If you're not up for big projects like repainting the walls or adding insulation to the attic this fall, consider stocking up on throw blankets for an easy, low-commitment way to change the look of your rooms — and keep cozy.
Whether turned out in luxurious cashmere or a soft synthetic, a throw is a snuggly alternative to zipping up another sweatshirt or cranking up the thermostat when the temperature dips.
"People just love that soft, extra-cozy feeling to wrap up in them," said Jami Supsic, style director for Country Living magazine. "Nothing would be better on a winter night than having a chunky throw to wrap up in while reading or watching TV."
Available in a huge selection of colors, patterns and materials, including flannel, wool and faux fur, the throw is a versatile accessory that can help create a new look, add interest and warmth to a room and tie the colors of a room together.
"They bring so much to the composition in a room without being the focal point," Supsic said.
Throws can add whatever is missing from a space: a splash of color, a bit of texture, a rich pattern. Conversely, a neutral throw, think khaki or ivory, will help tone down or minimize a statement piece or print that is dominating the space, Supsic said.
"If something's not right or bright enough, you could add a throw to the foot of the bed and it will give it that pop of color or pattern you need without necessarily taking over," she said.
The right throw can highlight a standout element or color in the room, like a painting behind the bed or an accent color in the living room, said interior designer Hillary Cohen, of hCO Interiors in Jersey City, New Jersey. "It's not going to be the star of the room," she said. "It can make whatever the star in the room is pop."
WHERE DO YOU THROW THEM?
Throws are commonly draped over the arms and backs of chairs and couches, and put on ottomans and across beds. Don't forget spare bedrooms (who wants chilly houseguests?), window seats and perhaps out on the porch swing.
They can be folded or tossed. For a relaxed look, Cohen tousles a folded blanket a bit "so it doesn't look like it's too perfect."
The blankets also can become art. Display a stack on a shelf or hang a favorite on the wall, Supsic said.
WHICH ONES TO CHOOSE?
Experts suggest throws in autumn shades such as burnt orange, mustardy yellow, brown, navy or bold royal blue, deep olive or pine green, gray and burgundy.
Chunky knit and sheepskin throws are popular, along with throws with pom poms, buffalo check, plaid and pinwheel quilt patterns, Supsic said.
You can mix and match patterns, but pay attention to scale and shape.
"If you have a small check on the sofa, maybe get a bigger plaid to contrast that, or a stripe to complement the plaid," Supsic said.
Avoid patterns that almost match but don't: If you have a circle pattern on the couch, don't choose a throw with a scallop design, said Tenecia Harris of sweet t design studio in New York. Try stripes instead.
If monochromatic is your thing, choose a throw that stands out for its texture. For a cotton twill sofa, Supsic suggested a chunky chenille throw. Cohen likes a light-colored, faux fur throw atop a beige wool couch.
If your furniture is floral, Harris recommended going geometric, with squares and diamonds. For an ikat print, Cohen suggested a solid or a small-scale herringbone pattern.
Throws that look and feel great come in all prices.
"You definitely don't have to spend $1,000 to get the style," Supsic said. But if you want to, "That's a nice splurge."
Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter at @lisaflam