How to give your home a warm feel in cold months

  • By Melissa Rayworth, Associated Press
  • Friday, November 8, 2013 1:43pm
  • Life

As temperatures drop and daylight is in shorter supply, we fight back: We crank up the heat in our homes and turn on lights earlier and earlier. And yet we also want to keep our heating and electric bills as low as we can. Can you keep your home warm and inviting all winter while still conserving energy? Yes, you can. Here are some ideas on how to keep things cozy while minimizing energy use.

Embrace upholstery

Warm, cozy upholstery fabrics work on a practical level by holding your warmth when you touch or sit on them. They also work visually: A room full of soft fabrics will give you a psychological sense of warmth that adds to your enjoyment.

Add thick throw blankets to chairs and sofas, and swap out silk-covered pillows and even lampshades for ones covered in thicker, nubbier fabrics like muslin and burlap.

Consider using thick curtains in winter. A decade ago, drapes were considered fusty and expensive. But with so many beautiful, inexpensive options available today, they’ve become popular again. Besides adding color or a bold pattern to a room, curtains block cold air that might leak in around windows. And they muffle sound from outside, which helps make rooms feel more insulated in winter.

Don’t forget outdoor living spaces. The same techniques can help warm up outdoor rooms, like covered porches and sunrooms. Try Sunbrella’s outdoor velveteen fabric for chairs and sofas or thick, woven blends.

Light the fire

Crackling flames in an indoor fireplace can change the feel of a room instantly. And outdoors, they bring a welcome infusion of heat and light on a winter evening.

If you’re building a new outdoor fireplace, leave ample room for seating, such as an outdoor sofa where people can snuggle up and talk.

Another option is a propane-powered space heater. The newest models are cost-effective and stylish. A tall space heater works on a covered porch and can be wheeled to wherever people are seated. Once lighted, the glass tubes that contain the flame from the propane tank are visually appealing.

Lay down rugs

Gleaming hardwood or tile floors are lovely in spring and summer. But in cold weather, add a thick rug. This will not only warm your feet, but also change the look and sound of your space.

An outdoor rug can have the same impact. Thick outdoor area rugs are made of acrylic/wool blends. The wool feels great on your feet and definitely locks in warmth.

More in Life

Beer and cupcakes: Snohomish brewer, baker form unlikely duo

Pacific Northwest Cupcakes uses SnoTown’s brews to make beer-infused sweet treats.

Woodward Canyon Winery continues to weave masterpieces

Owner Rick Small uses grapes from vines he used when he made wine in his back yard in the 1970s.

Snohomish brewer flavors beer with chilies from mom’s back yard

Beer of the Week: Smoked rye forms sturdy foundation for SnoTown’s well-balanced Loose Rooster.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Dash to Diamond Knot: Flying Unicorn Racing is teaming up with Mukilteo’s… Continue reading

Marysville theater stages Noel Coward’s timeless ‘Blithe Spirit’

The cast and crew at the Red Curtain Arts Center do a fine job with the 1940s British play.

Stringed instruments get workout at Cascade Symphony concert

Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings” is the orchestra’s first concert of the season.

Animating Van Gogh paintings proves to be trippy yet flawed

“Loving Vincent” relates the circumstances of the great painter’s death.

Leno, Short and others reminisce about David Letterman

By Geoff Edgers / The Washington Post A few observations about David… Continue reading

Most Read