Say goodbye to cold nights with a guide to the best winter quilts

What your duvet is made of makes an enormous difference to your overnight experience.

When chilly weather hits, making your bed feel cosy and warm is crucial for your sleep routine. The headline act at this time of year is a winter quilt. Quilts, also known as duvets or doonas, are one of the biggest investments and most important pieces to support your sleep. But there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to buying the best winter doona. 

“Quilts have the added benefit that you can change up the covers to suit your decor, and they are also easy and quick to wash in the washing machine and keep your bedding fresh and inviting,” says Meghan McGann, head of brand at MyHouse and House – Bed & Bath.

With so many options on the market, there are a few key questions you’ll need to ask yourself, in order to snag the quilt for you. For example, how many people sleep in the bed? What is your local climate like? Are allergies a concern? And not forgetting, of course, how much are you willing to spend? 

Heavy winter quilts

If you’re after a heavy winter quilt, look at the GSM, says Christina. GSM refers to the weight of the filling. “The higher the GSM (grams per square metre), the heavier the quilt and usually the warmer it feels.”

Choose the filling first, as the GSM for each filling type varies.

Best winter quilts

Best filling for winter quilt

“Everyone needs something different,” says Christina McFarlane, product and marketing manager, manchester at Harvey Norman. Five of the most common winter quilt fillings are wool, cotton, down, bamboo and polyester. All have their own unique pros and cons.

“Most importantly, if you have asthma or allergies, look for a material that is washable and Sensitive Choice approved,” says Christina.

Wool quilts

As a natural material, wool is extremely breathable. It also has the ability to wick moisture away from the body, which allows you to stay toasty and warm without feeling clammy. Wool is also considered a hypoallergenic material and is also thought to possess antibacterial properties. 

Cosy layered bed with grey, blue and khaki bedding
A cosy bed layered with linen from Sage x Clare. (Credit: Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling: Julia Green)

Cotton quilts

Cotton is a natural fibre that makes an ideal winter quilt filling, especially for those who live in warmer climates. It is not considered as warm as a quilt filled with wool, or down but provides light warmth and breathability. Cotton quilts are also considered hypoallergenic. 

Down and feather quilts

Down (either duck down or goose down) is a premium filling choice, prized for its insulating properties. Down and feather quilts also have that plush, cloudy appearance that makes a winter bed look so inviting. Many feather and down quilts feature a baffle box construction which keeps the filling evenly spread throughout the quilt.

Select a quilt with a higher ratio of down to feather (80% down to 20% feather is a popular balance) for a soft and fluffy duvet you’ll love for years to come. Feather and down quilts are considered unsuitable for those with allergies or asthma, as they can harbour dust mites and are generally not machine washable.

Main bedroom with a white, grey and pink colour scheme
Plush bedding in a bedroom with a “soft, clean and simple” scheme. (Credit: Photography: Sinon Whitbread | Styling: Corina Koch)

Bamboo quilts

Bamboo is a lightweight, breathable and eco-friendly quilt filling. According to Ettitude, bamboo bedding requires 98% less water to produce than cotton and possesses excellent moisture wicking properties. Bamboo is also considered hypoallergenic and some studies have showed that bamboo fibres may resist the growth of bacteria. 

Polyester and microfibre quilts

Polyester and microfibre are budget-friendly and low-maintenance. They are also suitable for allergy sufferers as they are often machine washable and quick to dry. Unfortunatley, polyester fill is not great for the planet and is not particularly breathable or moisture wicking, which means although it may keep you warm at night, you may wake up feeling hot and sweaty. 

Premium microfibre quilts, such as I Love Linen’s Hotel Cloud Collection Luxury 5 Star Hotel Quilt, are a great cruelty-free alternative to feather and down quilts.

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