Duvet covers have been around for a long time, but most Americans were not aware of them until relatively recently. Through the twentieth century their general acceptance and popularity has gone from obscure to a level where even many husbands know what they are. The development of the duvet will provide a little background to the advantages that duvet covers will bring to your decorating arsenal.
The duvet story begins a few centuries ago with down comforters in Europe and silk comforters in Asia. Both comforters required a significant amount of time to make, which gave them value. Also, both types are excellent insulators, but neither one was happy being washed in the local stream nor are they happy in a modern washer.
The value of the comforter, along with the fact that it is difficult to clean, lead to the “invention” of the duvet cover. Similar to the concept of a pillowcase, the duvet cover protected the down or silk comforter from body oils and all the other elements that might soil it.
From this practical and utilitarian beginning in a European peasant hut, the duvet cover has developed to include being the center of a modern bedroom decor. It still protects, but it has also become a fashion item that is easily changed and stored. The original comforters and covers were plain and drab, but eventually the cover’s decorative possibilities were realized.
Also, with the passage of time comforters began to be made of materials that are more easily cleaned, leading to comforters that are decorative in themselves, not necessarily requiring a duvet cover.
One last step in reaching the duvet covers used today took place when the first homemaker became tired of her decorative comforter and realized that she could cover it with a duvet cover to produce a fresh new bedroom look. Blankets and quilts can also be used as duvet inserts, so whether one of these preceded the decorative comforter as a duvet insert is not really known.
This development has resulted in the duvet cover of today being as much, if not more, of a fashion statement than just a protective covering. The overall duvet, insert and cover, have many advantages over alternate forms of bed covers. Some of the advantages that have boosted the popularity of duvet covers include:
- The more expensive types of duvet inserts, down and silk comforters, are excellent insulators, making the combination of insert and cover very thin and light weight for the amount of insulation and warmth they provide. Other types of inserts that are now available, though not equal to down and silk comforters, still provide very good bed cover qualities.
- For the person who likes to decorate and make dynamic change, these covers are an exciting tool. If you have three or four covers, you can change covers and the room’s appearance every few months. If you use decorative pillows you can enhance the bedroom’s appearance even more. Choose your cover and pillow colors so that the pillows can be used with more than one duvet.
- Duvet inserts and covers present less of a storage problem than other types of bed covers. In general two inserts are adequate for any bed. One for the colder months and one for the warmer months, with an empty duvet cover (no insert) being used during the hottest months. So, for most of the year when one duvet insert is in use, you have one bulky (but not as bulky as many other coverings) duvet inserts to store. Add to this all but one of your duvet covers – three in the closet, along with one on the bed would give you four to alternate between. Each of the covers takes up as much space as two folded flat sheets. This compares favorably with the storage space required for a total of four changes with other types of bed covers, such as three bedspreads, quilts or decorative comforters.
- When compared to the same quality in other types of bedding, the equivalent number of decor changes is less expensive when duvet inserts and covers are used.
- Duvet covers are made for use without a top sheet. Therefore, they save the cost of top sheets and bed making becomes faster and easier.
- When you purchase a high quality down or silk comforter to use as your duvet insert, the product will last for many years, and each of those years can realize a utility savings associated with a lower thermostat setting.
- Duvet covers can be used to give new life to your old decorative comforters, blankets and quilts.
Although duvet inserts and covers have been around for a long time, their popularity in the US has lagged behind their popularity in other countries until relatively recently. Their popularity in America is now growing as people realize their many advantages over other types of bedding. If you have not yet experienced these advantages for yourself, you are encouraged to try one soon.