Feel that chill? It’s time to prep your home for the colder months to come.
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With temperatures beginning to drop, the last thing you want to do is let the outside in. And while cranking up the heat may seem like a no-brainer, dealing with a hefty bill isn’t everyone’s cup of cider. According the Energy Star, the average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half going to heating costs — and reducing the cooler air in your home shouldn’t be so expensive.
While there are simple things you can do to keep that pesky draft out, such as adding heavy drapes and sealing shut any air leaks felt throughout your home, there are other means of staying warm this season.
We spoke to several interior designers who gave us their picks on how you can stay nice and toasty. Find how you can improve the comfort of your home below:
Modernize Your Fireplace
Nothing beats cozying up by the fireplace with a mug of cocoa, but don’t wait until winter to make sure yours is in tip-top shape. “I have found that by converting my clients’ fireplaces from wood-burning to gas or ethanol units, they get used so much more,” says Erin Davis of Mosaik Design. “With a flick of a switch, you can add instant warmth to your space with no mess. If you want to add a fireplace with very little work or remodel cost, consider a free-standing bio-ethanol unit, like those found at EcoSmart Fire. These units don’t require any utility hookups and run on a renewable energy source. They are also quite beautiful!”
Stock Up on Heated Blankets
Speaking of cozying up, it’s important to have several heated blankets that can keep you (as well as your couch or bed), warm day and night. Look for those in seasonal colors, like cranberry red or hunter green, to brighten up your space. Heated blankets are fluffy soft, comfortable, and depending on the type you purchase, can be programmed to turn off on their own.
Have Plenty of 'Snakes'
Many interior designers agree that when it comes to keeping warm, you can’t go wrong with a draft “snake” or stopper, which you can purchase in an array of fabrics and designs. These are designed to prevent air from entering your window or door, ensuring heat doesn’t escape. Since it will keep your space warm, you won’t have to crank up the heater, saving you money.
Add Roller Shades
One way to easily insulate your windows is by adding roller shades, preferably those made with thick material. “Install them on the window frame, just under draperies,” says Debbie Wiener of My Designing Solutions. “You can also add a colorful patterned fabric as a Roman shade or drapery, and then line them with an insulating liner. Whichever you choose, it’s important that you use some kind of weather block on your windows to keep the heat in and the cold out.”
Look for Insulated Curtains
When it comes to shopping for seasonal curtains, get more bang for your buck by looking for insulating variations, which will block cold air out. These are made from dense and weighty fabrics, which prevent brisk temperatures from creeping in, thereby reducing energy costs. Plus, darker shades will make your bedroom more inviting for a restful night.
The fall and winter seasons are all about savoring hearty, mouthwatering dishes, so don’t be afraid to indulge once in a while, especially when you’re looking to quickly warm up your home. “Use your oven more because it will dry out the air, providing you with comfort food and a toasty kitchen,” says Davis. As long as all the cracks in your home are sealed shut, the heat from your kitchen, as well as the delicious aromas of your feast, won’t escape.
Place Rugs on Bare Floors
Whether your floors are wood or have tiles, chances are they feel icy cold to the touch during the brisk winter months. Keep your floors and feet toasty by simply rolling out festive rugs. If you’re in a crafty mood, consider making this woven rug designed by Rachel of A Beautiful Mess.
Try a Fan
We’re not talking about using those fans of summer. Instead, look for one that projects hot airflow, allowing you to set your target temperature. The Dyson Hot+Cool has no blades, which not only makes it safer to have in the household, but it’s also easier to clean and takes up less space.
Decorate with Candles
Candles are a great way to jazz up your home, all while adding heat for free. But before your let your creative side shine, do follow specific guidelines. For starters, make sure your candles are placed in sturdy metal, glass, or ceramic holders, and positioned in an area where they cannot be easily knocked over. Once you’re done enjoying your candles, extinguish. More importantly, never leave a candle unattended. Consider making your own candles, like the ladies of A Beautiful Mess. They used pure beeswax, which features a honey-like aroma.
Mind Those Plants
If you have loads of houseplants soaking up your vitamin D by the window, you may want to reconsider them. Davis says plants can easily block the sun from your space, preventing natural warmth for entering during the day. And if all the cracks are sealed shut in your home, that heat has a lesser chance of escaping at night when temperatures drop. “You will be amazed at how much warmer (removing the plant) will make your home feel,” says Davis. Place them in your backyard or in another area of the home where it can still get some sunlight without completely blocking it.