Whether you admit it or not, the type of blankets that we use has a direct effect on the level of comfort our bedrooms have, and the overall quality of sleep and rest that we feel when we retreat to our beds.
Blankets are important in home furnishing and since they vary in types because of the materials used, it is of prime importance to look at the different types of blankets for you to consider in your next bedroom cleaning or makeover.
In this article:
- 13 Types of blankets
- 16 Materials for blankets
- What factors should be considered when buying a blanket?
13 Types of blankets
Did you know that there are more than twenty types of blankets? Perhaps, we only know a handful like comforters, fleece blankets, or duvets.
You would find that there are various types of blankets that you thought were the same thing but turns out are two different types of blankets.
For this section, we shall describe some of the most common types of blankets and differentiate them in terms of their unique characteristics.
1. Afghan blankets
This type of blanket is both decorative and will keep you warm. It is made of wool, cotton, linen, and other organic materials. It is made through crochet or knitting.
You can use this during movie nights or as an added layer on sofa covers or as a bedspread. It should be noted, however, that with their size, they are used more in couches than in beds.
2. Knitted blankets
Knit blankets are usually sewn as a single-layer blanket made from wool, cotton, or acrylic made rich by various knitting patterns. They are versatile coming in sizes in the range of throw blankets to king-sized beds.
They often come in ridged or tasseled edges. Knitting a blanket is also a good past-time especially as winter approaches.
3. Plush blankets
This one is a longer, bulkier fleece blanket which is also softer, warmer, and more durable than the ordinary fleece blanket. It is made from Minky fabric which is another name for microfiber. They are often knit and are made of 100% polyester.
4. Sherpa blankets
This blanket is unique because it has two differently textured sides. One side is made of soft fleece and the other side is made of lightweight synthetic material.
They are preferred during winter nights because they are handy and very portable. Its only downside, however, is that the quality of each side may dwindle down after many washes.
5. Comforter blankets
It is basically one of the most famous blankets in the world because as the name implies, it brings a different level of comfort.
It is made of double-sewn cloth filled with soft materials like a feather, cotton-polyester, or combinations of the three.
It is a good warmer during the winter and it adds an extra cushion to beddings if used as a duvet cover.
Related: Comforter vs blanket
6. Coverlet blankets
As the name implies, it is a smaller blanket put on top of another blanket or on pillows. They are not really meant to function for warmth.
They are generally decorative in nature made of synthetic fiber. Nonetheless, when used as bedspread, they are lighter and way shorter than comforters.
In appearance, they resemble quilted blankets because of their similarity in the stitching pattern.
7. Chunky Knit blankets
This blanket is made through arm knitting using the merino wool yarn. It is fluffier, more bouncy, and softer than the ordinary knitted blankets.
As such, it provides more warmth and is suitable during long winters. However, they come as very pricey because the merino wool yarn is a pricey material too. Chunky knits are often used as blankets or sofa covers.
8. Quilted blankets
Quilt blankets involve centuries of tradition and one of the exchanged goods in the historical Silk Road. It is made with three types of fiber including silk and is unique for its artsy patterns.
It is still a preferred winter blanket because it is well-insulated and is more lightweight compared to comforters or duvets. They give a more layered look to your bed too.
9. Beach and Yoga blankets
A beach and yoga blanket are single-layered blankets with a thicker side. They are not used to give warmth but to as support to yoga posture and body alignment.
It is needed in yoga because practitioners need a soft surface where they could meditate or rest their heads during yoga.
On the other hand, beach blankets are made of microfiber because they are sand proof and will easily get dry. Lightweight and easy to fold blankets make the good beach and yoga blankets.
10. Woven blankets
Different patterns of woven blankets can be found in almost all cultures around the world. They tend to have embossed pockets of the fabric where the air is trapped making them warm.
They are also lightweight because they are made of a single fabric. As such, they are used as an added layer to quilt or even in comforters.
11. Down-filled blankets
They are named as such because they are used as filling for comforters or duvets. They are fluffy and soft since they are made of quill-free feathers from geese and ducks.
