With icy weather now long overdue, it’s time to make your nest cozier. There’s no need to call in a professional either. Whether you own or rent, here are some fixes to do yourself to lower your heating bills and carbon footprint. First up, identify trouble spots. That’s as simple as moving around your home and examining openings for draughts. Then take action with some practical and design-savvy ways to prevent the loss of heat.
New York-based Designer Courtney Cachet (www.courtneycachet.com) pays attention to heat-sucking windows via heavy drapes and honeycomb-style insulating blinds. “Add heavier curtains in the winter. You’ll be surprised how thermal window treatments can keep a room much warmer. These were not the most attractive, but they have come a long way. Keep the cold out and the style in,” she says. Cachet also recommends adding spot carpeting to hardwood and tile floors. “Use rugs on bare floors,” she says. “A lot of people have hardwood floors above a poorly insulated basement. An area rug does a great job of keeping your feet warmer. A nice shag rug looks great and feels cozy.”
“The single biggest cause of a cold house is infiltration of air,” says Rose Ann Humphrey of Boston design studio Home Life (www.home-life.com). “You must cut down on infiltration around windows, doors and other openings.” That includes pet doors, too. “Buy weather stripping for doors along sides and the top,” says Humphrey. “And buy special stripping to insulate at the bottom of the door. You can buy rope like putty, a semi-rigid product, for around windows or other air leaks. Afterwards, light a match to test if air is still coming into your home.”