5 Ways to Make a Home Extra Cozy This Winter without Paying a Fortune

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

With cooler temperatures, home owners will want to keep a home inviting and cozy, especially if they’re trying to sell it.

But just cranking up the heat can prove costly — particularly this year. Heating costs are on the rise, and more than 90 percent of homes will likely face higher heating expenses during this year’s cold season, according to the Energy Department. For example, households using natural gas will likely see bills 13 percent higher this year than last, paying on average $679 for heat this season.

So what are some quick, affordable ways to keep a home warm? A free, new ebook, “The Cure for the Common Cold Room: A Safe & Smart Home Heating Guide,” by ElectricFireplacesDirect.com offers up numerous tips and tricks to home owners and sellers for keeping a home warm this winter. Here are a few ideas from the book:

1. Add area rugs: Hardwood and tile floors can make your home feel cold in the winter. Add some area rugs to provide a warmer barrier between your feet and the floor. Non-skid utility rugs or rubber mats can make kitchen floors more comfortable and safe, according to the ebook.

2. Set ceiling fans to run clockwise: Yes, a ceiling fan can be used in the winter months too and can even help heat your home. The majority of ceiling fans have two settings: Counterclockwise cools rooms in the summer and clockwise can force warm air downward in the winter. Look for a small switch on the ceiling fan to change its direction clockwise for the cooler months.

3. Rearrange furniture: Check the arrangement of the furniture in the home to make sure it’s cozy. Often times, home owners spread out furniture to fill an entire room. Instead, group pieces together to get a warmer feel. Move furniture away from the windows and doors and closer to the fireplace, if there is one in the home.

4. Add moisture to the air: Humid air feels warmer than dry air. Therefore, a humidifier may make a difference. Cool mist and warm mist humidifiers can both be effective in making rooms feel warmer. “A cool mist humidifier is safer — and usually less expensive — because it doesn’t expel hot water or steam vapor that could hurt children or pets,” according to the book.

5. Let the sun shine inside: Use the sun to heat your home by adjusting the home’s curtains to let the sun in. Open south-facing curtains on sunny days. Also, be sure to close curtains at night to provide an extra barrier against wintery winds that are trying to squeeze inside the home.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. Another good tip is to make sure all the windows are properly caulked. Here are a few more things you should do before winter: http://richsparks.com/home-winterization-tips/

  2. Great Article – thank you so much. I would further recommend to your readers, after you do all that, pack a bag and come home to Delray Beach Florida! http://www.delraymike.com

  3. Stacey Moncrieff

    Melissa, as an old-house dweller, I greatly appreciate this post. My husband read it and downloaded the ElectricFireplacesDirect.com guide. I had to laugh when he focused on this tip:

    “From inside, spray a light mist of water on the window and then press a
    sheet of bubble wrap, bubble-side out, against it. It will stick there, and the
    bubbles will act as a barrier against the cold.”

    My exact words: “You’re not putting bubble-wrap on our windows.” Of course, he ignored me and tried it on two windows in our bedroom, generally the coldest room in the house, and it was effective!

  4. Thank you for the great post. With rising energy and heating costs, these tips will come in handy. We are very lucky in Texas that our winters don’t last too long! Come visit Austin!

  5. As the Christmas season is fast approaching, these tips are of great use to everyone who has plans to decorate a home for the holidays!