s better if you get the whole set. 

While you can use the duvet insert as just a blanket. But without it you’ll end up having to wash your blanket more frequently and hurting the integrity of whatever’s making your duvet fluffy.

On the other hand, duvet covers (good ones anyway) are machine washable and can hold up longer. Functioning much like a pillowcase, they’re easy to slip on and off, and often tend to be less expensive and easier to replace.

How to choose a duvet

Choosing a duvet insert doesn’t seem like it’d be that big of a deal but it’s something you want to last you a while. You can absolutely find yourself an affordable duvet, you’ll want to pick one that will work for a while. Honestly, if you can, try nabbing a high quality duvet on sale. Trust me, you’re worth it!


There are a number of things to think about when you’re picking just the right one

When it comes to choosing a duvet, essentially what you’re focusing on is choosing a duvet filling. There are essentially four types of filling you can choose from: 

  • Down
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Natural filling
  • Synthetic filling

Which type of filling you choose depends on what you’re going for.


The duvet’s fill power determines how well-insulated it is. Fill power is determined by fill numbers, which typically range from 450 too 900, with the higher numbers being more insulated.

If you run cold while you sleep, then you’ll want a higher number. Down tends to be the best filling for warmth. But if you’re looking for something lighter, go with a lower number.

Much like the fill power, a duvet’s tog power defines its warmth. The higher the tog number, the warmer the blanket.


As I mentioned earlier, there are synthetic options if you’re allergic to the natural fillings like a feather or goose down. 

You can choose from a hollowfibre or microfibre—while hollowfibre is more durable, microfibre is more like down. These are a great option if you’re looking for a down-like option but need to avoid the natural fillings.


Duvets can be quite pricey, so when it comes to shopping for one, the material it’s filled with, its warmth and overall constructions are all factors.

Natural fillings and options like down tend to be more expensive than the lighter weight synthetic fillings. Likewise, a higher thread count which means the fabric is woven tighter making it harder for the filling to escape is also more expensive.

Essentially, for a cheaper more lightweight option, go with a synthetic filling.


Once you’ve decided on the type of the duvet you want, you need to pick the correct size. The size of your duvet depends on the size of your bed, so choose appropriately!

How to chose a duvet cover

When it comes to figuring out how to choose a duvet cover, essentially you want to find something that’s easy to care for and looks adorable. Plus you want to keep it within budget — which means the West Elm one I have picked out might not be for everyone.

I recommend looking at three factors: washing requirement, construction and pattern.

Consider washing requirement

One of the biggest factors when it comes to how to choose a duvet cover is how easy it is to care for. The easier the better in my books.

Essentially, you’ll want to be able to wash it in your washing machine at home instead of taking it to the dry cleaner or otherwise having it professionally washed. 

Your best bet is to go with cotton fabric, but there are other easy to wash fabrics as well. Read the washing instructions before you purchase to avoid any mishaps!


When I talk about construction for an affordable duvet cover, what I’m really talking about is warmth and thread count. 

In blanket terms, the higher the thread count, the softer the blanket feels. An Egyptian cotton duvet cover with a higher thread count is a softer blanket. Likewise, a typical cotton or linen duvet cover with a lower thread count is rougher. 

When it comes to warmth, the fabric also counts. But remember, you also have warmth with your duvet itself. As a general rule, the thicker the fabric the warmer the blanket.

Color and pattern

Duvet covers come in a range of colors and patterns, and a big part of choosing the right one is going with something that works for you. Before you pick bed linens, you want to take a look around your room and figure out what else you want in there.

Your duvet is probably going to be the piece that ties the rest of your room together. So, you want to make sure it compliments not clashes with everything else.

If you have patterned accents elsewhere (think lamp shades, curtains) solid colors probably make more sense. However, if you only want to add a pop of color to the room a pattern might be the best choice.

Whichever affordable duvet cover you choose, the most important factor is how you feel about it. If you are trying to keep costs down you probably want something that works for year-round use and 

What are your tips for how to choose a duvet cover? Share them in the comments below!

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Tae H.

Tae H.

Tae loves all things Disney, pugs and entrepreneurship. She is a finance and travel writer and the founder of The Single Girl's Guide to Real Adulting. Naturally, she is single for life. She loves to write about anything that she thinks might help people live their best life on a reasonable budget. You can also catch her weekly on The Lady Dicks Podcast.

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