3 easy ways to warm up your home

Baby, it's cold outside! Winter's chill provides the perfect setting for huddling by the fire, roasting marshmallows and sipping tea.

That's one way to stay warm when a cold snap blows in.

But for those of us who actually have to function, we need to get a bit creative to stay warm at home.

Here are 3 easy ways to warm up your home without increasing your energy bills.

1.  The Practical Approach

One way to warm up your home is to actually make your house warmer.

No, no, no. I'm not talking about dialing up the thermostat!

Instead, dial down any outside air drifting in and make sure your home is as airtight as possible.

These are things we should have done last fall, of course, as a part of winterizing our home, but better late than never. 

  • Close the flue when you're not using the fireplace.
  • Remove window air conditioning units, or buy covers for them.
  • Caulk openings around pipes under sinks.
  • Put weather stripping along doors or buy draft dogs or kitties (the little sand-filled animals whose tails snuggle up to the bottom of doors).
  • Buy insulating kits for outlets on outer walls.
  • If you have single-paned windows, consider window-insulating kits.

2.  Warm Up Your Home With The Illusion of Warmth

OK. So you've done all that, you're still shivering. Sometimes it helps to create the illusion of warmth.

Think warm and fuzzy. Have slippers stationed by the doors. Cover hardwood floors with area rugs. Drape soft, fluffy afghans over armchairs.

Dot sofas with overstuffed pillows of chenille or velvet. Consider slipcovers. Rearrange your furniture to form more intimate winter fireside seating. Use area lamps instead of overhead lights. 

Next, create spots so cozy that you and your family can't resist them.

Create a reading corner by positioning an overstuffed chair near a table (for teacups), a basket (for magazines and books) and a reading lamp. Near a fireplace if possible.

For family fun, set up a small table in one corner of the den for games, cards, or crafts. Stash all supplies within reach. Keep a puzzle going at all times.

3.  The Warm and Fuzzy Approach

OK, you've got the physical part set up, go for the cozy part. The goal is a room that looks lived in so you will actually want to live in it.

Place family photos on tabletops. Add plants to soften the hard edges of the room. 

In the bedroom, think lush duvets and flannel sheets. Consider bringing home a new set of fluffy, oversized towels and indulge in a heated towel rack to keep them warm. 

Complete the warm and cozy picture by appealing to the rest of your senses; put soft music on and light scented candles. Better yet: bake some cookies.

And for the warmest, coziest feeling of all? Just before bedtime, send your pajamas for a quick spin in the dryer, so you tuck into bed already feeling toasty.

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