‘Down Duvet’ or ‘Down Comforter’? Both words refer to the same luxurious, down-filled insert typically used with a cover. They’re synonymous, but can you really use either word? Some say you can. Tomay-to, tomah-to. I say, Duvet all the way. Let me persuade you.
'Duvet' is European, derived from the French word for down. Duvet is the term used more commonly in Canada, of course, because most of us can’t say more than ‘Bonjour’ but love to pretend like we’re super francais, super sophistique.
American friends, take it from us. Using French words makes you immediately cool, in an effortless, French-girl-chic kind of way. I mean, if you’ve just dropped a few hundred dollars on bedding, you’re going to want to brag about it. And don’t you want to sound refined, worldly, sexy even? For added effect, try it with your best French accent.
If you say Duvet, it sounds like you care about your home. You’re always looking to ‘create a more elevated look’. You for sure know the difference between an armoire and a chifforobe and take pleasure in educating other (uninterested) people about it. You would never confuse royal blue and sapphire and the person you would save in a fire is your Harvey Probber lounge chair. You and your mid-century modern domicile are prepared for a correspondent from Apartamento to appear at any moment for a shoot, in which you’ll stand gazing contemplatively out your bay window, both hands wrapped around a vintage Russel Wright mug in cantaloupe. Tell me you don’t want to be that guy.
Third point. You know you want to use #duvetday on Instagram on those days when you ‘can’t even’ (insert snoozing pet, insert classic novel you’re not actually reading, insert super-contrived au naturel lewk #nomakeupnofilter).
Also, if you say Duvet, it sounds like you’re in the know about down and feather products. You talk about the specs on your down sleeping bag like my ‘DJ’ friend that lives in his parents’ basement and is perpetually ‘aspiring’ talks about his mixer. You wear a down jacket that screams ‘I just came back from snowshoeing in the Rockies,’ even though the harshest environment that jacket has seen is your local Walmart on a Sunday afternoon. When someone says, ‘Nice Comforter’, you look at them with the same exaggerated indignation you reserve for people that call your down gilet a vest.
Comforter is the word more often used in the United States, and hey, we don’t judge you for needing a little comforting every now and again. I’m not saying we’re tougher up here in the great white North, but we do sleep in frigid igloos among man-eating polar bears.
The problem with the word Comforter is that it can refer to 5-star hotel style down bedding, or that faded, threadbare excuse for a blanket you used in college. Unless you’re still living on Pabst and ramen (and if you are, much respect, v derelicte), it’s time to graduate to the elegant, urbane, have-your-shit-together ‘Duvet’, non?
I will admit that both ‘Duvet’ and ‘Comforter’ are a little normcore for the more recalcitrant among us. If you have a delightfully offbeat or clever alternative, please let me know in the comments!
Illustrations by Amanda Nguyen
Thanks for the funny read, CDFC! Love how it brought out so many memories in the comments here. I always grew up with duvet=a plain insert that goes inside a cover and comforter=has a fashion fabric integrated and therefore doesn’t go in a cover! My mum was born in England yet moved to Canada as a little one, my dad born here to Dutch parents who immigrated after the war. Who knows if the terms suffered some cultural confusion in my household! I never got the chance to have relationships with my grandparents and those of their generation, but I love how so many of the materials technologies of their lives are returning to popularity. My folks recently gifted me with a down DUVET ;) and it’s far more comfortable than any poly duvet OR comforter I’d slept with prior! Cheers all :)
When I was a child in Ireland, before the war, having an eiderdown to top off your bed was the ultimate in luxury. I just had a couple of old blankets topped with a blanket my Grandmother had made by sewing old scraps of wool clothing togwther in crazy patch fashion. When I was about 5, my great grandmother died. When all her belongings were sorted out, I was delighted to be the new owner of her old eiderdown. That was a turning point in my life. I was never cold in bed again.
An eiderdown was filled with the down from an eider duck. On top it was covered with rich looking satin and the back was a less slippy fabric such as cotton so it would stay on the bed better. The quilting that kept the fill in place was very ornate and finished with corded binding.
During the day the bed was made up with a matching satin bedspread, which was rolled back at night.
The puffy eiderdown on the satin bedspread made the bed look very elegant.
This was such a hilarious, entertaining article. I love that us Canadians don’t take ourselves too seriously. Being pretentious and self-deprecating at the same time… you’ve captured it perfectly. Thanks for the fun read. 🙂
I have been sleeping under my new DUVET for more than a week now — it’s lovely! I love the humorous explanation “Duvet vs Comforter” for the uninitiated. Coming from Europe, I slept under a duvet all my like, since childhood in the 1930s (I am 85 now!) and my parents and grandparents did too! Most everybody did as far as I know! I couldn’t possibly sleep without it. There is nothing more COMFORTING than a DUVET!
Sorry, Inez! We like to think we’re funny sometimes ;) Long story short (TLDR), there is no difference between a comforter and a duvet. They are both an insert filled with down, feather, polyester or other material put inside a duvet/comforter cover. :)
I would appreciated a straight answer. You beat around the bush instead of replying with a descriptive comment of a duvet.
Thanks so much for my morning chuckle! I thoroughly enjoyed your “duvet vs comforter” rant. I’ve used a “duvet” all my life. Coming from Europe, my mother was ahead of the curve back in the sixties when all my “Canadian” friends wondered about my weird “bird bedding” during elementary school sleep-overs. Funny tho’, how they all wanted to come back for another sleep-over the following weekend. “Duvet” all the way!