This Throwback Item from Your Grandparents’ House Is Cool Again, and It’ll Cozy Up Your Living Room and Beyond

published Nov 10, 2022
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Gallery wall behind gray sofa with cat and afghan resting on it

As the weather shifts into the cooler months, cozy decor may be on your radar more than ever. Candle warmers, tea sets, slippers, you name it. This season, one cozy, colorful trend you might remember from the back of your grandparents’ sofa — or even the foot of your own childhood bed — is back again, and I personally couldn’t be more excited about the return of… the afghan blanket.

Afghans are, by definition, woven blankets or throws typically knitted or crocheted in construction. Many are designed with the iconic crocheter’s pattern — the “granny square,” if you will, but afghans aren’t just for grandmas. An afghan can make anyone’s space a little more welcoming and warm — and not just on chilly nights. According to Susan E. Kelly, the owner of The Vintage Chair boutique, there’s been a notable resurgence of interest in woven textures as of late as a means to soften up angular spaces and offset the prevalence of materials like concrete, stone, and glass today. “While I believe the popularity of mid-century and recently post-modern decor will remain mainstays, these styles can be a bit cold and stand-offish,” says Kelly. “Throw in one of grandma’s afghans, and the room is instantly cozier and more inviting!”

Afghans are a great way to cozy up a couch, bed, or chair for fall and winter. They also play into current trend predictions that hypothesize texture, rich color tones, and geometric shapes will all be big going into 2023. Sure, quilts are also having a moment, but don’t overlook the afghan. These woven blankets can feel timeless and classic or vintage and retro, depending on the colors and patterns you choose one in and how you style your piece. You can find them in vibrant multi-colors or hunt down a tonal design that’s subtle. Like a good sweater, their chunkiness can make them super-functional, so they’re an especially charming housewarming or host gift this time of year.

You can shop plenty of them — secondhand or brand new — online (Etsy is a great resource), at flea markets, or at tag sales. If you’re crafty, you can also try knitting one of your own with a digital download pattern. Want a few recommendations? These standout picks will help get you started on your search for an afghan that speaks to you.

1 / 6
Etsy
$188.00
was $235.00

This colorful floral afghan takes the granny square design up a level with crocheted flower embellishments. Style this on a sunroom, porch rocker, or sofa to keep the chill at bay and bring some cheer to long, dark winter days.

2 / 6
Etsy
$89.99

You might find vintage afghans in thrift stores or at estate sales. Look for ones with colors you love and textures that are soft, not itchy. This vintage afghan features a classic mid-century color, Dijon mustard, in hexagonal shapes that give it a unique, rippled edge.

3 / 6
Etsy
$24.65
was $29.00

The classic granny square design is on display here, and I can't get enough of it. Hand-crocheted and made to order in various sizes and yarn colors, consider commissioning a crochet artist to make you a custom piece that works with your decor.

4 / 6
Amazon
$46.00

Sized for a crib or stroller blanket, this sweet teal and gray afghan from Amazon Hanmade would make a perfect shower or new baby gift. The seller is based in Missouri and can be messaged for custom colors.

5 / 6
Etsy
$80.00

If you like the look of traditional Pendleton blankets but find them a little too scratchy, here's a hand-knitted, super-soft afghan that has a similar palette and is made out of acrylic versus wool. The colors are subtle and suited for a more minimalist interior.

6 / 6
Amazon
$39.99

This rainbow woven afghan has a modern meets boho look, thanks to its multicolored striping and fringed ends. Soft, cozy, and generously sized for two, it's a great budget alternative if you want a lot of bang for your buck.