A bedspread is a traditional covering that covers the entire bed and extends to the floor. The pillows are also covered by the bedspread. Whereas, a coverlet is a modern covering that is long enough to cover the box spring and is used with a bed skirt that reaches the floor. Usually the coverlet and top sheet is pulled back about 1/3 of the way with the decorative pillows sitting at the head of the bed.
Today quilts are designed to be used as bedspreads (Traditional Style) and coverlets (Modern Style). In general, a bedspread will have boarders on all for sides and cover the pillows; whereas, the coverlet will have the hanging boarders on only three sides to allow decorative pillows to sit on top of the head of the bed.