1. Bedspreads: Bedspreads cover over the entire bed by folding over the bed pillows and hanging all the way to the floor on a standard bed. Standard beds have a drop of 21" from the top of the bed to the floor and 14" from the top of the boxspring to the floor. Bedspreads tend to be not quite as thick and fluffy as comforters. Many bedspreads have coordinating shams to decorate the head of the bed, although they are not a necessity since bedspreads do cover the bed pillows.
2. Comforters: Comforters cover the mattress, but not the boxspring. Since the top and bottom fabrics of a comforter are quilted together with a filling material in between, they are usually fluffier and thicker than a bedspread. Most often, a comforter is used with a dust ruffle to decoratively cover the boxspring and hang to the floor. Since a comforter is not long enough to cover the bed pillows, many people use pillow shams.
3. Duvet Covers: Duvet covers are used to decorate and protect down filled comforters and blankets. They work like giant pillow cases and usually have a button or flap enclosure at one end. The covers can be washed easily and so protect your cozy down comforter, which would be much harder to launder every week. Higher thread count duvet covers also help keep any down that might escape the comforter from a complete get away.
4. Pillow Shams: Pillow shams are decorative pillow covers. Usually flanged, shams are used as extra pillows on beds to hide the bed pillows and coordinate with the outer bed covering, like a bedspread or comforter. Shams come in several different sizes: king, standard and euro.
5. Sheets: Sheets are large rectangular pieces of cotton or linen cloths; used in pairs for bed linens. There is a large variety in the designs, patterns and color range of bed sheets. Sheets may be available in a medley of designs and paterns such as geometircal, floral or plain. A fitted sheet has cotton spandex ends and full elastic to guarantee a snug fit on standard and pillowtop mattresses. In many areas of the world a second flat bed sheet is lain on top of the fitted sheet covering the mattress. This is known as a "top sheet" or "flat sheet". One sleeps between the two bed sheets. Comforters and other bed covers are then placed on top of the second bed sheet.