Duvet, Quilt or Doona? Bed Linen Definitions and FAQs

Duvet, quilt or doona - are they all just different names for the same thing? When it comes to bed linen, it’s easy to get confused by all of the different terminologies out there.

Bedding is what we do best here at Linen Social, so we wanted to break down the lingo for you below. Keep reading as we explain everything you need to know about bed linen definitions and the real differences between duvets, doonas and quilts. 

What Is a Doona Cover? 

Let’s clear up some confusion around definitions first! A doona is defined as a soft, flat bag filled with down, feathers or other synthetic alternatives. Traditionally, a doona is used as the top layer of bedding and sits above a fitted sheet and/or top sheet.

A doona cover refers to the removable cover that fits around this bag, similar to the way a pillowcase covers a pillow. A doona cover has both functional and aesthetic purposes - not only does it keep your doona protected and clean, but it also adds a decorative touch to your bedding. Doona covers come in a variety of colours, materials and designs, allowing you to instantly change the look and feel of your bedroom. 


Okay - So What’s a Duvet Cover?

Simply put, a doona cover and a duvet cover are exactly the same thing! The doona vs duvet debate ultimately comes down to your location, with different bedding lingo being used across the globe.

Doona is the phrase most commonly used in Australia, but this hasn’t always been the case. Back in the 1970s, this style of bed covering was actually referred to as a “continental quilt”. The word doona originated from a popular brand name in the 1980s and was initially used as more of a nickname, but quickly became accepted as the new preferred term. It’s thought that the name doona was derived from the Danish term “dyne”, meaning “down feathers”.

Alternatively, duvet is the term used in most other countries, particularly throughout Europe. While the lingo may be different, the origins are very similar - the definition of duvet is derived from the Old Norse word “dunn”, which also translates to “down feathers”. And what about the US? Across the states, a doona/duvet is most commonly referred to as a comforter or continental quilt.

Since the word duvet is more globally recognised, you’ll find most bed linen retailers using this term to describe their products. Duvet covers are most commonly purchased in duvet sets, which include matching pillowcase covers and/or matching flat sheets.

Whether you prefer to call it a duvet, doona or comforter, they all offer the same benefits and simplify your bedding. In the past, bed making would traditionally include a mix of sheets, blankets, quilts and other bed covers, until duvets (thankfully!) became the new norm.

But Wait, Where Do Quilt Covers Come In?

So we’ve established that doonas, duvets and comforters are the same thing - but where do quilts come in? What’s the difference between a duvet cover and quilt cover? Or is a duvet just another word for quilt?

Not necessarily. In most countries, a quilt is more like a thick, padded blanket, traditionally made using 3 layers of fabric stitched together. A quilt is usually decorative in design and used on its own, without the need for a cover. 

Can a Doona Cover Be Used Alone?

With all of the bed linen definitions now out of the way, let’s talk about the correct way to use a doona/duvet. Can a doona and doona cover be used alone?

This is very much a personal preference (and one that’s sure to cause a heated debate in your office!). Some people like to add a top sheet/flat sheet, while others prefer the simplicity of a doona used alone. Using a doona/duvet alone can definitely cut down the time spent making your bed each morning, while adding a top sheet is a more traditional approach that provides a beautifully layered look. 

In the warmer months, you might choose to remove the doona bag and just use the doona cover on its own as a lightweight sheet (or layer some flat sheets for the same effect). This works particularly well with pure linen duvet covers, as they adjust to changing temperatures.

Because duvet covers are removable and washable, most people will have a couple of duvet sets handy to switch around as needed. Changing your duvet cover is a simple way to refresh your bedroom styling throughout the year. 

What Is The Best Material for Duvet Covers?

Duvet covers and doona covers made from French flax linen are renowned as being the most durable option for your bedding - nearly 30% more durable than cotton! This is because flax fibres are lightweight, breathable, long-lasting and super soft. You can learn more about the benefits of French flax linen bedding on the blog.

When purchasing duvet sets online, make sure you choose the right size (single, double, queen or king) to fit your duvet bag and mattress. The perfect duvet cover should fit snugly around your duvet bag with 1-2 inches of wriggle room.

Looking for duvet covers in Australia? We only use 100% French flax for our range of pure linen duvet sets and sheet sets, designed in Australia with shipping worldwide. Explore our full collection of French linen bedding right here.