September 1, 2010

A Lesson in: Duvets

Yes, today’s post in on duvets. Quality bedding is one thing that is usually overlooked in interior design, but it is something I greatly take to heart.

I worked in the bedding industry for 2 years, working for one of Victoria’s most prestigious bedding experts. As a company, they are very keen to educate their staff, so I was given the opportunity to become an expert on the subject. In the following article, I will go over the different categories of bedding, hopefully making sense of all the ‘terms’ that you see when looking to purchase.

Duvets vs Comforters
To define the terms, a duvet is a ‘poofy’ blanket for your bed, that you put into a duvet cover (often decorative). A comforter is a duvet that already has a decorative cover sown directly on to it. And a quilt or coverlet or bedspread are those thin blankets that you lay on top of your bedding. I personally will never own a comforter, for the following reasons: more expensive to clean than a duvet cover, cannot find them filled with high quality materials, more expensive to change than a duvet cover.

There are many different types of duvet fills: polyester, feather, down, and wool are the most common.

Polyester Duvets – because polyester is a synthetic material, it does not breath and can cause that ‘hot-sticky’ feeling during the night. But two huge pluses are: they don’t contain the allergens that feather, down and wool do, and you can wash it TONS with little repercussion. Polyester duvets are perfect for people with very bad allergies, people that have their dogs and cats sleep on the bed, and children (especially toilet training age!) Cost: $

Feather Duvets – have down in them (the part that keeps you warm), but is mostly just fill (ie the feathers). They weigh much more than down, and give the bed a nice ‘poofy’ feel. I personally sleep with a feather duvet in the winter because I LIKE the weight and the snuggly feeling. Cost: $

Down Duvets – made solely from the nice, fluffy parts of the feather (the part that keeps you warm). For this reason, they can be very warm to sleep under. They weight virtually nothing, and give the bed a nice ‘poofy’ feel (like sleeping with a cloud!). Often, the down is cleaned so well that people with allergies to birds can still sleep with them. Cost: $$-$$$

Please note: ‘Eiderdown’ is a name often confused for ‘down’ (it is a term that the older generation will often mistake for a normal down duvet). Eiderdown comes from the Eider duck – and makes for a VERY expensive duvet. Because the Eider duck is a protected species, the only way for manufactures to collect down from the eider duck is for them to wait until the eider duck builds a nest, lay eggs, eggs hatch, and the baby birds leave the nest. Only then can the manufactures hand-pick the down from the nest. With all that labor, no wonder they cost so much! A true Eiderdown duvet can cost anywhere from $5000-$10 000, making the cost of this item: $$$$$$$!!!

Wool Duvets – made of actual wool, this product is as natural as you can get! It breaths, unlike all other types of duvets. It also wicks away moister, letting you never feel that ‘hot-sticky’ feeling during the night. Wool duvets are perfect for people who can only afford one duvet for all the seasons, men who ‘run hot’, women going through menopause, couples that like different temperatures when sleeping, camping in moist weather, people who are sick and have a fever, people who hate all the chemicals used in other duvet types, etc etc etc! (can you tell I like wool duvets?) My husband and I have a wool duvet that we use for 9 months out of the year, and we LOVE it! Please not that wool duvets MUST be dry cleaned, but only needs cleaning every 5 years – in between that, just hang it out in the yard on a nice day once in a while. Cost: $$

I hope that this has cleared up the great mystery of duvets, and helped you be a more educated consumer.

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