Throw vs. Blanket: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated On January 24th, 2024
Throw vs. Blanket: What’s the Difference?

Key Takeaways

  • Size and Purpose Distinction: Throws and blankets differ in size and intended usage. Blankets are larger, designed to cover the entire bed for warmth during sleep, while throws are smaller and primarily used for decorative accents, adding style and warmth to furniture like sofas and chairs.
  • Materials and Textures: Blankets typically feature smoother and uniform textures, offering various materials such as cotton, down, synthetics, and bamboo, catering to different preferences and seasonal needs. Throws, on the other hand, provide a range of cozy and soft fabrics, including wool, fleece, cashmere, Egyptian cotton, and linen, ideal for adding a touch of comfort and style to your living space.
  • Functionality and Usage Considerations: If you prioritize decorative elements and want to spruce up your furniture or living space, a throw can be an excellent choice. However, if you seek additional warmth for your bed or a cozy layer during colder nights, a traditional blanket would be more suitable.

Throws and blankets, you know, the soft cloth bundles that find their way around the house—couches, beds, and sometimes even the kitchen on chilly mornings when you need extra warmth, right? But, wait! They’re not quite the same.

Although they both belong to the big family of blankets, they aren’t identical twins. You see, throws are all about adding that special touch to your living space, making it look good and cozy. They focus on style over staying super warm. On the flip side, traditional blankets (which can also look awesome) are all about keeping you snug and toasty.

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Let’s dive into the throw and blanket debate, exploring the key differences between them, and how each can turn your home into a warm and stylish haven.

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​What Is a Blanket?

A traditional blanket is more than just a piece of fabric; it’s your go-to partner to stay cozy and warm on chilly nights. Are you wondering if a blanket could be the perfect addition to complete your bed setup? Or if you’re sharing with a partner, separate blankets for couples to keep warm but not too warm at night?

Let’s explore the usefulness of a bedding blanket.


Bedding blankets are designed to cover the whole bed, and they come in different blanket sizes that match specific bed types:

  • Twin: 66 x 90 inches
  • Full: 80 x 90 inches
  • Queen: 90 x 100 inches
  • King: 108 x 100 inches
  • California King: 104 x 108 inches


Standard blankets typically remain fixed on the bed, where they play a vital role in keeping you warm, sandwiched between the sheets and any duvet, quilt or comforter.

But they also bring a touch of flair with their patterns or colors, letting you style a king bed or any smaller bed with ease. And in warmer seasons, the blanket can even be the bed’s standout top layer.


Regular blankets differ from throws in their smooth and uniform texture; you won’t find chunky knits or plush fuzz here. Instead, you’ll encounter thinner fabrics, including:

Cotton – Cotton is soft, breathable, and offers warmth without straining your wallet. For an extra touch of coziness.

Down – When you need a blanket to combat the cold, down is your friend. It comes from the soft underbelly feathers of ducks and geese, making it ideal for winter bedroom makeovers. However, keep in mind that some sleepers might find it too warm or lacking in airflow.

Synthetics – If you’re on the hunt for an economical and robust blanket choice, synthetic fabrics such as polyester and acrylic are excellent options. They are lightweight and easy to wash, but they need proper care to maintain their quality.

Bamboo – Bamboo blankets offer a soft and eco-friendly option. They are moisture-wicking and lightweight, making them suitable for year-round use. See also bamboo vs cotton.

What Is a Throw?

A smaller blanket with a big impact, a throw blanket isn’t just about warmth. Whether you’re snuggling up for a quick nap or aiming to spruce up your home’s style, a throw blanket is your go-to accessory that’s perfect for any time of day.


Throws are designed to wrap around your body, not to cover your bed, and they come in various sizes, with the standard throw blanket measuring about 50 x 60 inches, making it a versatile choice to provide warmth during an afternoon siesta or as an accent piece for your armchair.


Unlike your standard blanket, throw blankets are a stylish addition to any home, adding versatility as you transition from the couch to bed. You can even use them as part of making a bed look like a couch.

These trendy layers enhance your home decor with unique colors, textures, and patterns, offering a comfortable nap with just the right amount of warmth. Though they may not excel at trapping heat like cozy faux fur blankets.


Throws offer boundless options for materials because they don’t need to fit snugly between bedding layers. Commonly, people prefer cozy and soft fabrics for their throws or coverlets, making them ideal for naps. Look out for these cuddly throw blanket materials:

Wool – A wool throw blanket is snug, breathable, and hypoallergenic, providing added warmth and lasting durability with proper care.

Fleece – A synthetic option, fleece is a polyester blanket fabric that feels fuzzy yet silky-smooth, although it may not offer as much airflow as other materials, making it great for colder environments.

Cashmere – This material screams luxury with its soft touch and exceptional heat-retention properties. However, it’s a bit pricey and requires meticulous washing and care to keep it in tip-top shape.

