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Choosing the Right Duvet

If you're not allergic to down, shopping for a duvet can be fun but it can also be confusing. Here are some tips and terminology to help you sort out the best tpe of duvet for your taste, budget and lifestyle.

  • Down - Down consists of the very fine feathers located under the tougher outer feathers of waterfowl. What kind of waterfowl will play a part in the price too. For instance, you'll pay more for goose down than you will pay for duck down. If the label doesn't tell you but simply says it is "down-filled", it's probably duck down.
  • White goose down is considered to be the best quality, but color really has nothing to do with quality. Many people think Hungarian goose down is the best you can get. One of the reasons goose down is superior is that it lofts up better.
  • Feathers - All duvets will have a percentage of feathers. The fewer feathers, the better.
  • The higher percentage of softer down, the warmer you will be under it.
  • Loft - Loft refers to the puffiness. Loft is the amount of air trapped in the baffles. The more loft you have equates to the better insulation and breathability in the duvet.
  • Baffles - There are fabric "walls" sewn between sections that help provide loft and prevent the down from shifting or clumping.
  • Flat Sewn - The cheaper alternative to baffle construction is known as "flat sewn". The top and bottom fabric of the duvet are sewn flat as if they were one piece. If the stitches come loose there will be shifting.
  • Fill Power - You will pay the most for "fill power". Measured in cubic inches filled per ounce of down, it does not constitute the total weight. The higher the fill power, the warmer the duvet will be and the lighter it will be. You should look for a minimum of 500-600 fill power.
  • Depending on how you sleep, hot or cold, don't pay for more fill power than you need.
  • The outer fabric can be any fabric that is "feather-proof", like cotton or silk. Remember, you don't need thread count. What you need is feather proofing.
  • For comfort, aim for at least 230 thread count. Note: thread counts of 700 and more can merely be 350 times two for double ply.
  • Contrary to what many people think, double ply is not as desirable as single ply for keeping down inside the duvet.
  • Starting prices are approximately $99 for king but can go as high as $5000 at exclusive bedding boutiques. If you sleep with the window open and the heater off, you'll probably want to spend more on your duvet with higher fill power. If you keep the room warm, a low fill power is good and less expensive too.
  • Duvet Cover - This is just a giant pillowcase to keep your duvet cleaner longer. Covers come in many colors and designs. Be sure it is washable. You'll want to wash it as often as you wash your sheets.
  • If you want, you can make your own duvet cover by sewing two flat sheets together, leaving one side open to get the duvet in and out.

Quick Links for This Issue

How to Decorate Big Rooms
Cleaning Your Duvet
Organizing Your Rooms
Creating Curb Appeal
Home Staging for Curb Appeal
Spring Color Schemes
How to Choose Patterns
Some Selected Free Tips
More Free Tips
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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Wall Groupings: The Art of Arranging Art and Photos, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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