To answer the question, "What are duvet covers," one first has to answer, "What are duvets?" A duvet is a bag filled with down, feathers, wool or other natural stuffing to create a warm bed covering that takes the place of quilts and bedspreads. Duvet is the French word for down, as in down from birds. Duvets are rather like comforters, except that they have replaceable, washable covers - much like large pillowcases.
Duvet covers are useful because duvets usually cannot be washed. Water would ruin the stuffing. However, duvet covers can be laundered along with the sheets and pillowcases. This keeps the duvet fresh as well. Duvet covers button, zip or tie at one end to keep the cover secure.
A shopper can find duvet covers in nearly any store that sells bedding, or online. Duvet covers are bought, like other bedding, according to the size of the bed. A duvet fitting a queen-sized bed needs a queen-sized duvet cover, for instance.
Another advantage of duvet covers is that they are changeable. Some are even reversible, with coordinating patterns or colors, so the home owner can change the feel of the room without having to completely redecorate. Duvet covers may be made out of any material comforters are made of: cotton, rayon, silk blends, microfiber, suede, etc. They can be purchased as part of a bedding set, in some cases, along with sheets, pillowcases and a bedskirt, all in coordinating patterns.
The one issue with duvet covers is actually getting the things on the duvet. It can be tricky, especially with king-sized duvets. The easiest way is to spread the duvet flat on the bed, with the cover turned inside out and the bottom seam facing the bottom of the duvet. The person making the bed then puts her arms inside the cover, grasps the bottom corners of the cover and the bottom corners of the duvet and raises the duvet off the bed, allowing the cover to fall around the duvet. The person can then shake the cover in place over the duvet and secure it at the top.
Duvet covers vary in price, depending on materials, manufacturer and where they are purchased. They are priced starting at about US$45, and they go up from there. However, considering that they can be washed and replaced, they are worth the investment.