It's that time of year again — the days are getting shorter, the chill in the air is getting sharper, and you're already making plans and preparations for the holiday season. While winter comes with a lot of joy, jolliness and hot cocoa, it also arrives with the addition of a less heartwarming aspect — your energy bill.
When temperatures drop, snow falls, and the sun sets at dinnertime each day, your home becomes a warm, cozy haven for the whole family. During the frozen days and long, cold nights of the winter season, everyone spends more time inside — bundled up on the sofa watching TV, opening and closing the refrigerator to cook holiday treats and grab comforting snacks or nestled in bed with a good book. All this cozy cold-weather time indoors means your family is using more energy. You turn your lights on for a longer portion of the day, turn your heat up to fight the winter chill, turn your televisions on more often when outdoor entertainment isn't an option and altogether consume a much higher level of energy in your home during the winter.
The winter months can raise your energy usage significantly, which can add up quickly on your electric or gas bill. Heating your home alone can raise your energy expenses, and other cost factors from electricity can spike significantly, as well. With holiday gifts, meals and travel expenses to consider, the winter already requires a big budget — don't add to the season's total with extra energy bills. Instead, stay warm and cozy and design your home with the most attractive, appealing winter decor elements while keeping your electricity expenses reasonable with a variety of easy-to-implement, energy-efficient interior design tips that will save you on energy costs. Here are some ideas for a lovely winter home design that will help Pennsylvania residents lower energy bills and feel proud of their home aesthetic.
Lights for Your Energy Efficient Home Design
Lights are an integral part of any home design — especially in the winter when the dark hours are longer, and you want your rooms to shine with warmth. Keeping your home well-lit in the winter is a big part of making your design cozy and your ambiance welcoming and comforting — you may even decide to invest in some extra lights like lanterns, electric candles and indoor strings of lights for your winter home decor. While heartwarming, that extra light can lead to a higher energy bill — but there are design-friendly ways to save on electric costs besides just conserving your electricity. Light upgrades or interior design adjustments can add up to make a difference.
When you're aiming to save on your energy bill in your home, incorporating motion sensor lights into your living space is an energy-efficient way to make sure you use the lighting you need but don't consume an excess amount. In the dark and the winter, we tend to turn on the lights more often whenever we enter a room and leave them on even when we leave. Motion sensor or timer-controlled lights will only activate when we're in the vicinity or for as long as they're set, saving you on those extra costs from idle lighting. Incorporating motion sensor lights into your home design is an aesthetically-friendly, easy way to be more efficient with your electricity without sacrificing design or changing the atmosphere and decorative aspect your lights provide. Try motion sensor table lamps, floor lights, counter lights and even night lights for a warm feel.
If you want to make a small, simple change that will affect your winter — and year-round — energy usage in a big way, switch out your home's light bulbs for more energy-efficient options like LED lights or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). Lasting up to 25,000 hours each or 25 times longer than the average incandescent bulb, LED lights will save you 75 percent of your average annual energy costs. Saving you a similar amount and increasing your efficiency as well, CFL bulbs are another option and last around 10,000 hours each. Both options fit easily into your lamps and lighting fixtures to keep your home beautiful.
Light bulbs are also universal, so switching to LED bulbs is a quick upgrade for any new or existing lamps or light fixtures in your home.
Colors for an Energy-Efficient Interior Design
It may not be the first element you consider in decorating and furnishing your home, but your use of colors in your interior design can actually affect each room's absorption or reflection of heat or light, making that area — and your home in general — warmer or colder and contributing to your household's energy usage. When you're aiming to make your home warmer in the winter, use deeper, darker and bolder colors. Deep colors for both your furniture and decor can warm your home literally and atmospherically — because darker colors absorb more light and retain more heat, and deep, warm colors are a great way to keep your heart warm with a charming design in the winter.
Furnish heavy-traffic home areas like your living room with pieces in deep, warm shades. Great furniture choices for cold weather are pieces like rich brown leather sofas or deep mahogany end tables, dressers and wooden furniture that hold heat to keep your home looking and feeling warmer and cozier. If you're not ready to switch out a large piece of furniture, you can also warm your space with smaller reflective home decor accessories like brass candleholders or mirrors, which reflect light to keep your home brighter during the dark winter nights.
Throw blankets and pillows in deep reds and browns are another excellent idea. They will help retain heat in the winter and can easily be put away during the warmer months when they're not needed. If you're cold, it's much easier to grab a blanket off the back of the chair or sofa you're on than to get up to pull on a sweater or adjust the thermostat for the entire house. Wrapping up in a cozy blanket saves you more energy too.
Moving Furniture to Save Energy
Another way to save on heating and energy in your winter home design is to rearrange your furniture to provide the optimum airflow and circulation from your heating vents. Your home needs a refresher every now and then anyway, and rearranging your sofas, entertainment systems, dressers or beds is a great way to try a new home layout you might like better while also making sure you encourage airflow from your vents. First, locate all your heating and air vents. Many homeowners tend to hide their vents below or behind furniture like sofas, bookcases and entertainment centers to keep their houses looking pristine — but when you block off your heating sources, you obstruct the airflow from your vents, preventing your house from warming properly and causing your furnace or heater to labor harder.
To let your heating system work well and optimize your airflow around the house, rearrange your living room and bedroom furniture to let your vents breathe and heat your home. If you prefer your air vents to be out of sight, try positioning your sofas, bedframes or bookcases to hide them without blocking them completely. This will help your energy bill and keep your home more thoroughly warmed. In addition, rearranging your living room, bedroom and other areas can make for a great aesthetic refresher every now and then — you might discover you like your new arrangement even more.
