Difference Between a Quilt and a Comforter

Quilts and comforters or duvets provide warmth at night and a decorative accent to a bedroom. The difference between a quilt and a comforter include the materials used, the function, cost and your design style.

Difference in Materials

Quilts are either handmade or machine stitched with intricate needlework and patchwork from recycled or new fabric, with cotton batting between the backing and the patchwork quilt top. Comforters and duvets are much like cloth bags, and they're made of hemp, wool, silk or cotton and stuffed with down, cotton or synthetic fiber.

Difference in Function

Quilts and comforters can be used for both cold and warm nights, depending on their stuffing and thickness. Many people like to use a number of quilts on a cold night. A lightly stuffed down comforter adjusts to your body temperature, keeping you cool. Comforters and duvets are used primarily as a bedspread because their size and bulkiness are awkward thrown over a couch or chair. Quilts have a multipurpose function because they are lighter and come in varied sizes, so they're ideal as a small throw on a couch or displayed as decoration.

Difference in Cost

Quilts range in price, depending on if they are or a collectible; some quilts have both sentimental and historical value. Comforters are often purchased through a manufacturer or department store and range in price depending on the materials used; for example, silk is normally more expensive than cotton. Quilts and comforters can be purchased separately, but comforters are commonly in a set, which may consist of comforter, pillow shams, bed skirt and linens, depending on the manufacturer.

Price ranges in quilts are, at the time of publication:

  • Handmade quilt: $150 to $200
  • Quilt from department store: $20 to $350
  • Collectible, specialty quilts: $300 to $12,000 (depending on size and rarity)

List of price ranges of comforter sets:

  • Cotton comforter sets: $50 to $3,000
  • Silk comforter sets: $150 to $4,000
  • Hemp comforter sets: $200 to $1,000

Difference in Style

A traditional patchwork quilt gives a country, cottage feel to your room. Comforters are made in all design styles in many patterns, textures and colors. Comforters can also slip into duvet covers, offering additional options in style, color and pattern.

Design styles that use traditional patchwork quilts:

  • Victorian, Arts and Crafts or other similar historical period styles
  • French Country
  • Tuscan
  • Log Cabin, Beach or Lake Cottage
  • Eclectic
  • Shabby Chic-style
  • Vintage

Kimberly Bartosch

Kimberly Bartosch has been writing interior design, travel, women’s style and wedding-related articles since 2010. Her articles have appeared in “BeautyLook” magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in interior design from Park University. Bartosch is an avid fan of “Star Trek” and is working on her own young-adult novel about space travel.