Decorating isn't just for the over-the-top designer anymore. It's for the do-it-yourself renovator, the modern homeowner. Just take a look at the blueprint for a new American home. It's functionality meets the needs of its practical inhabitants – no more unnecessary grand foyers or dad-only offices. So practicality, even frugality, has become the norm.
When you look around your living room, what catches your eye? The paint color, the flooring, and the windows are what make your home cozy yet costly – all of which can be modified to become energy efficient:
Mix Up The Paint Color
Homes with dark-colored exteriors absorb about 80% more heat. That's why most home exteriors are painted with light colors, which reflect light, making them cooler.
The same theory is true inside your home. Light colors (white, eggshell, beige, cream) will keep your home a tad cooler while dark colors (dark brown, deep red, smoky green) will absorb and retain heat.
Carpeting vs. Hard Flooring
As the battle continues between choosing carpet or hard flooring, the winner of energy-efficiency is really up to you.
If you prefer a cooler home, hard flooring is perfect for you because it doesn't retain heat. If you prefer a warmer habitat, carpet and rugs will be your best investment.
Strategic Topiary Skills
Placing foliage and awnings in front of windows, doors and patios that get the most sunlight during the day will reduce the solar heat gain by up to 70%, and lower your energy bill.
Adding insulating film, spacer systems and restoring the caulking on your window are great ways to add efficiency. However, adding window treatments, an ode to home style, is a more stylish way to help minimize heat transfer from windows.
Drapes, blinds, shutters, and shades can all help regulate the temperature inside your home. Blocking sunlight from heating your home during the summer and keeping warm air from escaping during the winter. Look for the R-value on all window treatments -- the higher the R-value, the better the insulation it provides.
Soft window treatments include curtains, drapes, and sheer window panels.
Eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton and hemp are also available.
Hard window treatments include blinds, shades, and shutters, which allow the desired amount of light into your room and offer complete privacy. Cellular (or honeycomb) blinds have layers joined at the pleats to form compartments that trap air, providing top great insulation and energy efficiency.
While you're in the mood for creating an energy-efficient home, consider doing an overall home energy audit to help ensure you keep annual utility costs as low as possible.
Do you prefer blinds, shades, shutters, curtains, drapes or sheer window panels?