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What’s the Difference Between a Bed Sheet and a Bedspread?

Have you been waking up in the mornings warmer than you should be due to the changing weather? Or perhaps you are chilled throughout the night and instead of engaging in relaxing slumber, you are restless and uncomfortable?

Are you bored of the current décor in your bedroom and would like to add a pop of color to the focal point in the room – the bed? If you answer yes or maybe to one or both of these questions, it might be time to look at both a bed sheet and a bedspread. Many people tend to think of these products as the same thing with different names depending on the marketing from the brand but they are actually two separate products!

Numerous people actually use both of these products together to create a fully made bed but is it necessary? Maybe you are one of those people who prefer to only have a lightweight covering on your bed without the additional weight of blankets or sheets. There are other people who sleep more soundly when nestled down into a cocoon of softness and they have the comforting weight of all of the previous on their skin.

Let’s find explore what each of these products are, how they can be used together and/or separately, and just exactly the difference between a bed sheet and a bedspread is!

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Bed Sheet

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A bed sheet is defined as a large swatch of fabric that is cut and stitched to fit over a mattress. Bed sheets can be purchased in a variety of fabrics from cotton to linen to silk to flannel. They will have a sewed seam around the entirety of the fabric to create an edge and the top piece of the bed sheet (which goes towards the headboard) generally has an overlap of material to create a border.

Bed sheets can be flat or fitted, with each one serving a different purpose on the mattress. A flat sheet lays directly on top of the mattress and is usually tucked in on the end of the bed. A fitted sheet will have elastic stitched into the seam around the entire piece of fabric and fits down over the corners of the mattress and tucks underneath it. It will have a tag or some other indicator of what end is the bottom end of the fitted sheet.

So what exactly does a bed sheet do for a person who uses them on their bed?

  • Protects the mattress
  • Protects the skin
  • Offers quick and easy cleaning
  • Protects the Mattress

Using a set of bed sheets, whether you use them on a regular nightly basis or you use them when someone is ill or other special circumstances, can protect your mattress from the signs of daily wear and tear. A set of bedsheets can prevent stains on the mattress, as it forms another barrier that liquids, fluids, etc. would have to pass through before soaking into the mattress. Some people might only use a set of bed sheets when they are ill, to provide a secondary barrier between their mattress and themselves.

A set of bedsheets can also protect the mattress by preventing rips and tears that can occur during nightly use. If you sleep directly on top of your mattress, then it is possible to wear thin the fabric that covers the intricate system of coils or air pockets. Once this wears thin, it only takes a small amount of pressure to rip through the fabric.

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Protects the Skin


People who live with skin conditions, from rashes to eczema, find that using a set of lightweight bed sheets can help reduce the occurrence of symptoms. It becomes a second barrier against household irritants like dust mites or bacteria. If the sheets are in a soothing yet breathable material, people can find a measure of relief when it doesn’t scratch against the skin.

Choosing a set of bedsheets in a breathable material is also very important. Some skin conditions are worsened by damp conditions, so a breathable set of bed sheets that allows a persons trapped body heat to disperse into the air can prevent dreaded night sweats. Most brands of sheets will offer a breathability rating on the packaging and should let you know if they are naturally moisture wicking. Certain types of sheets that do not have breathability or moisture-wicking properties can be enhanced, either through stitching or chemicals, to attract a wider consumer market.

Offers Quick and Easy Cleaning

The majority of bedsheets are made from durable materials, unless they are explicitly stated as delicate. This means that there is no need for a particular cleaning or washing routine but can be thrown right into your household washing machine to be cleansed.

Most bed sheets can be washed on a variety of water temperatures with your normal detergent that you would use on your clothing. They can then be thrown into your dryer or even hung out on the clothesline if it is appropriate weather for doing so! If higher-end bed sheets require any particular instructions, it will on the packaging or washing label located directly on the sheet itself.

When a set of bed sheets are maintained properly, with following laundering instructions, they can last up to five years before losing their purpose on your bed. If they are of a stronger material, such as cotton or flannel, they can be repurposed to a variety of things.


Bedspreads are actually called by a variety of names. If you use a comforter, duvet, blanket or an actual bed spread, these products are generically the same thing. A bed spread is a large piece of heavier material that rests directly on top of your bed sheets or on directly on top of the mattress itself (if you do not use bed sheets on your bed). Some bedspreads might have stuffing in between two large pieces of fabric to create a downy cushion of warmth, whereas others can be just a large piece of heavier fabric with a stitched seam around all four sides.

Whether you choose to use a bedspread or a duvet or blanket, always choose a material that is not only easily cleaned but possesses stain resistant properties to ensure the lifespan of your bed spread. As bedspreads are normally a heavier material, they can run into the higher price ranges over bed sheets, so helping increase the longevity of the fabric is a good way to get back the money for your investment.

So what can a bedspread do for your bed?

  • Protects the bed sheets and/or mattress
  • Can be purchased as a decorative item
  • Warmer than a set of bed sheets alone

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Protects the Bed Sheets and/or Mattress

A bedspread can protect the bed sheets and/or the mattress from common household irritants that can cause long-term health problems. It prevents dust mites or bacteria from settling into the mattress and surviving in the dark conditions. Certain mites or bacteria can increase respiratory issues or aggravate skin conditions and using a bed spread over the entire bed can prevent this from happening.

Can be purchased as a Decorative Item

If you find yourself unhappy with how your bedroom looks or you feel your bed could use a pop of color, then a bedspread can solve this problem.

Most bedspreads are available in wide ranges of colors or patterns to appease the artistic side of yourself and some brands offer matching bed sheets, pillowcases and more for a complete overhaul of your bedroom.

Warmer than a set of Bed Sheets Alone

Some people choose to only use a bed spread during the winter months, when temperatures plummet and heating costs increase. If you don’t want to make the air in your bedroom stuffy or overly warm, then a bedspread can add additional warmth to your bedroom without increasing heating costs.

It is also a controlled source of heat, as you can move the bed spread to different parts of the bed for yourself or your partner. This is especially helpful when the two people sharing the bed prefers different levels of heat during the night, even in the winter months.


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Now that you know the differences between a bed sheet and a bedspread, you should be able to make a wise decision of what product would best suit your individual needs and that of your partners. Look at different options if you live an in climate where the temperature fluctuates or avoid a heavy, thick bedspread if the climate is hot and humid year round.

What do you prefer? A fully made bed with bed sheets and a bedspread or one over the other? Let us know in the comments below and tell us why you prefer this product!