A throw blanket is an easy, cost effective element to add big style to your home! Compared to bigger investments like furniture, rugs, & wall paint, a throw blanket allows you to take a bit more risk & have fun.
In choosing & styling the perfect throw blanket for your home, there are several considerations for what will make the best functional & attractive solution. Color, size, style, texture, location, and your own personal design style all come into play. Here are expert tips for choosing a perfect throw blanket!
How to Choose a Throw Blanket Based on Your Home Design Style
Do you have a “style” that you tend towards? If so, your decor affinity will offer hints towards some dos and don'ts, based on general style principles. Below is a basic description of some popular style categories, and tips for blanket-picking for each.
Mid-century modern: MCM broadly describes the design elements from roughly 1945 - 1965, characterized by clean lines, gentle organic curves, geometric shapes, & minimal ornamentation.
Choosing a throw blanket: Do go for something with a shape, not florals or organic looks. Do pick a blanket that is more structured, clean-looking. Don’t pick a blanket with a lot of variation in color; do go for 2 colors of variation max.
Minimalist: “Less is more”, little clutter, clean lines, & open space are characteristic of a minimalist style. Black & white are common. Scandinavian style is similar, with more natural elements like warm wood & plant life (creating a more intimate, homey feel, but with the same minimal priority).
Choosing a throw blanket: Don’t be scared to have an accent! Even with a minimal style, you can still use some layers to help add warmth & depth. Do go for something that is neutral or color-blocked. If you like a patterned throw, do pick a consistent shape in the pattern, like a geometric pattern or lines, rather a wild floral or organic pattern. Do try a different texture of blanket or fabric (sheepskin, chunky-knit) if you want the blanket to be the same color as the couch, walls, etc.
Farmhouse: Cozy without the clutter, country without the kitsch, farmhouse style appreciates the traditional without being delicate. Think big, comfy furniture, reclaimed wood (& other salvaged materials), vintage accessories, and all things Magnolia/Joanna Gaines!
Choosing a throw blanket: Do bring in the same color or color palette — if you have a blue rug or curtains, for example, pick a blue throw in a lighter or darker shade. Do try to coordinate with other elements in the room (but don't go too matchy, or it will defeat the "collected" vibe of this style) . Do prioritize useability, function, & comfort. Do feel free to mix textures. Don’t go too small with a blanket or it will get lost in oversized furniture.
Traditional: Comforting & classic, many of us have grown up in a home with traditional style. Think consistent, matching furnishings, placed in pairs & centered in the room. Comfortable, gentle curves, understated. Beige tones, browns, upholstered furniture, and classic style lamps & window coverings are all at home in the traditional style.
Choosing a throw blanket: This style is never chaotic, but proponents are not afraid of color! Do pick autumn colors in bold shades, or a complementary teal to enliven the browns. Don’t focus on unique or big textures for your throw. Do stick to consistent proportions. Do feel free to choose any kind of pattern — this is a low-risk way to bring some fun & character to the room.
Eclectic: This does not mean a haphazard mismatch of random items; the eclectic style draws from a blend of time periods & style, blended together with mindful scale, space, color, shape, & texture to create a beautiful harmonious space, not limited by a defined era or look.
Choosing a throw blanket: Balance is key, so your throw should mimic something else in the room. Is there a collection of colorful globes on one side of the room? Match the splash of color with a bright throw on the opposing couch. Don’t think everything should match perfectly. Do consider balance & scale. Don’t be afraid to mix textures, to bring in global/ethnic elements, or to be very bold with your throw.
Ikea: Of course, Ikea offers a variety of style affinities, and there is no one "Ikea" look. But, many of us (especially starting out) have homes filled with basics & pieces from Ikea that appear in hundreds of thousands of other homes around the world! With a basis of common, Ikea furnishings comes an opportunity to showcase one-of-a-kind, unique accessories — a chance to make a blanket a true highlight of the room!
Choosing a blanket: Ikea provides a nice, clean, simple start to add any pattern to, so don't worry about going too bold or needing to match with your furniture. Do go for a throw that is unique, that stands out. Do pick something you really love. Anything you add to an Ikea background will make everything look nicer, so have fun!
What Size of Throw Blanket Should I Buy?
Does size matter? Of course!
Function & Size
Function is the biggest factor when you’re considering the dimensions of different throw blankets. Ask yourself:
How am I going to use it? Where am I going to put it? And, what am I going to put it on?
In a more casual family room or entertainment room, you might want a larger blanket to cuddle under. In a more styled or formal room, the throw is for the occasional chill, not a full-blown cozy up.
