Comparing a Bed Skirt vs. Dust Ruffle - Definitive Guide (2023)

When it comes to bedding pieces for your home, the term bed skirt and dust ruffle are interchangeably used to refer to the same bedding product. Both terminologies are correct as both refer to a decorative fabric that is used to cover the area between the bottom edge of your mattress and the floor.

When comparing bed skirts vs. dust ruffles, there is no difference. A bed skirt, often referred to as a dust ruffle, is designed to cover a box spring, create a hidden storage space under the bed, and provide a barrier against dust accumulation underneath the bed.

What Is a Bed Skirt?

Comparing a Bed Skirt vs. Dust Ruffle - Definitive Guide (1)This ruffled bed skirt stylishly fills the gap between the bed frame and the floor. Image from Amazon.

Bed skirts and dust ruffles can serve both aesthetic and practical functions. One of the most important functions a bed skirt can serve is to reduce dust collection under and around the bed. This article from The European Respiratory Journal titled, “Effect of a bed covering system in children with asthma and house dust mite hypersensitivity,” explains that using the correct high-quality bedding items can dramatically influence the allergic reactions of children with asthma.

A bed skirt, often referred to as a dust ruffle, is a decorative piece of fabric designed to prevent dust from accumulating under a bed. It can also cover a box spring and the space underneath while improving the overall aesthetics of a bedroom.

Items that are stored underneath the bed can be easily hidden by a decorative bed skirt that complements your bedroom style, while also adding a luxurious look. Read our article on platform bed skirts to learn more about its historical function.

What Is the Difference Between a Bed Skirt vs. Dust Ruffle?

A bed skirt keeps dust and dirt from getting under your bed and is a great way to add another decorative element to your bedroom decor. It can hide parts of your bed frame, and other unsightly storage while incorporating an elegant touch to your bed and entire bedroom.

It is available in different styles—either with pleats or in a flat panel, gathered into ruffles.

There is no difference between a bed skirt vs. a dust ruffle. Both products are designed to upgrade a bed’s appearance while concealing the area from the box spring to the floor.

Below is a summary of the pros and cons of a bed skirt:

Pros of Dust Ruffles and Bed SkirtsCons of Dust Ruffles and Bed Skirts
Comes in a variety of styles to bring color, pattern, and textures to your bedroom.You must ensure that a bed skirt is installed properly to reduce sliding and shifting.
Conceals your box spring and the space under the bed.Different lengths may not fit every bed height. Learn about bed skirt uses and how to measure a bed skirt in our article.
Allows you to use the space under the bed to store items out of sight while keeping them easily accessible.Some models require lifting up or removing the mattress, which may be a hassle if the mattress is large and heavy.

Also, make sure to take a look at how to choose the best bed skirt shoe organizer to find out how to use this dual-purpose bed skirt.

What Is a Bed Skirt Used for?

Comparing a Bed Skirt vs. Dust Ruffle - Definitive Guide (2)This bed skirt is installed without having to lift a heavy mattress. It hides your box spring and bed frame unsightly while adding a stylish touch to your bed. Image from Amazon.

A bed skirt allows you to store things out of sight while keeping them easily within reach. Some bed skirts have spit panels at their corners to enable quick access to the stored items without having to maneuver the whole bed skirt out of place. Read our bed skirt style guide for some interesting ideas on ways to incorporate the various bed skirt types into your bedroom decor.

A bed skirt is used to keep the dust from getting under the bed. It can also hide under-bed storage, the bed frame, and the mattress foundation.

Different Types of Bed Skirts

1. Wrap Around

Wrap around bed skirts are made of three side panels sewn together as one piece. They are easy to instal, as you don’t have to lift the whole mattress or remove the sheets to replace them. they come in different colors and styles, and are inexpensive. This fade resistant bed skirt from Amazon has an elastic edge that can be positioned around the bed without ever having to lift the mattress.

Pros of Wrap Around Bed Skirts or Dust RufflesCons of Wrap Arounds
They are easy to install and replaceThey don’t have split corners
They are inexpensiveThey can slide and shift
They are available in various colors and stylesTheir elastic band may stretch out

2. Linen

Linen bed skirts are made of three panels positioned in between the mattress and the box spring. The panels are easily pinned into the box spring to conceal it along with other parts of the bed frame. They can be available in different styles such as gathered, pleated, tailored or layered, all of which offer an elegant and luxurious look. This classic pleated bed skirt from Amazon adds style to the bed by hiding away clutter.

