There’s no throw blanket that is the best for all situations. Instead, some throws are a better fit depending on your preferences and how you plan to use it. To lead you to the optimal throw for your home, our guide takes you through the composition of throw blankets and related factors that you should consider when you start researching and shopping.
Having some background about what separates different types of throw blankets can go a long way in helping you find the option that you’ll be most satisfied with.
Type of Throw Blanket
Many of the important details about a throw blanket — such as the weave, material, look, and cleaning — are determined by the type of throw. A decorative throw will usually have a more involved pattern and stylish weave, but it probably won’t be as easy to clean nor will it offer as much warmth. An Afghan, which is crocheted with wide holes in the blanket, is an example as it serves more for appearance than performance. Quilts are often knit with numerous decorative elements such that may be intended more for display than regular use.
Other types of throws, like fleece, are more focused on providing heat and comfort. These normally include softer materials that have a tighter weave and less visual flair.
Specialty throw blankets include products like heated throws. These are all about providing warmth. A heated throw plugs into the wall so that tiny heating elements inside the blanket can be powered up to keep you cozy. Weighted blankets, which have added weight sewn inside, generate a unique feel that can help some people deal with issues like anxiety or stress.
The best choice for the material in a throw will depend a great deal on how you plan to use it. If it’s decorative, then softness, breathability, and insulation won’t be especially relevant. If you want a throw to use all around the house, then a lightweight material has more importance. And if you want a throw for all seasons, then a balance of warmth and airiness is a priority.
For performance-focused throws, fleece is a popular pick. It is made from polyester and is extremely cozy and quite warm. Microfiber throw blankets, which like fleece are made from polyester, offer serious plushness as well. Cotton offers great performance through its soft feel, breathability, and ability to draw moisture away from the body. Flannel uses brushed cotton to give even more loft and warmth to the fabric. Linen throws don’t have the same level of softness but are great at staying cool while at the same time the heavier feel of the fabric can provide a high level of comfort. Blended throws use a mix of fabrics to combine characteristics of these materials.
Several types of naturally-derived materials may also be used in throws. Wool, for example, comes from sheep and is known for its ability to naturally regulate temperature. When it’s cool, it helps insulate heat, but when you’re warm, it can wick away sweat and dry quickly. Down comes from ducks or geese and holds in a ton of heat while remaining extremely soft and light. And though it’s not truly natural, faux fur throws are also popular thanks to their softness and style.
The weave describes how the fabric of the blanket is sewn, and it has a huge impact on both the look and performance of a throw. If a weave is loose, like it is in a crocheted Afghan, then the blanket will have limited heating power because of the large holes in the weave. On the other hand, a very tight weave will trap heat but at the same time can trap moisture, which may leave you feeling sweaty. Consider your plans for using your throw and your preference in material when deciding what kind of weave you’re looking for.
The more you plan to use a throw, the more you’re going to need to clean it. If you’re using it all around the house, it may collect more dust and have even further need for washing. In this case, a material that’s simple to clean can be a huge priority. Throws that are machine-washable, which includes most cotton, polyester, and linen throws, are easiest to clean.
If a throw is just going to be used for decoration, then ease of cleaning it is not nearly as important, and a material that requires hand washing or spot washing may not be an issue. Or if you have a strong preference for material like down or wool, be aware that cleaning must be done with care to avoid damaging the fill.
Regardless of the material, always follow manufacturer instructions about cleaning so that you can get the longest lifespan out of your throw.
Color and Pattern
Because they can be easily draped over other furniture, throw blankets are regularly used to add color or pop to home decor. In this way, they are often used alongside similar items like throw pillows or area rugs. They can also be used to cover up a blemish or stain on a piece of living room furniture.
For some customers, this is the main reason they want a throw, and in that case, make sure to pick a throw with a color, pattern, and weave that will draw out the visual style of your interior decorating.
As you’re weighing one throw blanket against another, there are a few other factors that you might keep in mind. For example, take a look at the return policy. Find out if you will have the opportunity to get a refund if you try out the throw and don’t like it. You’ll find many companies offer 30 days to get a full refund if you find you want to return a blanket.
Another consideration is whether the components of the throw are made with organic materials. If you place a premium on organic fabrics, or if you have health issues related to dyes or chemicals, then it makes sense to focus on throws made with natural and/or organic materials. Make sure to look for quality certifications, such as from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), GREENGUARD, Oeko-Tex, or similar organizations, before trusting that a product is organic or free of harmful chemicals.