Jackets, Beanies and Mulled Wine?
Short of over-consuming mulled wine, you can create a sense of warm comfort as well as make physical improvements to make your living space cosier in some pretty easy ways. I am writing this from Tasmania during the winter solstice. Many of us have been enjoying the Dark Mofo (Museum of Old and New Art: winter Festival of Music and Art). It has been great to be out, all rugged up with jackets and beanies, but returning to a warm and inviting living space adds to the experience.
There is something pretty special about standing, with friends, around a section of 44 gallon drum, filled generously with burning eucalypt. There were plenty of examples of fire and light at Dark Mofo. That may not be practical at home but don’t forget the humble candle. You have the option of fragrances and of placing them inside warmly coloured glass surrounds. Pushing the idea of flames a bit further, you may have access to an old kero lamp. It could be gathering dust in a shed or sourced from a second hand store. Some were more than the basic pressed metal ones and had coloured glass for the kero reservoir. They can be interesting decorating elements in themselves.
Colour & Materials
Think of colour and materials. For example, if you have a glass topped table, consider toning down the cold look and feel of the glass with warm coloured fabric. Even a runner will have a marked effect if a table cloth would take away too much of the crisp defined edge of polished glass. Floor rugs not only provide good insulation but provide an appealing texture and plenty of scope for rich warm colours. Repainting walls may be an option depending on how big the task is. If you need furniture, remember that clear finished timber will always look and feel warmer than glass or metal.
Maybe draughty doors and big heat losses though single glazed windows, push candles and lamps down the list of priorities. Weather strips on the doors and clear film on the windows can have a hugely positive effect. The costs are not great, quickly recovered, and your time to do it is good for years of benefit. The clear films, that effectively provide double glazing, use high-bond double-sided tape to attach the film to the window frames and heat from a hair dryer to make it taut. Once you have followed the directions doing the first one, the rest are easy. You can do your research on the web.
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Another option for windows is using effective curtains or blinds but these are bigger decisions and typically cost more. Heavy drapes can be good but need to be made so that the cold draft off the window does not flow down the glass and out onto the floor. So, drapes reaching the floor are advantageous as are pelmets at the top. Blinds that concertina when up and form hexagonal cells when down, provide an insulating barrier. But as with curtains, how effective they are is a function of how well they fit into the window area and prevent cold air leaking or flowing out.
A Bracing Finish
I am no fan of how alcohol is pushed and consumed in Australia, but a glass of mulled wine, on a Tasmanian winter’s night, has its place. Dark Mofo is worth a visit too but you will have to plan for the fortnight leading up to the winter solstice next year. Brace yourself for the nude swim at dawn. There were no shortage of takers this year!