By Stephanie Hell
Nobody knows your house like you do, and chances are in the middle of winter, you have become intimately aware of its cold spots, drafts, and just plain uncomfortable rooms. You have probably also contemplated refurbishing or replacing whatever might be painfully past due, made adjustments to weatherstripping, and doubled up on wearing layers as necessary. Sure, you may look like a homeless person on some mornings as you tread your way to the coffeemaker, but at least you’re warm, and there’s no one around you need to impress… at that time of day, anyway. Warmth, after weeks of icy temperatures, has become a fleeting friend who ditched you long ago when you needed it most.
You can catch that rascal and create a warm cozy room for less than you may think. Choose the weapon that’s within your budget, in which room you tend to spend the most time, and create your happy zone away from, let’s face it, the stark unhappiness of winter. The first thing to do is measure out the square footage of the room you’ll use, and you may want to choose one with doors to keep the coziness inside and prevent it from spilling out. The master bedroom is always a good idea, but if you have a family, the living room or family room may be wiser so everyone can enjoy.
Once you have determined the square footage you will be heating, it’s an easy step to look at the variety of options. There is a wide selection of space heaters in every shape and size, but you may want to consider portable heaters which use radiant heat. Because these emit warmth from infrared radiation, they warm the occupants in the room rather than merely blowing hot air that instantly rises to the ceiling. The type of units that would be needed for an area of up to 1,000 square feet are less than $100, can be set on timers, are cool to the touch, and have an automatic shut-off, so there’s no need to worry about overheating.
If your new happy zone has a window, check the weatherstripping and replace or repair it if needed so your additional heat isn’t quickly cooled off by a draft. You are keeping those drapes closed anyway, so consider putting in solar curtains behind the decorative fabric you most likely already have. Sheer panels can be purchased for less than $7 and will keep the cold where it belongs – out of your cozy happy space! The same panels help to keep the summer heat out as well, so you are not wasting your money if you decide you need a cool happy place in a few months. I know you’re longing for the summer sun right now, but on the first hot day of summer, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for how insightful you were.
Light Up Your Life
By now you are ready for some ambiance and a little extra heat to top off your new space. It’s not only cold outside, but it’s usually dark too, so grab those extra lamps from the basement, and bring some sunlight inside. Light bulbs give off a great amount of heat, and the higher the wattage, the more heat they release. It’s the simple reaction of electricity heating a small wire, but who cares, put a lamp on every table and you’ll think the sun just came up. Table lamps and floor lamps are can be purchased inexpensively as a set if you don’t have a ready supply, and they can also add dimension and color to a room. Sturdy lights with grips that can attach to window sills or bookshelves are less than $20 and allow you to place the heat exactly where you need it.
You are now ready for some popcorn, binge watching, and a warm glass of cab sav or whatever you like. Put on your most comfortable jammies, shut off the vents in a few other rooms, and enjoy. You deserve it. And unless you’ve recently beamed down, you know to shut off that wonderful new heater prior to exiting all that happiness for the night.
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.bigstock.com and www.dreamstime.com