There are endless options when it comes to furnishing a home, which can lead to a lot of decision fatigue. In zeroing in more specifically on decorating the bedroom, even after you’ve picked out your mattress and bed frame, you have to decide what goes on the bed. How many pillows? Cooling sheets or super-sustainable ones? And then, you have to pick the topper. Within this single bedding choice, a number of questions arise, specifically surrounding the issue of down versus down alternative duvet.
When remote stylist manager Mindy King asked me where I stood on down versus down alternative for duvet fills during my last bedroom styling consultation with bedding and homewares brand Parachute, I froze. My new space needed bedding (colors and fabrics) so the brand offered us a complimentary session (to help me design or redesign my space). Even as we discussed the subject of the duvet, I couldn’t resist picking her brain as soon as we reached the topic. Because, well, I had no idea what my needs and wants were.
Whether one chooses down or an alternative down fill for their duvet, as with most home-decor choices, there are some considerations to ensure the right choice is made for a person’s specific lifestyle.
Alternative fills to down: What are the real differences?
Here is the material
The feathers beneath a duck’s or goose’s down serve as insulating layers for the body. Would anyone want to sleep under said insulation? King says down is great for someone looking for a luxurious, warm night’s sleep, saying it’s a perfect choice for hotels.
By contrast, synthetic alternatives are made of fabrics including cotton, rayon, and polyester, among others. The truth is that you can buy down products certified ethically by a number of nonprofit organizations, but down is not vegan, so if you want to avoid animal byproducts, down alternatives are a better option.
There’s also a health component to consider when choosing a down versus down alternative duvet. “For people with chronic or year-round allergies, down duvets and comforters may not be the best option,” says allergist Neeta Ogden, MD. “Those who have persistent year-round allergy symptoms should think of indoor triggers such as down, which consists of feathers to which people may be allergic, as well as dust mite and mold spores and animal dander to which they may also be allergic..”
Despite usually advising folks to use down alternatives due to the allergens they tend to contain, Dr. Ogden suggests that down alternative duvets do not guarantee health preservation, as they need regular maintenance just like the real thing. According to Dr. Ogden, you should wash your duvet cover or comforter one or two times a month if you experience symptoms (less often if you don’t), since any fibers-including down alternative-can harbor common allergens.
A durable product
Duvets made with down or down alternatives require different maintenance. The safest way to clean a real goose down duvet will always be to take it to the dry cleaner. However, you can often wash it at home with items like Woolite, a gentle cycle followed by Cleaning expert Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer at MaidPro, says down alternative duvets are easier to care for compared to feathered counterparts, as they are often washer and dryer friendly, as well as drying faster.
In either case, Homer says, you should find a quality product to start with in order to start with a clean and maintainable product. Despite the fact that there are incredible down duvets out there that will last you decades, there is also a lot of junk that will pop seams in a year, so shop carefully and read reviews, she advises. If you want to find the best duvet options for you, whatever your preference is, keep reading.
How to choose the best option for each category: down versus down alternatives
Duvet inserts with 3 down feathers
Parachute duvet insert – $249.00
With Parachute’s down alternatives and down duvets, the top is separated from the bottom by a strip of fabric, ensuring that the filling remains fluffy and evenly distributed. Then you’ll be comfortable throughout the night and your bedscape will look beautiful,” King says.
A sateen cotton cover is designed to keep you cool and comfortable all night long. The feathers are encased in premium European feathers.
A set of 6 down duvet inserts
Cloud Buffy – $116.00
Besides being sourced ethically, Buffy Cloud is also sustainably sourced. The shell of each duvet, constructed from eucalyptus fiber, contains 50 recycled plastic bottles in a 100-percent recycled fiber mix. The duvet cover attaches easily with corner loops, making it a functional choice.
Down Alternative Duvet by Casper – $161.00
Using a Tencel-fiber shell, Casper’s down alternative duvet protects against overheating without sacrificing any comfort, thanks to its sewn-in chambers that evenly distribute the fill. While composed of recycled plastic water bottles, the polyester filling does not feel like plastic water bottles (like, well, water bottles). Furthermore, it can be machine-washed.
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