Blanket vs. Throw: What's the Difference?
A blanket or throw can make your bed cozy and warm, but these types of bedding serve different purposes. Blankets add a layer of warmth under or on top of your other bed linens. A throw is a decorative accent draped at the foot of your bed.
Like other types of bedding, a throw is technically a type of blanket. But here’s how to decipher the difference between a blanket and a throw.
Blanket vs. Throw: Size
Blankets and throws can vary in size, but a throw usually has a smaller footprint. A standard throw is 50″ x 60″ and can cover one person. Sometimes they might be a few inches longer to really up the cozy factor. Other throws are even smaller than the standard size if they are designed solely for decoration.
A blanket is typically larger than a throw but smaller than a comforter or duvet. Blankets are often sized according to the mattress it needs to cover. So, blanket sizes will usually range from Twin to California King.
Blanket vs. Throw: Material
Blankets and throws are typically made from a single layer of fabric without fill. Blankets are available in various thicknesses and fabrics but are often made with cotton or wool. Cotton offers a thinner material that’s more hot sleeper friendly, while wool is a heavier option ideal for trapping heat in the colder months. Blankets are also made with synthetic fabrics like polyester or acrylic. Weighted blankets are another option that strays from traditional blanket materials since they contain beads or fabric inside two fabric layers.
Throws placed on top of a bed and used for getting cozy can be made with almost any bedding fabric. Some popular lightweight throws are made from cotton, linen, or microfibre. For aesthetics, throws are often made with materials that offer more texture, like knit. Other throws use soft fabrics—like fleece or cashmere—that feel soft and offer warmth.
Blanket vs. Throw: Uses
Blankets add another warm layer to your bed. This can either be under the top layer of your bed linens or on top of your bedding to change your decor. Folks can also use a lightweight blanket instead of a comforter, duvet, or bedspread for cooler summertime sleeping.
Throws have a more decorative purpose and are often placed on a bed or chair to add textures and colors to your room. However, throws can also double as a way to stay warm and cozy while lounging on your bed. If you occasionally need another layer at night, you can also wrap up in a throw for extra warmth.
How to Choose
Torn between a blanket or a throw for your bedroom? Here are some factors to consider.
Function: If you need more warmth at night, a blanket is an ideal layer to add to your bed. It can also refresh the design of your room. A throw can add color and texture without a large footprint if you strictly want a more aesthetic bed. A throw can also double as a way to cover yourself while reading or watching TV.
Size: If you want to cover your entire bed—either for a style element or warmth—blankets come in various mattress sizes. So a blanket can do the job if you need to cover a King bed or two people. Throws are typically smaller, often with just enough fabric to drape the foot of your bed or cover a single person.
Material: Blankets tend to be made of tightly knit materials like cotton or wool to provide warmth and feel smooth without bulk. These can be in a variety of colors or patterns. Throws can be any material but may also come in chunkier knit fabrics that add more texture to your bedding.
Cost: Both throws and blankets will usually cost less than filled bed covers, but the material and size of your blanket or throw can up the price. Because a blanket has more material than a throw, a quality blanket will usually cost more—sometimes upwards of $100. However, you can find some cheaper blankets for under $20.
Other Bedding Options
If a throw or blanket isn’t what you’re looking for, here are some additional options to cover your bed:
- Bedspread. A lightweight, woven cover that often reaches the floor. A bedspread will provide some warmth, but it is a lighter option.
- Coverlet. A thin bed cover that ends at the area between your mattress and bed frame. A coverlet can be layered with other bedding or used alone.
- Quilt. Three-layer bedding consisting of an intricate quilt top, soft batting, and a bottom layer of fabric. A quilt is lightweight and often feels airy.
- Comforter. An outer shell filled evenly with down or synthetic alternatives for plusher bedding. A comforter’s additional insulation also makes it feel warm and fluffy.
- Duvet. Two pieces of bedding that include a cover and insert filled with down or synthetic alternatives. A duvet is usually warmer and fuller than a comforter.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the point of a throw blanket?
Throws are placed on chairs or bedding to add decorative colors and textures to your space. As a bonus, you can also grab a throw to stay cozy and warm.
Is a throw bigger than a blanket?
A throw is typically smaller than a blanket since it’s not designed to cover a bed. Even a Twin-sized blanket at 66″ x 90″ would still be bigger than a standard 50″ x 60″ throw.
Why is it called a throw?
A throw gets its name because it is often “thrown” on a chair or bed to add a design element to your space.
The terms blanket and throw are often used interchangeably, but these types of bedding serve different purposes. Blankets are designed to cover the entire mattress and offer another layer of warmth. A throw is designed to cover one person and add design flair on top of your bed. Both bedding covers can help keep you warm, but you’ll get more coverage from a blanket. A blanket can also replace a bedspread, duvet, or comforter if you desire a lighter bed cover.
Shin M, et al. (2016). The effects of fabric for sleepwear and bedding on sleep at ambient temperatures of 17°C and 22°C. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4853167/