Pros of Linen Dust RufflesCons of Linen Dust Ruffles (aka Bed Skirts)
They come in different styles and colorsThey require removing the mattress
They hide the space under the bed and keep the dust awayOnly available in popular or trending colors
They are cost effectiveThe bed skirt pins used to hang them might come loose

3. Canvas

Canvas bed skirts are very thick and opaque so they can be used to store items out of sight under the bed. The platform is usually polyester, while the drop is canvas cotton. They are washable, but might need steaming after unboxing to hang correctly. This cotton canvas bed skirt from Amazon is machine washable so it is easy to clean.

Pros of Canvas Bed Skirts and Dust RufflesCons of Canvas Bed Skirts / Dust Ruffles
They offer a polished and luxurious look to your bedThey require length adjustment
They maintain brightness and hides your box spring and whatever is under itWrinkles may appear easily
They are easy to cleanThey are available in limited styles

4. Velcro

Velcro bed skirts are the best in terms of installation and removal. They can be attached to the box spring without having to lift up or remove the mattress. This easy on, easy off bed skirt from Amazon comes in three pieces for effortless installation, and removal when cleaning.

Advantages of Velcro Bed SkirtsDisadvantages of Velcro Bed Skirts
They are easily installed and replacedMust Be Careful To Place Evenly
They can be added to other types of bed skirtsAdhesive Can Stop Sticking
They prevent the fabric from shiftingFeels Stiff When Attached

5. Split Corner

A split corner bed skirt has a vertical slit that runs through the middle of each corner at the foot of the skirt. This slit fits easily around a bed post leg. It also allows the foot panel of the skirt to tuck behind the footboard. Split corner bed skirts are the most purchased type of bed skirt and are available in massive rainbow colors. This split corner bed skirt from Amazon has a 14-inch drop to hide the stored items under your bed and a pleat on each side for an added element of style.

Advantages of Split Corner Dust Ruffles / Bed SkirtsDisadvantages of Split Corner Dust Ruffles/Bed Skirts
They are available in various colorsFinding the right drop size may be challenging
Perfect fit at the cornersTheir prices increase with size of bed
They create a classic look in your bedroomThey need extra care at the slits when cleaned

For more information, make sure to take a look different types of bed skirts and their uses too. You might also find our article about common bed skirt designs and their benefits useful as well.

Alternative Ideas for Bed Skirts and Dust Ruffles

Here are some bed skirt alternatives. We cover 10 different bed skirt alternatives in our other article, if you are interested in exploring further.

1. Use a Box Spring Cover

A box spring cover disguises your box spring and protects it from getting worn out over time. When comparing a box spring cover vs. bed skirt vs. dust ruffle, remember that a box spring cover is designed to only cover the box spring. It doesn’t cover the space under the bed like a bed skirt or a dust ruffle. It gives your bed a neat and polished look, and is designed specifically to fit box springs. However it does not hide the bed frame nor the area underneath the box spring because it fits snugly to the box spring without any loose fabric draping over the edges like a bed skirt. If you don;t store items under your bed then a box spring cover is a good way to dress up your bed without having to use a bed skirt. This box spring cover from Amazon is completely elasticated for a perfect fit.

Comparing a Bed Skirt vs. Dust Ruffle - Definitive Guide (3)When comparing a box spring cover vs. a bed skirt vs. dust ruffle, know the difference. Here’s a box spring cover from amazon that covers the box spring but not the bed frame or space under the bed frame — bed skirts and dust ruffles would cover that space as well. Image from Amazon.

2. Fitted Sheets

An extra fitted sheet is a great substitute for a bed skirt. It won’t cover the frame or the space under the bed, but it still gives the bed an elegant minimalist appearance. Make sure you find the right size and choose a dark color to conceal the design of your box spring completely. This microfiber fitted sheet from Amazon is a durable option for covering a box spring because of its dark color.