When Big Blankets Are Best
If the throw blanket is for a couch, lean towards a bigger rather than smaller throw. You want a complement to the couch & to the decor, so the blanket needs to have some presence. It can’t be so small that it is sinking into the cracks or disappearing under a pillow.
When Smaller Blankets Are Ideal
If the throw is primarily for a pop of color or texture — more for the style than functional need — smaller may do the trick, or even be preferable. Small throws work well for an armchair, or folded over a couch arm or on a bench; they don't impose over the size of the furniture (creating an imbalance).
Small is also perfect if the pattern, color, or presence is very bold or wild! In this case, a little dose to the eye can be better than visual overload. But, this can also be accomplished with larger throws, in the way that you fold them.
How Many Throw Blankets Should I Have?
How many is too many? That depends entirely on how you display/store them, how you use them, and how chilly you are in your house!
The "Rule of Three"
This design principle offers a great start. There is something eye-catching about this asymmetrical number; it is visually more interesting than symmetry or matching items. If you're focused on one area, try styling:
- 2 pillows & 1 blanket
- 3 pillows & 2 blankets
- 2 layered blankets & 1 pillow
What if I looooove blankets?
If you have LOTS of blankets, here are a few ideas for managing them in an aesthetic way:
- Use a basket to hold them; it acts like another piece of furniture, but is also functional — it's not just a basket for the sake of styling.
- Similarly, a ladder against a wall is another way to display blankets and incorporate another piece into your space. Like a basket, this functions as a piece of furniture, but even more like a piece of art. If you have some blankets that are particularly beautiful & display-worthy, this is a perfect option.
- Incorporate a pile of similar weight throws into your decor. There is something very appealing about a stack of folded blankets!
Choosing A Throw Blanket For Different Areas of the House
There are many principles in design that will be true regardless of where in your house you are focusing! But, there are some location-specific considerations, too:
Throw Blankets In The Bedroom
Why would I want a throw blanket in a bedroom?
Like in most interior styling choices, a throw blanket offers a way to bring color, texture, and interest into the look of the room. It is a way to add visual interest to your bedscape or sitting chair; something to draw the eye and make a big impact at a low cost relative to furniture, paint, and bedding choices.
How would I style a throw blanket in my bedroom?
If you do not have an endboard on your bed, a well-placed blanket on the end of your bed will add a nice, rounded-out look. There is something luxurious about an additional layer of textiles on the bed — like a hotel look in your own home.
Lay a throw across the corner of your bed in a diagonal, for an eye-catching, asymmetrical look. Or, if you do have an endboard, you can drape the blanket over the endboard, or lay it parallel to the end for a tidy look. If your style is more contemporary, with squared, clean lines, a neatly folded blanket, parallel or perpendicular to other elements is best.
Considerations when choosing a throw for the bedroom
- If you want to use a throw as a design piece for visual interest, the key will be contrast to your bedding.
- If you have neutral bedding, this is a great opportunity to bring in a bold color.
- For patterned bedding, don't be afraid of mixing & matching patterns. The goal is to stand out, not try to blend them in together. For example, if you have stripes on your bedding, don’t add a smaller stripe as a complement, or it will get lost. Instead, use a plaid or a floral. If your bedding is very busy, you can choose a throw in a more neutral tone, but with an interesting texture.
- One tendency is to want to match your blanket accent to art on the walls, but don't worry about the art! (It should be complementary to the paint color more than anything). It is better to match your throw blanket with what’s on the bed, rather than what is in the rest of the room. For a throw, focus on how it will play with the bedding, shams, & throw pillows.
Throw Blankets In The Living Room
Basics for Choosing a Throw Blanket for a Living Room
When creating a stylish look for your living space, it’s all about layers & balance. Build layers up from the biggest, investment items in your space: furniture, rug, & curtains. Each of these elements creates a layer of visual interest, with final touches like a throw & pillows as the “top”, or final, layer.
Because a rug and the curtains are also features, these elements are key to keep in mind when you are choosing a throw — they need to be complementary and not competitive.
Balance in the room … Imagine a teeter totter — if one side of the room has bold visuals, patterned curtains, and a colorful throw, while the other side of the room is neutral or bare, the room will read to the eyes as an imbalance (the 10-year old & the toddler on either end of a seesaw). In this case, consider moving the colorful blanket to the other side of the room. Or, if you have a room full of neutrals, but would like a bolder throw, consider adding another bold element to an opposing side: maybe a throw pillow, a selection of colorful books, a bright piece of art, etc.
Matching is not a priority so much as complementing. Contrasts between darks & lights are appealing to the eye. For example, if you have a light blue rug, don’t try to color-match the same blue in a blanket or other highlight. Instead, bring in a darker blue on the couch with your throw. Differences in texture will also add dimension.
