Moving from Warm and Cozy to Really Hot: Quilts

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Another staple of down-home America is back in style. Quilts, now a $144 million industry, have been "modernized" with such new twists as scalloped edges and beading. While Americana designs reign, French, Tibetan and Japanese quilts are popular too. Some things don't change: the best are pricey.

Wal-Mart and K Mart are among the stores banking on your nostalgia. Their bedspreads are perfect for college-dorm rooms and start at $30. For about $70 more, Macy's "quilt-in-a-bag" includes matching pillow shams and sheets.

Not So Cheap
Pottery Barn's 20 full-size quilts start at $200; toddler quilts, at $79. Niche retailers like Anthropologie, where quilt sales are up 40% this year, offer new and vintage quilts, with prices ranging from $180 (for a new one) to $800 (for an antique).

Plain Uncheap
Quilts can be commissioned from artisans like in Illinois or Denyse Schmidt, based in Connecticut. Schmidt, who makes $4,800 quilts with the help of Amish crafters, once used a client's late husband's ties as patchwork.