9 Tips for Creating Warmth at Home

During this exceptionally cold winter, it's challenging to find creative ways to bring in warmth and comfort into our homes - not only to help reduce our heating bills, but to make us all more comfortable.  Here are nine 'warmth & comfort' ideas for your kitchen and bath:

In the Kitchen:
1. Radiate warmth -  A few years ago, we wanted an island but there wasn't room for a radiator and I really dislike the forced air fans in the toe kicks because they are noisy and I didn't think it would be enough heat. We used a Runtal radiator wrapping the island instead & it looks great---basically flat--and it was really toasty to get up and sit at the island and read the paper with the heat right there!

2. Keep coffeemaker nearby - One way to create
comfort in your kitchen is to make things easy  and convenient... especially in the mornings while we're still waking up! One simple thing is to organize your morning routine into one area, for example, keep all of your coffee or tea making supplies nearby - filters, measuring spoons, coffee, tea, sweeteners, filters - all in one area.

3. Set back your thermostat electronically - Programming thermostats is complicated and irritating - but an un-programmed thermostat can waste 20% of your heating and cooling bill. So the Nest Thermostat programs itself. Just turn it up and turn it down. The Nest Thermostat learns what temperatures you like and builds a personalized schedule. Teach it efficient temperatures for a few days and, within a week, it'll start setting them on its own. https://nest.com/thermostat/life-with-nest-thermostat/.

4. Install an electronic dimmer switch - If you're a night owl, bright lights early in the morning can be a shock to your system and not a pleasant way to start the day.  Consider an electronic dimmer switch - it will adjust to your time schedule and slower raise the level of light each morning... giving  you time for your eyes (and your attitude) to adjust.

5. Keep clutter at bay - Cluttered kitchen counters can create stress, so find creative ways to keep clutter at bay to add comfort and alleviate stress on your busy mornings. Every kitchen has a "drop zone" where keys, purses, backpacks, mail and other paperwork lands.
  • Add dividers to drawers for specific items you use every day
  • Create a charging center for electronics with extra outlets

In the Bathroom: 

6. Install heated floors -  Stepping onto the warmth of a heated floor is an unexpected pleasure on a cold winter morning.  Consider adding radiant or hydronic heat to your bathroom floor:
  • Electric radiant heat is commonly installed in existing homes and uses heating cables within a mesh mat. This is best for specific rooms or spaces and in existing homes.
  • Hydronic heat is probably best for new construction. This type of flooring uses heated water that is distributed through a complex tubing system. For more information see http://www.wfca.org/Pages/Radiant-Heated-Floors.aspx
  • Electric heating can even be run under the floor of the shower.  Now that’s toasty. 
7. Take a fresh look at organization - The old adage "a place for everything & everything in its place" still holds true... especially when looking for peace and tranquility in the bathroom! I've designed drawers for clients specifically to fit their electric toothbrushes (who wants that mess on the counter?) and placed outlets inside drawers for daily straightener or curling iron use. Think about your storage in new ways... how could you make your bathroom space more efficient?

8. Try heated copper towel bars - Now, why didn't I think of that? An innovative solution - hot water runs through these copper pipes... warming the towels while you shower!

9. Relax.  Light some candles and set out your warm slippers, soft robe, and plush towels so they are ready for you after a bath or shower - a little pampering at the end of a long day can help you sleep more soundly and melt away stress.