Go to sleep like a baby

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

Choosing a duvet can be a difficult and confusing experience, what with tog ratings, sizes and different down varieties?

Interior decorator Gail Smith says choosing a duvet is an individual choice and depends on age, weight, health, body temperature and the temperature of a room.

Buying the right duvet is vital for a good night's sleep and health, but there's a lot more to choosing one than most people realise.

"One of the important points when choosing a duvet is to know if you move a lot or not in your sleep. If you move a lot, two possibilities are available - a heavy duvet or an extremely large duvet, which could be a down blanket.

"The down blanket comes in large sizes and allows you to tuck it in like a blanket while having the advantages of a duvet," says Smith.

Things to know about duvets

1. All duvets have a warmth rating measured in togs or as fill power. The higher the tog or the fill power, the warmer the duvet. To provide suitable warmth for all seasons, duvets can either be bought in a combination form as two separate duvets:

l A lightweight duvet for the summer;

l A middleweight one for autumn and;

l Spring could be combined to provide extra warmth for winter.


Smith recommends people to choose a duvet size to match their bed:

"A king-size duvet on a king-size bed will allow enough width to drape comfortably over the sides of the mattress. If you prefer a billowing duvet or have a tendency to battle with your partner for bedding, select a duvet one size larger than the bed.

"Use a tape measure to check the size of your bed and match it to the closest size. If you or your partner is a duvet-hogger, choose a king size duvet which can be used on a double bed. It will lie over the edge without reaching the floor," says Smith.

Warm or cool?

She says warmth is a very personal choice.

"Many of us are naturally hot-blooded and quickly become hot and sticky at night. But other people suffer under a lighter duvet," says Smith.


Some people need to feel weight to have a good night's sleep. Such people should buy a duvet with a higher percentage of feathers, for example, 20percent down and 80 percent feathers.

People who prefer less weight on them should choose a duvet with a percentage of down superior to the one of feathers. But remember that down is more expensive than feathers.

Choosing duvet cover style

Duvet covers are available in a variety of fabrics and patterns. The right style for your bedroom is a matter of personal taste. When choosing a duvet cover for a comforter, pick out a style that will go well with the furniture, flooring and rest of the bedroom.

Cleaning and storing duvet covers

A duvet cover will provide years of use depending on the quality of the material and the care you give it. Those made of silk should ideally be professionally cleaned. Woven materials, similar to furniture throws, may stretch with washing. Cotton or poly-cotton blends may be as safely laundered like sheets. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.


Storing a duvet cover is as easy as storing sheets and blankets, since they fold flat.

Duvet cover fabrics

Cotton is the most common material for duvet covers. It is easy to care for.

Blends: Cotton-polyester combines the best of natural and synthetic fibers. They are durable and ideal for easy-care, no-iron bedding.

Silk is luxurious, soft and often washable. It is an elegant choice.

Faux suede is usually a polyester fabric which feels and looks like real suede. Being imitation, it is more affordable and easier to clean than real suede.

Velvet: Most are polyester blends and washable. They are good for cooler months.