white bedspread with white pillows

What is a bedspread and how to choose one?

Author: James Higgins

Looking for the perfect bedspread for your bedroom, whether to finish off your chosen look or add a further sleeping layer for those extra-chilly evenings? Well, you’ve come to the right place! 

In this ultimate guide to bedspreads, we’ve explored everything from defining what a bedspread is to exploring the different types, materials, and styles available. And to finish off, we’ve also offered practical guidance and advice to help you choose and maintain your perfect bedspread. 

What is a bedspread?

A bedspread is essentially a top layer of bedding that typically sits above your sheet, duvet, and blanket, and usually extends to the foot of your bedframe. However, it isn’t wholly decorative, and can be used as an extra cover during the colder months or switched in for your duvet when the temperature gets too hot for a thick quilt. 

The benefits of using a bedspread

Find the key reasons to consider a bedspread, to help decide whether it’s the right fit for your bedroom: 

  1. Adds stylish luxury to your space

Available in just about any design – from contemporary modern to classic traditional - bedspreads add stylish luxury to any bedroom and can be used to effortlessly give your space that hotel finish.

2. Keeps your bed tidy

Draping over the ends of your bed – and sometimes even covering your pillows - a bedspread gives your bedroom a neat appeal and keeps your bedding tidy. Rather than having to puff up your pillows and shake out your duvet, you can simply reassemble your bedspread and cover everything on a morning. 

3. Provides an additional layer

Sitting atop your other bedding items, bedspreads provide a warm and comfortable final layer which comes in especially handy in the winter months. Alternatively, you might even want to swap out your thick duvet for a comfortably-thinner bedspread when the temperature starts rising. 

The difference between a bedspread and other bedding options

When reading the above description and benefits, you could be forgiven for wondering what the difference is between a bedspread and other bed toppers, from duvets to throw blankets. To distinguish between each item, we’ve broken down and compared the main features.


woman wrapped in duvet

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The difference between a bedspread and duvet

There are a few ways that duvets and bedspreads differ, from size to insulation, which we’ve outlined below: 

  • Weight: bedspreads are typically (though, not always) lighter than duvets and quilts, so they can be effortlessly layered to give extra warmth. 
  • Size: bedspreads usually drape all the way to the foot of your bedframe on each side, whereas duvets are only designed to hang slightly over the edges. 
  • Warmth: you’ll typically enjoy more warmth with a duvet vs bedspread, as they’re usually thicker and better-equipped to keep out the cold. 

What is the difference between a bedspread and throw blanket?

There are certain factors that set a bedspread apart from a throw blanket, including:

  • Size: a throw blanket is typically smaller than both a duvet and bedspread, as it’s primarily used for decoration.
  • Purpose: as above, one of the main purposes of a throw blanket is decoration, so you’ll likely choose one that complements your home aesthetic. In contrast, while a bedspread should fit into your overall design, its main purpose is to offer an additional bedding layer. 
  • Versatility: because a throw blanket is a lot smaller, it can be used anywhere around the home, from hanging over sofa arms and decorating your bed to keeping your warm with a cup of tea in front of the TV. Meanwhile, a bedspread can be a little too cumbersome to move around the home, so will likely remain as a bedroom feature.

Types of bedspreads

Combining luxurious layering and stylish design, bedspreads are becoming an increasingly popular bedroom accessory. But which type of bedspread should you choose for your home? 

Quilted bedspread

In the same style as a quilted duvet, a quilted bedspread is made from two layers of stitched fabric that usually sandwich a third, filling layer. Among the most voluminous types of bedspreads, quilts bring along some of the warming benefits of duvets, making them the best-equipped to keep the cold out. 

messy bamboo duvet

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Not quite a traditional bedspread, which is designed to wrap around your duvet, pillows, and frame, a coverlet is typically quite a bit shorter, relatively thin, and typically only covers the middle and foot of your bed. If you’re really feeling the cold, though, a coverlet can be used as an additional blanket, but you’ll not enjoy the wrap-around scale of a traditional bedspread. 

Bed runner

A bed runner is the smallest of our three examples, and, again, not a full bedspread that covers your entire frame. Instead, as the name suggests, a bed runner is draped along a portion of your bed, with decoration being its primary function – however, it can be used to add a blanket layer over a section of your body. 

The most popular bedspread fabrics

To help you choose the right fit for your home, we’ve outlined four of the most popular bedding fabrics, from classic cotton to bamboo - and even velvet! 


