How To Make Your House Warmer When You Can’t Fix Your Insulation

Years ago when I lived in San Francisco I lived in a house built in 1950. If I had to guess, that house hasn’t been renovated since. Insulation was abysmal and we had windows that were only held in place from years of painting over and over the window sill. I imagine this is why we discovered black mold in the walls and floorboards, a fact that the landlord could care less about–reminding us that if we wanted to terminate our lease he could find new tenants in a heartbeat. Oh, sweet SF.

Of course, San Francisco isn’t the coldest climate but it is wet and drafty most of the time (Have you ever heard “the coldest winter I’ve ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”?). As a Southern California gal, I was often cold in the city and I wish I knew what I know now. I know those who live in actually cold climates are laughing hysterically at me right now, but I wish I would have researched how to make your house warmer when I needed it. Perhaps then I could have unplugged my space heater every once in a while. But now that I know what I know, my hope is to share this knowledge with anyone else shivering in their drafty, poorly insulated homes.

Rugs & Tapestries

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: ryann’s moto reveal: a moody multi-functional living and dining room with a lot of soul
photo by tesaa neustadt | from: my living room update

Let’s face it. Hard surfaced floors are cold. As much as hardwood or cement tile floors look good, in the winter they can be one of the reasons your house is anything but cozy. Bring in the large-scale textiles. Adding large rugs will simply add an extra layer between your floor and your feet, making your home feel warmer and cozier. Similarly, hanging tapestries or large-scale art can provide an extra layer which helps to block airflow through the walls.



Hot Tip

A bookcase-lined wall is also a great way to block the cool air from coming through your walls. Your own little literary forcefield that also looks awesome.

Use Draft Stoppers

Under the door draft stoppers are a good option to keep warm or cool air from escaping from one room to another. They will also conserve energy (and thus save you money) by closing up that space under your door.

1. Door Draft Stopper 36 Inch-Beige | 2. Double Draft Stop for Doors or Windows | 3. 6 Inch Under Door Draft Stopper

Get A Window Insulator Kit

If replacing old windows is not an option for you, window insulator kits can help block unwanted drafts entering your home. They are user-friendly, affordable, and are a great option for those who aren’t trying to put a lot of money into a rental.

1. 3M Indoor Window Insulator Kit | 2. Window Seal Strip Self-Adhesive | 3. Max Strength Indoor Window Film

But if you are handy or are willing to spend a little more for something easier on the eyes then this next option is great for you!

Consider A Storm Window Insert (DIY or Custom Made)

For those that want a reusable option that’s a little prettier, storm window inserts might be just what you need. You have a couple of options. If you are handy with tools (or know someone who is and does) then you can totally build your own. If you have a lot of windows then this is definitely the more cost-efficient option. Here is a YouTube video tutorial (and a corresponding blog post) that will help give you an idea of what it entails (also you can use plexiglass instead of real glass if you want). But there’s a ton of info out there, so search away to find a version that works best for you.

via yellow brick home

But if power tools aren’t your thing, then there are companies that will build them for you. Yellow Brick Home did a collab with a company called Indow and they look great (see above)! This probably makes more sense for homeowners that are quite financially ready to replace their windows or you have beautiful vintage windows you don’t want to replace (but are real drafty). As you can see in the photo on the right the insert looks really nice. There are of course lots of companies so definitely shop around.

Line Your Curtains

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: how to pull together your own dream suite

Layering thick black-out curtains under your primary curtains can also help insulate your windows. Similar to adding rugs and tapestries, this simply will add a layer of protection from the exterior of your home. Thicker curtains will keep cold air out way better than thin curtains.

Get An Electric Fireplace

If you don’t have a fireplace, electric fireplaces are becoming more and more popular (are you proud of me for not saying they are so hot right now?). They are also more sleek, modern, and fresh-looking than ever so they’re definitely a more stylish option than say, a space heater.

1. Updike 19.7” W Electric Fireplace | 2. Hollis 32″ Electric Fireplace | 3. Frescan Electric Fireplace

Emily’s best friend, Suzanne, has this one and loves it (so does Emily but it’s a splurge for sure). It’s so pretty and looks built-in.

Let The Sun Shine

Lest we forget that the sun is the most natural heater there is! When the sun is shining during the warm part of the day, open your curtains so your home can absorb as much natural warmth from the sun. Then when the sun sets, be sure to close the curtains which will help trap the cold air when the temperature drops.

Leave the Oven Door Open (As It Cools Of After Cooking)

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: about those integrated appliances in the mountain house kitchen

I love when something is cooking in the oven on a cold night. I have a small kitchen so whenever we are cooking it gets 10 degrees hotter in there. To really maximize the heat potential, leave your oven door open after you have shut it off. Of course, keep your eye on kids and pets during this time so no one tries to play hide and seek in the oven.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

photo by tesaa neustadt | from: the easiest guest room makeover ever

Reversing the direction of your ceiling fan actually moves the warm air near the ceiling downwards. Most ceiling fans have a reverse switch on the motor housing so it’s easy to switch back and forth. No electrician necessary!

Move Your Sofa

If you have a radiator you should make sure that large furniture like your sofa is not blocking the heat flow. As much as you might want to hide it for aesthetic purposes, it actually needs room to do its job. If something is blocking it, the warmth can’t travel and is less effective in heating up your home. That said, should we do a post on how to make an old radiator look better?? I’ll let you vote on that in the comments.

Let The Shower Steam Out

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | design by emily bowser | from: moto reveal: emily bowser’s 32 square foot bathroom is packed with small space hacks

Shower steam is a precious commodity when you live in a cold house. A great way to capitalize on all that warmth is to shower with the door closed so you can collect the steam. When you are finished open the shower and bathroom door so you can let the steam out into the other rooms of your house.

As an added bonus, electric blankets are just good to have in the winter when your home isn’t retaining heat like it should be. Em is also a big fan. Here are some of the best-reviewed:

1. Purerelief Radiance Deluxe Electric Blanket – Queen | 2. Beautyrest® Zuri Oversized Faux Fur Heated Throw | 3. Sunbeam Heated Throw Blanket | Reversible Sherpa | 4. Wicked Cozy Heated Blanket | 5. Sunbeam Heated Blanket | 5 Heat Settings | 6. 50″x60″ Electric Diamond Sherpa & Faux Fur Throw Blanket – Threshold™

That is all from us, but I am sure you all have a wealth of knowledge so please share all your tips and tricks down below. xx

Opener Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Mountain House Reveal: Our Calm Scandinavian Master Bedroom

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This post was originally published here.