Bedding is an umbrella term for many different items that you'll find in your bed, and figuring out the difference between some of them may be tricky. While to some people it won't really matter exactly what they're using as bedding, others may only need or want a specific item, so these tips are here to help you learn the difference between them all!
Comforters are thick, quilted blankets that are usually placed as the top layer on your bed. Depending on your climate, you may only sleep with one comforter, or you may use some additional sheets or blankets under the comforter to keep you warm. They often come in a coordinated, matching set with other sheets and pillows.
Duvets are basically the flatter versions of comforters and can be used in the same way -- as the main blanket layer that keeps you warm. However, duvets are meant to act as an insert for duvet covers or slips, making them more universal than comforters. You can mix and match duvets with their covers, without having to stick to one coordinated set like with comforters.
Duvet covers are what most people use to cover their duvets. They are filled out by the duvet (rather than just laying on top of it) and usually attach to it by buttons or ties. They're meant to be easily removable, so you don't have to wash your whole bedding set, and are interchangeable with other covers. They can be used with comforters as well, though not all sizes will fit -- comforters are usually larger and thicker than duvets.
A coverlet (also sometimes known as a bedspread) is a simple, thin, non-reversible top layer that's usually only used for decorative purposes on the bed. They don't attach to any other bedding pieces and can be bought either as individual items or as part of a bedding set. Coverlets can also be used on other furniture like chairs and sofas as decoration or a protective layer.
Quilts are traditionally made up of three layers, with the top layer displaying an attractive pattern. They have two main uses, acting as the main blanket layer when it's hot, and as an additional warm topper for colder days. Although it isn't necessary, some people may choose to use a duvet cover with a quilt.