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It’s been a freakin’ long day at work and you just want to get home and relax on your deck. But nooooooo, it’s already dark outside and that chill in the air is telling you it’s time to pull out your parka. OK, inside it is. But then it hits you: Indoors feels more like a dank cave than a welcoming oasis. Depressing.
You don’t have to succumb to the winter blahs. Just implement a few of these ideas, and you’ll be warm and comfy inside until winter’s worst blows over.
Your home will appear 30% brighter — without turning on more lights.
It’s not just window and door leaks killing your cozy vibe. Don’t forget to plug stealthy gaps around recessed lights, electrical boxes, and wall outlets. Use a lit incense stick or scented candle to hunt down drafty spots while leaving behind a cozy scent.
Nothing says warm and cozy like opening the door to an enticing aroma that makes your mouth water. Even better, slow cookers are more energy efficient than electric ovens, typically using less energy than a light bulb.
Many indoor plants, like golden pothos and gerbera daisies, are particularly adept at sucking up nasty VOCs — the vapors emitted from household cleaners, paints, and dry cleaning. And since plants increase humidity levels, they help decrease household dust.
Run the fan to help filter dust that gets kicked up while cleaning. Leave it on for about 15 minutes after you finish vacuuming, and switch it back to “auto” afterward. HVAC blowers aren’t intended to run all the time.
Change your filter every couple months (monthly if you have pets) to prevent excess dust and allergens from circulating. All that bad air just gets you down.
Clean your windows. Sparkling glass not only lets more natural light into your home, it’s a feel-good task, according to a survey by the American Clean Institute. When ACI asked consumers what clean surfaces make them happy, “gleaming windows” made the top five above a “spotless sink.” Besides all that, daylighting is a great mood booster.
They trap dirt and can make your home appear darker inside and out. It’s a good curb appeal booster, too.
If you’ve got a DIY TipA dark room with no sunlight will look and feel warmer if you paint the walls in reds, oranges, or yellows.dark room that’s next to a sun-drenched space, putting a window in the shared wall will let the natural light in.
Deirdre Sullivan is an NYC-based writer who's obsessed with maximizing every inch of her urban dwelling. She's a former fashionista who has worked for Lucky Magazine and inStyle. She recently traded her high heels and Fashion Week pass for a drill and bandsaw.