Egyptian Cotton – Renowned for its premium quality, Egyptian cotton throw blankets offer exceptional softness and breathability, making them an excellent choice for a lightweight, all-season layer.

Linen – Lightweight and moisture-wicking, linen throw blankets provide casual elegance and comfort throughout the year, with a relaxed texture that complements various home decor styles.

Blanket vs Throw: What’s Best for You?

Now that we’ve individually identified and examined each type of blanket, let’s compare their features side by side. Throws are perfect for adding a warm layer to your chair or sofa, while a regular blanket provides light warmth to cover your entire bed for those colder nights.

Keep reading to discover the key differences between a blanket and a throw and decide which one suits you best.

Blanket Sizes

The main distinction between a throw and a blanket is their size, with blankets generally being a bit larger to fit your mattress size and dimensions. Meanwhile, throws are usually around 50 x 60 inches, designed to provide that extra layer and accompany you throughout your home for added versatility.

Ideally, when it comes to the question of how many blankets should you sleep with, you want to keep the number you’re using as low as you can. So you may need a larger standard blanket to stay warm, rather than piling on a bunch of throws.

You should also consider the available space you have to store bedding.


When picking a new blanket, your purpose plays a vital role in your choice. If your main focus is an elegant look that decorates your chair or sofa or even just adds a softer element during a budget bedroom makeover, a throw is your top choice.

But if you’re aiming to stay warm during colder months or add extra bedding layers, a regular blanket is what you need. You may even wish to go beyond blankets and look at comforters and duvets.

Of course, sometimes either one can suit your purposes. As an example, a throw or a standard twin blanket can make your bed look like a couch.


How should a throw blanket look on the bed?

A throw blanket on a bed should enhance the room’s decor. You can drape it casually across the foot of the bed, neatly fold and place it for a more organized look, or layer it over the bedding at an angle for added warmth and style. Alternatively, tossing a throw casually can create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.

How long should you keep throw blankets?

The lifespan of a throw blanket varies based on its material quality, usage, and care. High-quality throw blankets can last several years with proper maintenance. However, factors like frequent usage and lack of care may lead to wear and tear, even with top-quality throws. 

To maintain its quality, follow the manufacturer’s care label and laundry symbol instructions when washing and drying a blanket. Avoid harsh conditions and replace a throw blanket when it no longer meets your needs.

Can you use a throw blanket as a normal blanket?

While throw blankets can serve as regular blankets, they are typically smaller and may only partially cover larger beds. Their warmth may be limited compared to dedicated blankets or comforters. Plus, frequent use as a primary blanket can lead to faster wear and tear. 

If you require a blanket for regular warmth and comfort, we suggest a larger, more durable blanket designed for that purpose. Throw blankets are better suited for decorative accents and occasional use on couches and such.

Can I use a regular blanket as a throw?

Yes, you can use a regular blanket as a throw. Regular blankets are typically larger and warmer than throw blankets, so they can provide more coverage and warmth when used as throws on couches, chairs, or smaller beds. 

Using a regular blanket as a throw can be a versatile way to add comfort and style to your living space. It allows you to make the most of your existing bedding and blankets for decorative purposes. Just fold or drape the regular blanket as desired to achieve the cozy and decorative look you want.

What is the difference between a throw and a blanket?

The main difference between a throw and a blanket lies in their size and intended use. Throws are typically smaller, decorative blankets that are designed to be draped over furniture like sofas, chairs, or the foot of a bed. They are decorative accents to add color, texture, and style to a room while providing a bit of extra warmth when needed.

On the other hand, blankets are larger and primarily used for warmth and comfort during sleep. They come in various sizes, including twin, full, queen, and king, and are designed to cover your entire body while you sleep. Blankets are usually made from materials like cotton, wool, fleece, or down to provide insulation and maintain your body temperature throughout the night.


Understanding the distinctions between throws and blankets allows you to make informed choices to suit your specific needs, whether it’s about adding a cozy accent to your decor, providing a light warmth layer, or ensuring a comfortable night’s sleep. Both throws and blankets offer unique features, and the right choice depends on your preferences and intended use.

About the author

April Mayer is a sleep expert and writer with a degree in exercise physiology. She has dedicated her career to exploring the relationship between sleep and productivity. Her insightful articles, such as "The Surprising Way Your Mood Might Be Messing With Your Productivity" and "Wake Up to More Productive Mornings," have been featured in reputable publications like Forbes, Greatist, Real Homes, Thrillist, Tom's Guide, and Eat This, Not That. With a passion for helping others lead more productive lives through restful sleep, April offers valuable expertise on foods and vitamins for better sleep. As a trusted member of the Early Bird team since March 2020, she continues to provide informative and well-researched content.

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