This makes them natural insulators and also lightweight. In many respects, they are known to be thinner comforters. They are good for people who take comforters as too warm.
12. Wearable and hooded blankets
It is also fondly called as the snuggie blanket because you could literally snuggle your own body while being on it. As the name implies, they come in various lengths to cater to different heights of people.
Traditionally, only infants wore snuggies for easier drying after taking a bath. But now, adult versions of snuggies are already available. They are mostly made of synthetic fibers like polyester but more pricey ones are made of cotton.
13. Throw blankets
It is a simple, small blanket made out of a sewn single fabric draped in a sofa or a chair for decoration or to add color to the bedroom or living room.
Function-wise, it is used as an added layer to comforters during extreme winter. It also makes cozy television watching as it can be used to cover your feet for relaxation. They are typically made of fleece.
Related: Types of sofas
16 Materials for blankets
There are many types of materials used in blanket production. They are basically divided between natural fiber and synthetic fiber.
While both fibers are commendable, their stark differences matter when it comes to the overall feel of the blanket. As such, here are the most common materials used for blankets.
It is generally made of wool or cotton but with the addition of a synthetic polymer fiber which is a by-product of petroleum. It produces blankets that have a wool-like texture and are moth-resistant.
Acrylic blankets are also lightweight and provide enough heat. While they are not breathable, they are long-lasting and will not shrink or tear off even with frequent washing.
This one is taken from alpaca skin and it is called technically as alpaca fleece. It is said to be smoother than silk, sturdier than cashmere, and more lightweight and warmer than wool.
It gives just enough warmth and it is not bulky like down fillers. The most common alpaca fleece is called the Huacaya fiber which looks like a less fluffy sheep’s wool.
Blankets made of bamboo fibers are a thing and they are really good at their insulating properties. It is highly absorbent, breathable and is also antimicrobial and antibacterial, so you do not have to worry about the amount of sweat it absorbs over time. They are also odor-resistant.
This is a sought-after material because it is hypoallergenic. This is the material used in baby essentials, for small kids and for people with sensitive skin. Cotton offers a cooler feel during summer and is warm during the winter. It is breathable helping you in regulating your body temperature year-round while at rest or when sleeping.
It is one of the softest and most pricey fabrics in the world. It is known to be more lightweight and eight times warmer than sheep’s wool. This is because they are extracted from the skin of Asian mountain goats.
Cashmere can also be mixed with other natural fibers or wool-like the Merino. The most expensive cashmere is the Mongolian and Himalayan cashmere.
It is either made of natural feathers (which is more pricey but really soft and comfortable) or of synthetic fibers. It is used as filling for comforters and duvets making them look fluffier and softer. Down made of feathers and other natural fibers have a fuller look than those made of synthetic fiber.
7. Faux Mohair
This one is typically used in making throw blankets. It is made of acrylic and smooth and silky like real mohair.
8. Faux Fur
It gets its name from being the by-product of many synthetic polymers including polyester, acrylic, and modacrylic. It is a cheaper alternative to real fur but with the same fluffiness, softness, and warmth level. Faux fur blankets are only washed in delicate tumble though.
9. Fleece & Microfiber
They are basically the easiest materials to find. With their fine and highly absorbent fibers made of real fleece or polyester, they are sought-after because they make extra warm blankets that are usually used as above or below the main bed cover. Microfiber on the other hand is the combination of rayon, nylon, and other synthetic fibers.
It is a type of microfiber known to be more warm and soft than the microfiber blanket itself. It is made of synthetic fibers like polyester and acrylic. They are sturdy materials and will not wear off easily. They are also hypoallergenic fitting people with sensitive skin.
It is a popular choice because it is highly accessible, cheaper, durable, and soft. You would find that most types of blankets have polyester materials in them because they are breathable and absorbent.
It also does not wear off easily and will retain its original shape even after multiple washes. The only downside is that it tends to stick to the skin when wet.
It is also known as viscose and it is neither full natural fiber nor full synthetic fiber. It comes from processed cellulose fiber and is considered to be better than acrylic or polyester.
