Home & Garden

Living Space: Alternatives to comforters

For decades now, the No. 1 bed covering has been a comforter set complete with matching shams and dust ruffle. But in the summertime, a comforter can look overdone, and for sleeping, it’s downright stifling. If you’ve been thinking about kicking the comforter habit, here are some other choices.


Popular in Europe, the duvet is a lightweight coverlet similar to a sheet that resembles an envelope. Usually a lightweight comforter or blanket is placed inside the duvet. A duvet is easy to throw into the washer.

Try the Lucianna Medallion duvet in pale blue that radiates a summer look ($84 queen, Potterybarn.com). For the ultimate in keeping cool at night, lightweight seersucker fabric steals the show. Check out the seersucker duvet set from Target ($69 queen, Target.com).

Coverlets and bedspreads

Lightweight bedspreads don’t require dust ruffles or shams. Spreads are typically long enough to cover your pillows, and they add some retro flair to the bedroom.

Chenille spreads are softly tufted. The bedspreads of choice during the ’50s, many updated versions are available online, such as the Arianna set ($155, Overstock.com). Check out Etsy.com for a wide selection of chenille spreads that will take you back to Grandma’s house.

The New England Tradition bedspread has a timeless look perfectly suited for any bed, no matter where you live ( Maineheritageweavers.com).

A matelasse coverlet is similar to a quilt but is usually solid-colored. These top the bed but do require shams and a dust ruffle. A bone-colored matelasse like the William and Mary comes in a full set with shams, coverlet and dust ruffle for a unified look ($179, Thecompanystore.com).


Despite their traditional winter use, quilts can make good substitutes for billowy comforters. Fabrics and batting are layered and sewn together to create a quilt.

Once fashioned exclusively from fabric pieces, contemporary quilts can be made of either individual pieces or a single piece of fabric with stitching.

Quilts are a cool, cozy option between a puffy comforter and a flat spread; they have more heft than a spread but less fluff than a comforter. Quilts add a homespun look without looking dated. For a jazzy yet traditional look, check out the Amity Home Zebra Patchwork Quilt Set ($199, Wayfair.com).

If you like a smarter, sleeker style, try the understated geometric pattern of the Kate Spain Sunnyside quilt set ($99 queen set, Macys.com). The sunny yellow pattern will brighten up any room and keep you comfortable all summer.