Basically small couch blankets, throws set the stage for comfy days spent on a comfy chair cocooned in a comfy — well, you get the idea.
What makes a throw a must-have is its wrapability. It shouldn't be too weighty, and should have a soft, pliant feel. Today's woolens and blends are very different from the scratchy, itchy, heavier versions of the past. And the new synthetics are a tactile wonderland of supple, velvety plushness. In a great colour that co-ordinates with your furniture, a snuggly throw is a functional, stylish accessory.
Elaine Griffin, a contributing design editor to Better Homes & Gardens, recommends restraint when using this decorative element. "Solid colours and discreet patterns add style to living rooms and dens; leave the boldly striped and patterned throws for across the foot of your bed or in children's spaces," she advises.
But she also encourages a little colour play.
"Throws are guilt-free occasions to indulge in the season's trendiest colours," she says. If you can't commit to a burgundy or citron wall, consider a throw in those hues.
Karma Living's got a fun, honeycombed Indian cotton throw with pompom trim, available in a kaleidoscope of playful colours. (Honeycomb throw, $32, www.fab.com)
Homegoods has a big selection of luscious faux furs in chocolate, mink and ivory, sure to get the family pet vying for some cozy real estate. The off-price retailer also has a reversible black and grey fleece throw printed with the invitation "Wrap Around Me." Appliquéd flowers add extra flair to a fuzzy confection of organic-hued wool and acrylic. And to evoke the winter cabin vibe, there's a homey reindeer and snowflake patterned throw in cranberry and white. (furs, $39.99; Wrap Around, $29.99; appliqué, $39.99; reindeer, $49.99, www.homegoods.com )
Those looking for sumptuous, high-end throws might turn to the "Luxe Lodge" fall collection from Schumacher, which includes the Bancroft throw in a windowpane-check Scottish wool, available in sable, malt or oxford grey. ($312.50, www.decoratorsbest.com)
Yves Delorme's pastel-striped, baby alpaca Cote-a-Cote throw, and his rich, mulberry-hued Reflet jacquard throw, are elegant choices. Rosita Missoni's Lenny and Montgomery throws, in the iconic Italian house's signature designs, would work in a variety of interiors. And Rani Arabella's opulent cashmere throw can even be worn as a shawl. (Cote-a-Cote, $390; Reflet, $435; Missoni, $365-$590; Arabella, $650, www.gracioushome.com).
Garnet Hill's fall collection includes a vibrant colour-block design, perfect for a contemporary space. ($278, www.garnethill.com )
Wilhelmina Jacobs does pricey but unusual faux fur throws in ocelot, Tibetan lamb, cow print and chinchilla. (WJ Home Collection, $89.99-$499, www.amazon.com )
At Overstock.com, find a lovely, soft, leaf-patterned cotton throw in two of the season's popular hues, sky blue and chocolate. Vibrant blues, greens and oranges play up a boho floral/stripe cotton-blend print on the Bocasa Oleana throw. A reversible dotted acrylic throw in chocolate/light brown or natural/ivory is a versatile, modern option. (woven mottled cotton, $54.99; polka dot reversible, $22.99; Bocasa, $59.99, www.overstock.com)
Finally, Boston-based decor and fashion studio Patch NYC is part of the newest group of Shops at Target; their collection for the retailer includes a nubby boucle knit throw in retro chic cream, blue/black or olive. ($34.99, www.target.com)Suggest a correction