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 toasty when a cold snap blows in.
But for those of us who actually have to function, we need to get a bit creative to ward off the chill at home.
Here are three easy ways to warm up your home without increasing your energy bills.
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, while winterizing our home, but better late than never!
OK. So you've done all that, you're still shivering. Sometimes it helps to create the illusion of warmth. Dot sofas with overstuffed pillows of chenille or velvet. Consider slipcovers.Think warm and fuzzy. Have slippers stationed by the doors. Cover hardwood floors with area rugs. Drape soft, fluffy afghans over armchairs.
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.
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.