You can also inspect your vents to see if they are directional. If they are, try angling them into the room instead of straight up. Often vents are placed directly under windows, and if they're blowing straight up, all that heat may be blowing right out of the house. If you don't have directional vents, consider replacing your vents with directional ones or adding vent deflectors. Vent deflectors are also good if your vents are under sofas, entertainment systems or other furniture you don't want to move — a deflector will be hidden under the furniture, so it won't compromise style and can help direct heat into the room.
How to Save Energy on Your Holiday Decor
The holidays are everyone's favorite part of winter — the Thanksgiving leftovers have all been eaten, the chill of early December has settled in the air, and you're beginning to feel that familiar excitement that starts with the holiday season. You can't imagine a festive, feel-good holiday in your home without your stockings hung by the chimney with care and your halls decked with boughs of holly — and to show the fullness of your holiday spirit, you want your home to shine the brightest on your street.
When you're setting out your decorations and stringing up your lights, however, you might not know just how much you're running up your electricity and energy bill. Americans are famous for our enthusiasm around the holidays, but we're also infamous for our consumption. Did you know that some states are so enamored with Christmas lights, they use more electricity for the holidays than other countries use in an entire year? In fact, each holiday season raises the average light intensity in suburban areas from 30 to 50 percent from Black Friday to New Year's Day.
Instead of channeling your holiday spirit at the expense of your electric bill, choose LED lights to make your porch twinkle, tree glisten and banisters glitter. In addition, consider conserving light in areas your holiday lights already make bright. If you adorn your porch in glimmering icicle lights and other holiday decor, for example, you don't need to turn on your outside lights all season. If your Christmas tree warms your living room with its light, leave off your lamps and ceiling lights in the same room while it's still up. You should also make sure to set yourself a timing schedule for your holiday lights. Turn on your Christmas tree and outdoor lights when the sun sets, for example, and unplug them all before you go to bed. This will help keep your electric usage moderate while still letting you enjoy the season. Don't leave those lights on all night.
Another excellent way to save on energy while maximizing the expression of your holiday spirit is to focus on holiday decorations that don't require energy. You have a host of elegant and exuberant options when it comes to holiday decor inside and outside your home. Garlands and rustic home Christmas decor are a classic choice for your porch and inside your home. Decorate your banisters, doorways, front door and porch railings with authentic evergreen or festive silver garlands, and adorn them with additions like bows, faux holly berries and bells. Accentuate your home decor with holiday props like wooden sleighs, Christmas trees or reindeer in your front yard and porch — you can add holiday signs along your walkway, as well. For the inside of your home, decorate with holiday candles, Christmas wall art, doorknob stockings, countertop Christmas props and other festive decor that doesn't require any electricity.
Rugs for Your Energy-Efficient Home Design
When the temperatures drop, the chill sets in, and it seems like your hardwood floors have frozen over, you might think all your heat is escaping through the flooring, and your feet will never be warm again. Luckily, there's an easy, inexpensive way to warm both your feet and your home with one simple interior design step. When it comes to your hardwood and tile flooring, laying down area rugs is an optimal way to warm things up inside your home. Not only does a good-quality area rug offer your feet a warm surface to tread on when the weather outside is frightful, but it provides an extra layer of insulation to keep the heat sealed in your house.
When it comes to choosing an area rug, designs with heavy, warm materials and larger surface areas are best for insulation. Options like woven bamboo rugs or synthetic materials may look modern and aesthetically pleasing, but they won't do much to absorb heat or keep your home's temperature higher. Instead, opt for materials like heavy wool or cotton and choose large rugs to cover more space. Once again, dark, deep and warm colored area rugs will absorb heat and make both your home and heart cozy while drawing out the warm tones in your furniture and winter home design decor. When the weather warms up, area rugs are easy to roll up and store away until next winter.
How to Choose Winter Window Treatments for Your Energy-Efficient Interior Design
They may let light in to warm your rooms, but don't be fooled — if they're thin, old or leaky, your windows can let out a lot of heat in the brisk winter months. Insulated window glass can help protect against the cold, but if your home has regular windows, you can incorporate a variety of window treatments to keep your rooms warm and cozy. To minimize drafts from leaky or thin windows, think about incorporating decorative elements like small foldable shutters to match your home decor and add a rustic touch while keeping more warmth inside. If you're looking for a simple, inexpensive way to stop the heat from flying out of your windows, investing in a smart set of quality shades or draperies for each room is a great idea as well.
Heavy, high-quality materials for your window dressings make the best insulators and energy-savers, and dark or bold colors will absorb heat best. When it comes to choosing a design and material for your window coverings, you have so many options. For custom-made draperies, expert craftsmanship and dressings of superior quality, explore Davids Furniture's window dressing designs from Hunter Douglas, Lafayette and more. They'll keep your home toasty and enhance the aesthetic of your winter home design all season.
Beat the Cold With Efficient Interior Design Tips From Davids Furniture & Interiors
Winter is just around the corner, and when the temperatures drop, you want to make sure your energy bills don't rise. By implementing our simple winter home design strategies with your choice of lighting, colors, furniture placement, holiday decor, area rugs and window coverings, you can maximize your home's aesthetic for the season while minimizing your energy costs.
If you're interested in creating an energy-efficient home design but you need a little help, you'll be pleased to know Davids Furniture & Interiors provides complimentary interior design services. We have three convenient locations in Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg and Berks Country. At Davids Furniture, we've been offering fine furnishings to Pennsylvania families since 1972.
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