It's not always practical to add insulation to walls, floors, and ceilings in your home as a remedy against the cold. If you're an apartment dweller, this isn't possible at all, and if you're a homeowner, you may not have the budget or time during the frigid months when you are most in need of some added warmth. But with the right decorating, you can help take the chill out of your rooms without cranking up the thermostat.
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Do you have cold, hard floors? Ceramic tile, laminate, and other types of hard flooring can feel especially chilly during the cold months. Adding any rug will provide some room-warming insulation. Even better, layering several rugs will create a cozy and stylish barrier that will keep toes toasty.
If you have deep pockets, look for handmade rugs with a high knot count The higher the number, the denser the material, which is better for insulation than a plusher rug with a lower knot count. Affordable machine-made rugs can also take the chill off frigid floors. High-pile rugs typically feel warmer, but if you're looking for something easy to clean, go with a flat weave.
Tip: Cooking and baking will fill your home with delicious scents while providing additional warmth from the oven. Winter is a great time to make baked goods to store away or give as gifts.
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If your walls feel cold to the touch, you could be losing up to one-third of the heat you pay for through conductive heat loss. Back in the days when home heating costs were cheap, good wall insulation—the best way to minimize heat loss—wasn't a building code requirement at all. Overheating apartments were once a standard winter practice to overcome heat loss due to lack of wall insulation.
If you have inadequate wall insulation, wall tapestries are an easy decor fix that will help warm up your rooms. The heavier the material, the better. A quilt will also work.
Tip: A fabric "feature wall" treatment is another way to make cold walls feel warmer. It's an easy DIY project that uses liquid starch to apply the cloth to smooth walls. However, unlike traditional wallpaper, the starched fabric is a cinch to remove, so it's a good project for renters.
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Cure Drafty Windows
If your windows feel drafty, an energy-saving window treatment, such as thermal Roman shades, is a quick decor fix that can seriously reduce your heating costs. Thermal shades are like quilts for your windows, and they can block cold drafts from entering and keep warmth indoors. If you have sewing skills, you can purchase a Roman shade kit and make your window treatments for about $50 each, including the fabric.
You can also warm up winter windows with DIY wool curtains. In case you're not in the know, wool is a highly efficient insulating material. The cool rustic curtain shown here was made using a wool military blanket. You can find bedding like this on Amazon for around $30.
If you prefer to buy, look for curtains that come with detachable thermal panels. Window treatments like these tend to provide better insulation. Big-box stores have an affordable selection that starts at $15 per panel.
Tip: You can warm up a room with a high ceiling by using a ceiling fan. Warm air has a habit of floating up to the ceiling, which can make a room feel chilly. Operating the fan in the reverse direction will push warm air back down into the room.
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Create a Sofa Den
Creating a snuggle-worthy sofa is a winter must. It's also an ingenious way to disguise a comfy couch that's a bit of an eyesore. The trick is to keep comfort at the top of your mind when picking pretty pillows and throws. Also, stick to fabrics that are machine washable for easy cleaning.
Tip: So how do you make an ugly sofa more appealing? Cover it up. For a cozy bohemian look, wrap sheets, blankets, or throws in different patterns and textures around the cushions and sections of the couch.