Warm Up Your Windows

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Before Curtains

Before Curtains (Photo credit: sparklerawk)

As the nights get decidedly chillier, you may not be aware of the silent, unmoving thieves that are unapologetically taking your cash without you even realizing it. Those drafty areas around your apartment are your first clue … step back and look around … what do you see? Ah, the usual suspects – your windows.

Windows alone make up 25 percent of your heating or cooling bill. So, if you just head toward the thermostat instead of tackling the real problem, your dollars will follow that draft right out the window.

Some apartment buildings have taken steps to improve energy efficiency, which is great. But even if you live in a building with double-paned windows and other energy-efficient measures, you may still want to take a few extra steps to make sure your apartment’s heating and air conditioning stays in your apartment.

Window treatments not only look great – they are the garnish for your room’s décor – they can help save you money. Probably the easiest thing you can do to prepare for the upcoming season is to take shower curtains (either new ones or washed-and-thoroughly-dried old ones) and pin them to the backs of your existing curtains. Shower curtains have grommets along the top, ideal for fastening – use safety pins and attach along the tops of your curtains. The plastic will help insulate your windows during fall and winter, and then can be removed in the spring.

Another great way to block out the chill and lower your energy costs is to make your own window quilts. If you enjoy DIY projects, these can be very inexpensive to make – you just need some fabric, some batting, three thin boards, and a venetian blind cord. And with so many fabrics to choose from, you can select anything from traditional quilting squares to toile to your favorite sports team’s colors.

The latest and greatest trend in windows is honeycomb shades. These shades have little pockets (hence the name honeycomb) that trap the air, forming a barrier between the cold (or hot) air outside and the comfortable temperature of the room. Honeycomb shades are great for those who don’t really like the heaviness of curtains, or those who prefer a clean-lined, modern décor.

On the other end of the spectrum would be velvet curtains. These may conjure up images of Victorian drawing rooms with fussy, ornate velvet drapes, but today’s velvet curtains are beautiful, warm, and luxurious. Velvet is a great way to warm up your space and keep the cold air out, and they add a pop of texture and color to your décor.

Once your windows are nice and insulated (not to mention decorated), don’t forget about the rest of the room. Adding an afghan or two, along with some plush throw pillows in cozy fabrics, will help warm up your space and get you ready for the long days of winter ahead. Don’t forget about your feet – area rugs are great for wood, tile, and linoleum floors, so add a few where you need a little more color and warmth.