How to choose a blanket or throw
With blankets and throws available in so many different designs, styles and materials it can be difficult to choose one that meets all of your needs. To help you find the blanket of your dreams the London Blankets team have put together a short guide with a few of our favourite tips.
We’ve split the guide into 5 key areas for consideration when shopping for a blanket or throw, click the headings below to jump to the sections you’re interested in.
- Why do you want a blanket: Warmth or style?
- Deciding on a blanket material
- Where & how will the blanket be used?
- Who is the blanket for?
- Allergies and sensitivities
Why do you want a blanket: style, function or warmth?
If your blanket or throw purchase is for yourself, the exact reason you want a blanket should play a large part in your choice of blanket, for example:
The biggest benefit of only being interested in how your blanket looks is that you needn’t worry about the material the blanket is made from nor how it functions, however price is still likely to be a consideration.
Blanket interior design tips
Below you can find a few helpful tips on finding a blanket to complement you interior design efforts:
Does your lounge, bedroom or another room in your home need a final touch to give it a warm cosy feeling?
- A blanket draped over the back of a chair, folded at the end of a chaise longue or spread across the end of your bed can help to create the homely feeling you’re looking for. Warm colours like reds and dark orange are great cornerstones for cosy atmospheres
Choose a colour that either complements or is in contrast to the existing colours in the room, for example:
- A mainly white interior is the most flexible backdrop for adding colour too, you could choose to play it safe and add neutral light accent colours via cushions, throws or rugs. Or you could inject colour through some attention grabbing bright or dark tones (bright reds, greens, oranges or blacks or browns)
Different materials and knits can deliver completely different looks, for example:
- Thick chunky knit blankets can be interesting focal points in a room no matter their colour.
- Fine/ close knit blankets and throws can include intricate patterns or designs that can use a wider colour spectrum than chunky knit blankets or throws.
Function or warmth
Are your permanently cold at home or at work but need your hands free to complete reports or to browse fantasy homes or holiday destinations? Alternatively do you need more of a multipurpose blanket that blends seamlessly between being thrown over a sleeping child on a sofa to be taken on a last minute picnic to the park? Hint: darker materials and patterns should be your best friend.
If warmth, practicality and functionality is your primary concern then your choice of blanket material is of utmost importance.
Deciding on a blanket material
One of the most important choices you can make when it comes to buying a blanket is the material that the blanket is made from. The material automatically determines the cost and durability of your blanket.
How do I choose a blanket material?
With so many options to choose from we can’t give you feedback on each one, so we’ve picked out a few of the most common materials your likely to come across on your hunt:
Wool – Click here for our article on the benefits of wool. Wool can be described as a super material, our favourite two features of wool are:
- It’s hypoallergenic meaning that it’s unlikely to cause allergic reactions.
- It has excellent thermal properties, allowing it to regulate body temperature, increasing the odds you’ll sleep well under a woollen throw or blanket.
Depending on your preference wool can be sourced from a number of different animals including:
- Sheep – The most popular source of wool
- Goats – The source of cashmere and mohair
- Lamas (alpacas, vicunas and guanacos) –
- Rabbits – Lots of people are surprised that rabbits are the source of Angora wool
- Musk oxen
Cotton – Like wool, this natural product is also hypoallergenic. Although cotton cannot match wools amazing thermal properties, the material is excellent at helping the body maintain a comfortable temperature. This means that you’re likelier to have a higher quality of sleep under a cotton throw or blanket.
Synthetic materials – Acrylic and polyester are amongst the most popular synthetic materials in use and are generally less expensive than most natural materials. Whilst they can be warm they don’t breath or allow moisture to escape, one consequence of this is that you are likely to have a lower quality of sleep if you are covered by a synthetic material.
The biggest benefits of synthetic fabrics are that they can be washed and dried without losing colour or shape, which can occur with some natural materials. Making a synthetic blanket a decent choice for a multipurpose blanket that is likely to undergo a lot of wear and tear.
How much do you want to spend?
Your choice of material will subsequently determine the blankets price, a 200cm x 200cm Russian sable fur blanket may cost you in the region of $60,000 US Dollars. On the other hand the equivalently sized cotton blanket would cost as little as $25 US Dollars.
The majority of us won’t have a spare $60k for a sable fur blanket, so it’s a good idea to set your maximum budget and pick a blanket that meets as many of your requirements as possible.
Where & how will the blanket be used?
Beyond the prehistoric need to keep warm, the usage of blankets has evolved and believe it or not there are many out there that are used only for decoration.
Below we’ve listed a few of the most common functions for a blanket and few ideal characteristics that suit each function:
Common ways to use a blanket
Picnic Blankets – Darker colours and patterns are your best friend, they will keep the inevitable stains spillages and leakages as invisible as possible until you have a chance to wash it. Inbuilt handles are well suited to picnic blankets, allowing flexible portability when folded but completely hidden when unfolded. One of the most valuable features of any picnic blanket worth buying is to have one waterproof side, meaning that no matter the weather you are guaranteed to have a dry bum.
Sofa throws and blankets – What’s better then cosying up on the sofa or an armchair with a good film or a book? This is an area where size definitely matters especially if you’d like to cuddle up underneath your blanket with another person.