A highly popular bedding material across the board, it’s little surprise that cotton ranks among the most common bedspread fabrics. With Egyptian cotton particularly favoured for its softness, breathability, and durability, this is a long-time favourite. 


High quality and luxurious, bamboo bedding is an increasingly popular pick among households looking for top-of-the-range blankets and bedspread that last. Hypoallergenic, silky soft, and, importantly, environmentally friendly, there aren’t many textiles that rival bamboo bedding. 

Eucalyptus silk

Just like bamboo, eucalyptus silk is an ethical pick that’s both silky soft and eco-friendly. As well as being wholly breathable, moisture wicking, and hypoallergenic, eucalyptus silk bedspreads require roughly 95% less water and 30% less energy to produce than cotton equivalents.  


A synthetic material that’s durable, hypoallergenic, and hygienic, you’ll also often find that polyester bedspreads are priced relatively affordably. One of the downsides of polyester bedding, however, is that it doesn’t naturally regulate your body temperature, so you may find you struggle to keep comfortable whether it’s too hot or too cold – though, of course, if you’re using your bedspread as an aesthetic feature, that might not matter so much!


Luxuriously soft and irresistibly comfortable, velvet bedding is chic and stylish, and gives your bedroom an immediate lift. With velvet, you’re also getting a hardy textile that naturally keeps you warm – ideal for when you need an extra layer to combat the winter temperature drop. 

What size is a standard bedspread?

There’s no single set size for a standard bedspread, as there are options for just about every bed measurement. However, what you should consider is that the spread is supposed to hang delicately over the full frame, and usually even touch the floor. If you’ve achieved this look, you’ve likely picked the perfect size. 

When are bedspreads most used?

Bedspreads can be used in any bedroom throughout the home, from your master suite to the spare single, but they’re most commonly added to guest rooms as a decorative element that adds character and personality. 

As for the time of year they’re most appropriate; bedspreads can be a comfortable addition all year round, whether you need to ditch the duvet for something lighter in the summer or to add an extra layer in the winter.

How to choose the perfect bedspread

We’ve gone into a bit of detail about the different bedspread types and the most popular materials, but what exactly should you consider when investing in new bedding? 

  1. Consider your personal style and preferences

    This should be one of your first considerations; after all, you want (and need!) your bedroom to complement your personal taste and interior choices. There’s no use picking out a bedspread that, while comfortable and objectively attractive, doesn’t suit your space. 

    2. Determine the size of your bed

    Just as you’d choose the right size fitted sheet or duvet cover, it’s important to match your blankets and bedspread to your mattress and frame dimensions. It should hang comfortably over each side, so, whether you sleep on a single, double, or emperor mattress, buy for the appropriate size to complete the look. 

    3. Decide on a budget

    It’s important to buy within your budget, but bear in mind that spending a little more on higher quality might result in long term savings. For instance, bamboo or eucalyptus bedspreads are typically a little more expensive than lower quality fabrics, but they’re a luxury investment that you’re almost-guaranteed to enjoy for years and years. 

    4. Look for features that meet your needs 

    When buying any type of bedding, make sure you’re keeping an eye out for essential features that improve your quality of sleep. Common features to look out for include: 

    • Hypoallergenic 
    • Machine washable
    • Temperature regulating 
    • Silky softness
    • Moisture wicking

    The aim for many is to find bedding that ticks most (if not all) of the above boxes. 

    5. Read reviews and compare options before making a final decision

    Last but not least, take the time to read the customer reviews and compare options when buying a new bedspread. Check to see what other customers are saying, and whether there are any reviews that report consistent concerns – especially if they reiterate your own worries!

    Can I wash my bedspread?

    You should have no problem washing your bedspread but take care to pay attention to the specific instructions before you throw it in the machine. For instance, you may even need to hand wash it, to maintain its luxury finish. 

    When it comes to drying, aim to air dry rather than tumbling it, and feel free to leave your bedspread out in the garden, unless the specific instructions indicate otherwise (sunlight might fade certain dyes). 

    So, with that final point, you should hopefully feel confident about buying a new bedspread, whether it’s as a functional piece or the final chic addition to your bedroom ensemble. 

    If you’re feeling inspired, why not explore our full selection of luxurious bamboo and eucalyptus silk bedding or discover even more insight from our experienced bedding experts on the Ethical Bedding blog.