3. Bed Skirt Pins

While they aren’t an alternative to bed skirts directly, DIYers can use the combination of a bed skirt pin + a piece of fabric to cover the sides of a bed. Bed skirt pins basically are cork-screw-like fasteners with clear or invisible heads. They can be used to secure any type of bed skirt that you already have or made on yourself. They can be used to pin a flat sheet to the box spring to work as a bed skirt without worrying about readjusting it. These twist pins from Amazon come in a pack of fifty anti-rust pins which can be easily inserted into the box spring without snagging the fabric. Make sure to take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to use bed skirt pins for more information.

4. Make Your Own DIY Bed Skirt Using Fabric

If you have beginner to intermediate-level sewing skills then making your own bed skirt won’t be a struggle. It’s very easy to stitch together your preferred fabric and sew a hem. Follow this tutorial on Youtube to help you make your own bed skirt. The patterned cotton fabric from Amazon will add an interesting focal point to a bedroom. Read our article on quick and easy bed skirt hacks that goes into more detail about how to sew your own bed skirt.

5. Use Curtains

Curtains, especially window valances, make beautiful bed skirts. They just need to be positioned on top of the box spring and secured with bed skirt pins. Choose the length that you want to create a stylish appearance that goes with your bedroom decor. You can find a wide selection of window valence of different prints and colors like this one from Amazon.

Are Bed Skirts Supposed to Touch the Floor?

Bed skirts cascade towards the floor to offer a neat and fresh bed appearance. A long gathered bed skirt gives a more traditional look and completely conceals clutter under the bed, which helps a person feel less stressed. This article from ScienceDirect investigates the association between visual clutter and well-being.

Bed skirts are supposed to touch the floor to minimize the amount of dust that gathers under a bed. Bed skirts that gather on the floor give a more traditional look while bed skirts that kiss a floor give a more modern or contemporary look.

The proper length of a bed skirt should be measured from the floor to the top of the box spring. This length is called the drop. Consider taking one inch off the measurement to make the drop of your bed skirt stop slightly above the floor. From there, you can begin choosing or customizing the most suitable bed skirt for your bed. If you want to add an interesting detail to your bed skirt that sits slightly off the floor then add some trim like this one from Amazon.

In a Nutshell

Bed skirts or dust ruffles are an easy way to quickly elevate the overall look and feel of a bedroom, because they can immediately cover up clutter and hide unsightly storage or bed frame legs. The options for bed skirts are plentiful and you will be able to find one that closely matches your color-scheme and aesthetic. If you want to learn more about bed skirts and dust ruffles than have a look at our article about 10 bed skirt alternatives and their pros and cons.


What is the difference between a bedskirt and a dust ruffle? ›

The term dust ruffle and bed skirt are both correct terminology when it comes to luxury bedding pieces for your home. Each is referring to the exact same bedding product, so it is no surprise you may be confused! It is really just a matter of preference as to what you call it in your part of the country or world.

What is the drop of a standard bedskirt? ›

A standard bed skirt drop is 14 inches, but longer or shorter options are available. For example, if your mattress height is 16 inches, choose a 16-inch drop length—or, if you prefer a shorter bed skirt, choose a 15-inch drop. For a box spring cover, simply choose your mattress size—no drop measurement required.

Do bedskirts keep dust out? ›

A bed skirt hangs down far enough to block the accumulation of most dust particles, which is why it is also referred to as a "dust ruffle". A buildup of dust can lead to dust mites and other unpleasantness.

Do people still use dust ruffles on beds? ›

Q: Do people still use bedskirts? A: Yes! If your bed rests on a boxspring and metal frame, a bedskirt is a must for hiding the "skeleton" of your beautiful bed.

Should your bedskirt match your comforter? ›

Does the bed skirt need to match the bedding? It is not necessary to match the bed skirt to the comforter and other bedding on your bed. Try to pull a color in that is currently on your bedding as the skirt will offset and add a bit of creative element to the room. A bed skirt and a bed valance are the same thing.

What can you use instead of a bedskirt? ›

Bed skirt alternatives include fitted or flat sheets, curtains, box spring wraps, and rugs. These ideas serve the same function as bed skirts, hide a wooden or metallic bed frame, and create a modern look.


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