If you live in a part of the country where temperatures drop during the winter, you might be counting the minutes each day until you’re done with work, errands, and the many other commitments that come with your rough-faced face Weather. In that case, creating a calming and welcoming home environment could be just the thing to get you through the winter months. Here are a few steps you can take to get your home warm and cozy for the winter.
1. Invest in the right bedding
Let’s be honest: many of us spend less time in bed than we would like. But it’s still worth investing in bedding that will ensure a good night’s sleep in winter.
Corinne Bentzen, general manager of HD Home and The Company Store, based in the New York City area, suggests layering your top sheets to create a hotel-like feel in your bedroom. “Experimenting with a combination of quilts, comforters, and throws can make it easy to adapt to changing temperatures and sleep needs,” she says.
It’s also important to focus on leaves. Quality sheets “make a huge difference in your sleep and last longer after washing,” says Bentzen. You should consider flannel if you tend to get cold at night. Otherwise, you can look at cotton sheets with a higher thread count.
2. Integrate the right lighting
The natural light we enjoy during the warmer months is often more limited in winter – especially given how short the days can be. Because of this, Bentzen suggests incorporating warmer shades of light into your space. “Swapping out existing lightbulbs for warmer tones effortlessly creates a cozy glow throughout the room,” she says.
Bentzen also says that candles are a great addition during the winter. Not only do they provide brightness, but their scents can provide a real feel-good layer in harsh weather.
Do you have small children or pets at home? You can swap out standard candles for battery operated candles to avoid those open flames.
3. Walk heavy on throw blankets
Throw blankets are an inexpensive accessory that can add structure to your living space. Not only can they be a source of instant warmth, but they can also serve as a nice layer of color when your furniture is more neutral.
Your living room is a great place to add blankets, but you can even put some on your bed for extra warmth and design. And if you have a home library or study, drape one over a chair.
4. Get cozy with carpet
Danny Watson, an Atlanta-area home improvement expert at The Home Depot, says homes can lose 10% to 20% of their heat through uninsulated floors. For this reason, you may want to install a rug over wood or laminate floors. “Consider carpeting in a ground-floor room where heat can easily escape from under the house, in rooms built directly above the garage, or in larger spaces where there is a natural draft,” he advises.
If you don’t want to bother with laying rugs, you can lay out some rugs instead. These may also allow you to incorporate design elements with a warm, fuzzy feel.
5. Invest in a programmable thermostat
Constant heating is a great way to keep your interior nice and warm. But you might not like the sky-high utility bills that result. A better choice might be to invest in a programmable thermostat that allows you to easily adjust your settings based on usage and needs.
With a programmable thermostat, you can make sure your heat comes right before you get up in the morning. And if you’re away from work all day, you can set your heating to come on at the start of your commute so your house is warm as soon as you walk out the door.
6. Tuneup for your heating system
A programmable thermostat will only go so far if your heating system isn’t working properly. Before the cold weather really sets in, have your heating system checked and serviced by a reputable HVAC contractor, or do it yourself if you have the skills. You should also make sure to replace your system’s air filter, says Watson, if it’s been three months since you last did so.
7. Weatherproof your doors and windows
Doors and windows are common places for warm air to escape. And they can also let in unwanted cold air. That’s why Watson recommends weatherproofing your doors and windows ahead of the winter season.
“Use foam, rubber, or vinyl weatherstripping around doors and windows to insulate areas where cracks can let in cold air or release heat,” he says. And also: “Replace your door seals, door sweeps or thresholds to prevent cold outside air from entering your home.”
8. Invest in space heaters, but be careful with them
Space heaters are a great addition to drafty rooms, but can pose a fire hazard if used improperly. Watson says when you’re shopping for a space heater, look for one with a toggle shut-off feature. This way your heater will turn off automatically if it falls over.
Also, if you’re using a space heater, always place it on a hard, flat surface, says Watson. And make sure you never leave a space heater unattended.
9. Make good use of your fireplace
There is nothing like the warmth and glow of a fire to provide indoor comfort on the coldest of days. But whether you have a wood-burning fireplace or a gas fireplace, Watson warns against leaving a fire unattended. He also suggests investing in a chimney guard, which can reduce the risk of injury around a chimney.
It is also very important to maintain your fireplace and have it cleaned and inspected before using it regularly. Also, says Watson, “have your chimney checked and swept if necessary.” It’s a great way to ensure proper venting – and avoid fire damage.