However, it is not at par with bamboo or cotton and may cause allergies for people with sensitive skin. Nonetheless, it is still chosen as a blanket material because it is breathable and absorbent.
This material adds a luxurious touch to beds and is also very comfortable to sleep on. The name satin actually refers to the fabric’s weave and not the material used to make it.
They are made from silk with the addition of synthetic fibers and other polyesters (like nylon, polyester, or rayon). It has a unique glossy appearance and soft texture. The most expensive satin is silk satin.
This one is a tanned and processed sheepskin with the wool still unscraped from the skin. It makes a bundle of fur known to be breathable, warm, and also hypoallergenic. It is also very unique because the more it ages, the more the fur will get softer. It is also antibacterial and odor-resistant.
It is a durable material for blankets as it includes layers of foam made with nylon fibers. It does not wear off, shed, or shrink even after many washes. Vellux blankets can provide enough heat on their own but they are most of the time used as an additional layer for comforters to add more heat.
As a material, it has been used for many centuries and is well-referenced in history. It also produces blankets with small air pockets situated inside the fabric itself. This makes it a breathable material allowing warm air in and cool air out. Blankets made of wool can either be woven, quilted, or knitted and most of the time with fringed edges.
What factors should be considered when buying a blanket?
You might think that buying a blanket does not involve mind work or decision-making but believe it or not, you have to remember some considerations before you buy one. Being prepared in buying the right blanket will not only cost you money but also time and effort. Here is a rundown of the factors that you have to think of first before buying a blanket.
Always remember that different weave patterns exude different levels of warmth. Thermal weaves are loose and breathable meaning, quilted blankets are extra warm and knitted blankets warm but heavier.
This is quite important to point out because we might be expecting more warmth from blankets that are made to really accommodate more air than others.
Anent to weave patterns, it is not just enough to focus on the weave patterns. It is more important to look at the material used. The question here is, would you settle for synthetic fiber blankets or natural fiber blankets? Don’t get me wrong.
Both are good materials but of course, the feel of each would be different than the other. Knowing how to see the materials used would also save you financially speaking.
Sellers will always have a way of wrongly tagging fabrics and blankets costing you more if you do not know how to look for the more authentic ones. Take cashmere and fleece for example.
Temperature or climate
If you live in a tropical climate, you only need comforters during the cold season. As such, you need other types of blankets to get you through most nights. For this, you might need more lightweight and unwoven blankets.
But of course, living in colder regions would mean being creative, alternating down blankets, fleece, or comforters every now and then.
If you have sensitive skin, just stick with cotton or polyester. Do not try experimenting on other types of blanket for your own good. Some people do not take this seriously. Also, you have to be wary of authenticity.
Not all blankets tagged with 100% cotton are really made of 100% cotton. This is the reason why it is advised for people with allergies to only buy from reputable sites or markets.
Cost and maintenance
Like other furnishings, blankets also need regular maintenance. Be it in dry cleaning or brushing, you have to understand that some blankets are more costly to maintain than others.
For example, fleece, down, and quilt are more pricey to maintain compared to say cotton or polyester.
Of course, style is an important factor to consider when buying a blanket and it solely depends on you. Make sure that the tones of the blanket you buy complement well the feel of your room.
Never mix and match or else, it will only bring you discomfort. You can always change your blanket any time you want but always with the suitable bedding material for it.
Choosing the best type of blanket is also important in our health and well-being. Not all blanket materials will give us the desired comfort that we are looking for. This is particularly important for people with allergies. When it comes to choosing the best type of blanket for us, we have to discern well.
Blankets may be common and some of us might not think that we should be meticulous when it comes to this. But to conclude, blankets play an important role in experiencing human comfort.
The right type of blanket is expected to give us a good night’s sleep and give us warmth when it gets too cold. Even when we go to hotels, the quality of the blanket that we get will have an impact on our overall experience. As such, before buying one, we have to know which one we should look for, which materials are suited for our comfort.