A dust ruffle is a piece of cloth that runs along the bottom perimeter of a bed. It serves largely as a decorative piece, but can also help prevents dust from collecting beneath the bed.
Dust ruffles may be used on any size bed, including on a crib. Regardless of the bed it is used on, the ruffle should match the comforter and pillowcases. In some cases, it may also be designed to match the curtains used in the bedroom. The theme used in the color and design of the dust ruffle may also be used in other areas of the room. For example, if there is a chair in the room, it may also include a piece of cloth around its bottom perimeter that matches the one used on the bed.
A dust ruffle may be attached to a bed in several ways. Some use a sort of spandex inlay that allows them to be stretched out around the bed, similar to the way the corners of the bottom sheet on the bed are stretched over the corners of the mattress. Others may also simply wrap around the bed and connect with themselves at one location, though it can be difficult to obtain a tight fit with this type.
Another variation of this decor makes use of Velcro. In this case, both the bed and the dust ruffle have Velcro located at intermittent points. When pushed together, the Velcro pieces help hold the ruffle in place.
Less commonly, the term dust ruffle is used to refer to a ruffle of cloth sewn to the inside bottom hem of a full-length skirt or petticoat. In this use, the cloth is designed to prevent the clothing from getting dirty or worn out. This type of dust ruffle was most popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries.