Less is More Energy-Efficiency Begins with Interior Design

Less Is More: Energy Efficiency Begins with Interior Design

Before spending too much time, energy and cash investing in remodeling a home to be more energy-efficient, take a moment to consider what changes can be made to the building’s interior. There are several options available to the energy-conscious homeowner, many of which take effect from the inside out. You’d be surprised at how much a simple change to your home’s interior design could create a significant impact in your energy use.

One of the biggest energy drains in any home comes from the air system. If you live in an area that suffers from muggy summers or sub-zero winters (along with everything in-between), then every few hours can feel like a battle against the thermostat in an attempt to stay comfortable throughout your home. Perhaps a few simple improvements can solve this issue.

Add an Area Rug

If you have a home that features large expanses of hardwood or linoleum floors, invest in a few area rugs to use as needed. Rugs located on a cold tile floor in a bathroom, under the living room couch, or even tucked under your bed can make quite a difference in your comfort levels. No one wants to walk around on a cold, hard ground, and the rugs add a visually pleasing appearance. Also, once the weather changes to warmer temperatures, you can remove the rugs as needed.

Layer up with Throws and Quilts

Layering Throw Pillows & Quilts

Likewise, the addition of throw blankets, quilts, or furniture skirting can all create a similar benefit to the rugs. The look is attractive to the eye, adds a great deal of personality to any room in which it supplements, and also is very practical. Drafts and cool spots can be eliminated during winter months, all from a simple fix. And rather than run the heater and crank up the bill, you can keep your family warm with fashionable throw blankets and quilts.

Improve Air Circulation

Have an open room that feels musty or humid? Consider adding a ceiling fan. Circulating cool air during summer time helps keep hands away from the air conditioner dials. Also, in rooms that already have ceiling fans, remember to flip the reversible setting if available when winter comes around. This will turn the blades in the opposite direction, which will recirculate the warm air which has risen to the ceiling. Need help selecting the right ceiling fan for your room? Check out our Ceiling Fan Buying Guide to answer all your questions and more.

Incorporate a Sliding Door

Aesthetically-Pleasing Sliding Doors

Moreover, there are several aesthetically-pleasing interior options available to help with containing cool or warm air to specific areas. Have an open doorway available? Look into installing barndoor hardware, and adding a sliding door to the opening. This adds a wonderful, rustic look to your home, and comes with the added benefit of closing off rooms if wanted. Sliding doors are relatively easy to install, and the finished result is priceless. This will give you a way to keep rooms that are rarely used from stealing needed heat or AC.

Evaluate your Lighting

LED Mini-Pendants for Kitchen & Dining Space

Another important (yet sometimes overlooked) aspect of your home that undoubtedly needs attention is the lighting. Quite often, people pass over energy-efficient LED bulbs, as they were only available in a fluorescent-like “cool white” color, which is harsh to the eye and clashes with the “warm white” of incandescent bulbs. Within recent years, however, this has greatly changed, and LED bulbs are now capable of creating warmer tones. Moreover, LED bulbs are significantly cheaper than they once were, and are quite cost-effective.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Rustic Chandelier in Natural Day Light Lit Room

On the topic of lighting, take a look at the natural light that you are achieving with your windows or glass front doors. Having natural light is a great convenience, as you will not have to turn on so many extra light sources, but what about the heat that comes with it? In some situations, this may be unwanted. Before you go covering up your windows, look into alternatives to retaining your natural light. For instance, you could purchase window film available from 3M, which lets natural light through while blocking heat. The added benefit to this is that it preserves your carpets and furniture by blocking UV rays. It’s a win-win benefit, all from a simple improvement to your windows.

In the end, it should be noted that cost savings and energy efficiency begin within the home itself. By making several simple changes, you are not only adding to your own quality of life, but also increasing resale value of your home. Take a look around your home today, and you may be surprised at how quickly these improvements increase your energy savings.

About the Author

Mikkie Mills is a Chicago native who loves to save money and help others do the same. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her little ones around or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.