Throws for your bed – Design, texture, colour, contrast or harmony is what you’re looking for here. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so feel free to experiment, be brave be bold.
Emergency car blankets – In the event of a breakdown keeping a blanket or two in the car can help make your wait for the RAC or a helping hand slightly more comfortable. For extreme situations it may also be worthwhile an emergency foil blanket in the car.
Who is the blanket for?
The recipient of your blanket is a key factor to considering when making your decision. Take a look at the below for a few examples:
When buy a blanket for a child there are two main things to consider:
The child’s exact age
Younger children generally have more specific blanket needs, for example if your child is still in a cot it’s generally recommended that you only buy blankets the same size as your child’s mattress.
For new-borns and younger children temperature control is the main consideration, as babies can lose heat as much as four times more quickly than adults. Particularly for young children it’s worthwhile considering a sleeping bag, ensuring that they can’t kick it off in their sleep.
Staining & durability
Blankets for toddlers and older children mean that there is more chance that the blanket will frequently get dirty and experience more general wear and tear. Therefore it’s important that you buy a durable blanket that will retain its shape throughout the countless washes it will undergo in its life time.
A gift for an adult
A blanket is a great idea as a gift for friends, family and loved ones. A beautiful, functional and comforting keepsake that will always remind them of you.
Below are a few perfect opportunities to give a blanket as a gift:
A cosy sofa, a blanket big enough for two, a bottle of champagne, pizza and your favourite movie. Ok so that may be my dream Valentine ’s Day, but hopefully you get the drift.
Mother’s Day/ Father’s Day
What better way to say I love you mum and dad then a blanket or throw in colours and a design that they would love. Paired up with their favourite beverage, a new book or two, a bouquet of flowers or some chocolate and you have a perfect gift package.
A blanket or throw is the perfect Christmas gift, ideal for a snooze after your Christmas lunch. You could even make it a seasonal classic by getting a red and white throw that you can break out every year.
House Warming Gifts
Furnishing or renovating a new home can be a tiring and cold experience, a London Blanket can help to make it a cosier and more comfortable experience.
The forever cold friend or colleague
There probably is at least one person like this in every office up and down the country. With a few subtle questions to find out their favourite colour palettes you may have just found yourself the perfect secret Santa or birthday gift.
All of us have that colleague, friend or loved one that will be found in the great outdoors most weekends & that if they had their own way would probably live in the wild. What better gift for them then a picnic blanket from London Blankets. Lightweight with one waterproof side and easy carry handles, it’s the perfect choice for everything from long lunch breaks in the park to glamping at festival season or taking along on their next holiday.
Allergies and sensitivities to specific fabrics
Please Note: The London Blankets team are not dermatological or medical experts, the information within this section is based on our own experience and the experiences of our customers. Blankets or throws from London Blankets use high quality natural materials that have not been treated with harsh chemicals. The aim of this section is to inform you of the potential risks from clothing or blankets and throws that use inorganic or heavily treated or dyed materials.
Depending on age and experience you may or may not have discovered all of the materials in the world that may cause you to have some form of allergic reaction, because of this purchasing new materials and fabrics may include a small amount of trial & error. Luckily such allergies and sensitivities are relatively rare so please don’t be afraid to explore and experiment with new materials.
What causes fabric allergies?
In many instances an apparent allergy to a specific material or fabric is simply down to the chemical additives, tanning agents, glues, dyes or resins used in the processing and manufacture of a clothing or bedding product as opposed to the base material or fabric itself. There are a number of additives and chemicals that are added into fabrics that have been linked to fabric allergic reactions, such as:
- Formaldehyde resins used to make fabrics crease and wrinkle resistant
- Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) used in textile and fur dyes
- Flame retardants
- Substances incorporated into fabrics can cause allergic reactions such as chrome, cobalt, latex and rubber accelerators
Symptoms of a clothing or fabric allergy?
Common symptoms of allergies to fabrics or materials include:
Allergic contact dermatitis can cause redness, inflammation and swelling of the skin.
Mild or severe itching
Fabric allergies are known to make the skin become itchy and develop lesions that may break and leak fluid.
A warm and uncomfortable sensation on the skin
One of the milder symptoms of a fabric allergy is a localised increase in body temperature and generally feeling uncomfortable.
Prevention and treatment of fabric allergies
To reduce the risk of fabric allergies try the following tips:
- Where ever possible try to wear and cover yourself with natural and untreated materials.
- Thoroughly check product labels to identify what your blanket or throw is made from
- Wash new clothing at least once before wearing (please note that this isn’t necessary for blankets and throws from London Blankets)
If you believe you are experiencing the symptoms of a fabric allergy consider trying the below:
- Wash the affected area with warm water and mild soap, making sure to pat not rub the skin dry
- If the skin is broken or raw consult your GP or call the NHS non-emergency medical helpline on 111.
- In extreme cases fabric allergies may cause respiratory complication, swelling or other unforeseen symptoms, in this instance call 999.
If you feel like you have a better understanding of the type of blanket you need please feel free to explore our blankets and throws.
If you still feel like you have questions to ask, please feel free to get in touch with one of our customer support team by emailing [email protected].