The traditional house layout — of a more formal living room and a separate, more casual living room — is largely passing out of style & architecture. However, if this is still a reality in your home, the look vs. functionality of these rooms is a big factor. In a living room, you may be choosing a throw more for the look, whereas in a family room, function becomes more valuable; you can choose a larger blanket, or pick more based on comfort than on style alone.
How could I style a throw blanket in my living room?
Styling throws for a living room certainly depends on your particular style (as alluded to above):
- For a more contemporary style, or an unobtrusive minimalist style, symmetrical is a natural look. Place a throw in the middle of a couch rather than at the edge, and fold it neatly. For placement, go with right angles to other furniture. It could be draped directly in the middle of a couch, or using the golden ratio at about ⅔ (a pleasing proportion to the eye).
- An eclectic look matches well with bunched or a more “messy” blanket look. Farmhouse, too, favours coziness, so a bunched-up look is welcoming & homey — a perfect fit for this style. But, a messy-styled blanket is more of a feature in itself, so pillows should be in a different spot.
To keep in mind when styling a throw in your living room:
- The way that blankets (& pillows) are styled truly does affect how people interact with your space. When pillows & blankets are neatly folded & perfectly styled, people tend to feel less invited; they will perch on the edge. This is especially true if the space is overstuffed with pillows & blankets, leaving barely any room to sit!. A less “perfect” or symmetrical placement will feel more inviting to guests in the space. Even placing a blanket on the diagonal tends to feel more welcoming.
- If you have a (fairly typical) living room arrangement of a couch & two sitting chairs, a blanket on every piece is probably overkill. You could maintain balance by keeping a throw on the couch, one on a chair, and a throw pillow on the other chair.
- Displaying or storage of your throws is a combination of form & function. Of course, you can display a throw right on a couch or chair. If you have multiple throw blankets, you can use a basket to avoid clutter, or tuck them away in a piece of furniture that doubles as storage. A wall ladder is an alternative option particularly if your blanket is display-worthy; the ladder adds visual interest to the room, creating a pseudo-art piece against the wall.
Throw Blankets In Other Parts of the House
Beyond the bedroom & living room, throw blankets can add a functional & stylish addition to several other spots around your home.
Casual Dining Areas
In a more casual dining area (with a banquette or bench, for example), sunroom, or coffee nook, a blanket in the mix doesn't often come to mind. But, dragging my kids out of their warm beds to get going in the morning can be... a drag! If eaters can keep their sloppiness in check, a throw can add a relaxed vibe, a bit of coziness, or (again) a pop of color to a casual dining area decor.
Choose a throw that is easily washable & not too bulky. Just a little something thin to wrap around chilly shoulders over a bowl of Cheerios!
Window Seats & Other Nooks
In a larger home, there are extra little nooks for sitting, reading... and styling! A well placed throw blanket creates an inviting atmosphere to take a seat & use these spaces for their intended purposes.
A collection of throws can offer the perfect encouragement to enjoy outdoor spaces during the shoulder season or over late nights once the sun has disappeared.
The trick here is to balance the practicality (taking care of blankets, with the elements of the outdoors in mind!) with the aesthetic. The ideal set-up is probably to have airtight storage available to protect blankets from moisture & pests — either some kind of ottoman storage, or bring them indoors at night. But, also to have a way to display or store them in an inviting way when the space is being used by yourself or guests.
Our favorite restaurant keeps a wine crate full of rolled-up throw blankets for their patrons to use on the patio. It's elegant and considerate, and at the same time cozy and fun. You can recreate the same vibe in your own home (well, just outside of it ;).
Summing Up: How to Choose a Throw Blanket
Take risks! A throw blanket is inexpensive relative to other elements in your decor; switching up a bold choice down the line (if you need to) is totally worth it.
Choose something you love! There are so many varieties, colors, textures, and sizes of throw blankets, you do not have to compromise with something dull or that doesn't feel good.
- This little element can add big style to your space. Consider how your blanket choice and its placement can up the look of everything else in the room.
Throws can go just about anywhere! Think outside of the box about how a throw blanket might be the perfect addition to a neglected corner or piece of furniture.
- The way you style a blanket impacts how people interact with your space: asymmetrical and not overly perfect styling will encourage others (and yourself!) to feel comfortable.
- Have fun! Style is not about perfect rules, but about enjoying a space that is pleasing to your eyes & feels good to spend time in.
I hope this in-depth look at choosing throw blankets has been helpful to you! Many thanks to our expert interior designer, Amanda Bryant, for all of her insight & blanket ninja tips.