Winter Warm-up Tips: Heat up Your Home without Turning up the Furnace

Don't blow the budget on heating bills. Warm up your place with these simple tips

Credit: Flickr / Jason Alley

Flannel sheets and warm lighting can go a long way to upping the cozy factor at home

As the weather gets colder you might be tempted to turn up the heat, but that can be hard on the budget

Instead, try these tips for heating up your home, in temperature and in spirit, without cranking the furnace.

Winter Warm-up Tips for Your Home

1. Create a colour infusion: Add a few coloured items around the house in a palette of rusts, golds, reds, browns and greens. Layer patterns for a visual warming effect – try plaids and paisleys, or Nordic motifs.

2. Add heft and loft: Heavier throws on furniture in fabrics like wool, mohair, faux fur and fleece offer both a visual and tactile warm-up. Other easy items to swap out for thicker, textured alternatives include curtains, rugs and lampshades. DIY tip: try repurposing knit scarves by sewing them together to form throw pillows, or draping them festively on bookcases and chairs.

3. Aroma-cize: Nothing evokes a sensation quite like scent. Look for room fragrances or scented candles with notes of wood, spices, pine, mint or incense to create the olfactory perception of warmth and coziness.

4. Do a closet shuffle: Haul out your heavy sweaters, warm jackets and fuzzy slipper socks. They deserve top billing in your closet now. Put your shorts, sandals and tank tops into storage boxes marked “open only in case of Caribbean vacation.”

5. Bed down: Flannel sheets are always an option, but also consider layering your bed with fabrics such as satin, silk, fleece, burlap and wool. Here, too, knit pillows and wool throws add instant snuggle factor, but you can take it a step further by slipcovering your headboard with something warm and fuzzy, or even adding a bedskirt for max softness.

6. Stop leaks:
Before the colder weather arrives, make sure your roof is in good shape and your gutters are clear. Nothing cools the jets like the damp chill of a water leak. If you have storm windows in storage or glass doors on hand to replace screen doors, now’s the time to install them.

7. Seal tight: Sealing out cold air out will warm up your whole home – and dress down your heating bill. Scour exterior walls for any cracks or potential entry points, such as around pipes, and seal them (check with your hardware store for the right kind of insulating material). Add weatherstripping around doors and caulk windows. If you have the time and resources, replace old windows with energy-efficient ones. Plastic film is a less attractive but viable option if you don’t. Keep the draft out: read more about how to winterize your home.

8. Heat smart: Have your furnace and ducts cleaned out if necessary, and change your furnace filters. Clear furniture and other obstacles away from heating vents so that air can flow freely. Consider installing a programmable thermostat for energy conservation and precise temperature adjustments. Check out the Natural Resources Canada website for more great tips on efficient home heating.