Should Duvet Covers Cost More Than Sheets?

September 14, 2016

Should Duvets Cost More Than Sheets?

Duvet- /ˈdjuːveɪ/, /ˈduːveɪ/, or US /duːˈveɪ/; from the French duvet [dyvɛ] "down"

What do you think of when you hear the word “duvet”? Jumping into a luxurious, fluffy, and inviting bed? Curling up under the covers next to a toasty fire? You can’t help but associate duvet with luxury. Owning a duvet means you’ve made it. You’ve reached peak bedding.

But why? Duvets were brought into the mainstream in the early 1970’s by Sir Terence Conran in Britain because of their simplicity. Rather than tug a bottom and top sheet snug into place, all you have to do when you wake up is smooth the comforter over for a picture-perfect bedroom. But, beyond their simplicity, there’s also an elegant perception that accompanies the product. Is this what drives up the prices and inhibits consumers from buying them?

Let’s pull back the covers and explore just what a duvet is and where the price really comes from.

What do duvet covers cost?

The cost of a duvet cover varies from brand-to-brand but is traditionally the same price, or higher, than the cost of an organic cotton sheet set. It’s just one item, not a set- so why the price bump? Let’s explore.

The difference between an organic cotton sheets and a duvet cover

We’ve already established that duvets usually cost more than organic cotton sheets. Is there a good reason why? Let’s take a look at what you’re actually buying. Is there more to a duvet than there is a sheet set? Is it harder to manufacture?

A sheet is a rectangular piece of fabric that covers the mattress. Sheets are usually sold as a set, including a fitted sheet that encases the mattress, a top sheet that slides in between the comforter and your body, and two pillowcases. A duvet is a protective, removable cover that encases a larger comforter. The duvet itself is actually two sheets sewn together with buttons or a zipper used to keep the insert in place.  Like it’s name dictates, the duvet insert is usually made of a down or feather base.

What you should know: Both items are made of two sheets.

Duvet vs. Sheet Set: Materials

Next, let’s take a look at materials. What are you actually buying? Does a duvet cover use more fabric than an organic cotton sheet set? To keep it simple, we’ll only calculate the amount of material you purchase since the actual amount of material used to make the sheet in the factory can vary depending on their specific efficiencies.

A King size sheet set typically includes a fitted sheet, flat sheet and two pillowcases. Use the breakdown below to see the differences in how much material you buy with each order.

A standard duvet that fits a full or King sized mattress measures 79” x 103”. Including 2 sham pillowcases (21” x 42”), you’ll get around 16.8 square yards in fabric.

An organic cotton sheet set (including pillowcases) is around 19.3 square yards of fabric, and a duvet cover set is around 16.8 square yards of fabric. The duvet uses less fabric, yet is usually priced higher than a sheet set. If this is true, the increase in the price of duvet covers can’t be because of material demand.

What you should know: A duvet uses roughly 20% less material but is priced up to 18% more than a typical sheet set.

Duvet vs. Sheet Set: Construction

The markup isn’t because of materials, so it has to be construction and craftsmanship, right?

Duvets use buttons or zippers to keep their comforters in place throughout the night, but those materials actually don’t drive up the cost. SOL binds our duvets together using eco-friendly coconut shell buttons. Despite their high quality, the addition is only roughly $2.00, the same as an expensive zipper.

Another common misconception is that duvet covers should cost more because they’re constructed to be more durable than typical sheets. Many believe that duvets are designed to be removable and because of such, have to be constructed to withstand extra handling.

While this is definitely true (who wants a flimsy duvet cover?), sheets are also designed to have a long lifetime value. That’s why duvet covers are made out of the exact same fabric as sheet sets. There’s no difference.

What you should know: The marginal cost of buttons or zippers shouldn’t drive the cost of a duvet up.

What you should be paying for a Duvet

You as the consumer deserve to know exactly what you’re buying and where your money is going. The math is simple and the truth is evident- duvets shouldn’t cost more than sheets, so why are so many brands marking them up? We at SOL believe that you shouldn’t pay more for duvets because they are made with less fabric than sheets. We price our products fairly because we believe the choices we make in life can have a positive impact on the world. A quality product, ethically made, at a fair price. It’s what  we all deserve.

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