Summer is the season of the sun — and if you live in a small space without air conditioning, you are likely to feel every single hour of sunlight. Then, come winter, you are likely to feel the chilly air sooner than those with more space in their homes. What gives?
Small living spaces don’t take much time to heat or cool, which unfortunately means that they tend to be more affected by the seasonal temperature. If you are looking to keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round but don’t have much extra space, here’s what you can do.
Ceiling fans pull the air from the room and push it downward, improving air circulation and providing a gentle indoor breeze. The extra circulation helps to cool the air, and the air’s motion provides a wind-chill effect on the skin, helping your body feel more comfortable in a warmer environment.
You can generate a similar effect from table and floor fans, but when you have limited space, you don’t want to clutter your floor or surfaces with items that can be removed to less intrusive positions. Ceiling fans are out of your moving and lounging space, and if you install ceiling fans with lights, you can move another design element out of the way.
Both warm and cold weather can be better controlled through proper window dressings. The sunlight beaming through your windowpanes will warm your space — and since your space is smaller, that warmth will turn into heat relatively quickly. Additionally, windows tend to be vulnerabilities in your building’s envelope, meaning air from outside can seep into your space through small cracks and gaps around your windows. Certain types of dressings help combat the temperature changes associated with these issues.
The right dressings will depend somewhat on your regional climate. For example, if you live in an area that gets unbearably hot during the summer months, you will want heavier curtains, blinds, or shutters to block out as much light as possible to keep your space cool. In contrast, if your summers are mild, you might not need much around your windows during the warm season. Then again, if your winters are intensely cold, you might opt for several layers of dressings, like cellular shades and draperies, to create an insulating layer between your space and the outdoors. A mild winter might warrant curtains alone, which will hold onto the heat of your living area and allow the sunshine to provide additional warmth.
Both windows and doors create gaps in your exterior envelope. Outside air can permeate your space through these gaps, making it more difficult to keep the interior of your home at a comfortable temperature. Regardless of the season, you want to make sure your small space is appropriately weatherproofed to reduce drafts. Here are a few essential weatherproofing tasks:
- Weatherstripping. Weatherstrips are pieces of rubber, foam or metal that fill the gaps around moving windows and doors to block airflow.
- Window film. Instead of replacing your windows, you can apply window film to reflect the radiant heat of the sunlight and keep your home cooler.
- Door snake. If weatherstripping doesn’t stop drafts seeping in below your door, you can use a “snake,” or a tube of fabric filled with an insulating material like rice or foam scraps, to stop outside air. This is especially useful for interior doors that cannot be weatherstripped.
- Caulk. Gaps in siding and trim around windows and doors — and elsewhere along your home’s envelope — can be filled with caulk.
The furniture and décor within your space can impact how you feel about the interior temperature. For example, if your bed is below a window, you are much more likely to feel cold all winter long, or if your dresser is blocking the vent for your A/C, your space is going to feel hotter during the summers. As you design your space, you should think about where air is entering the room and how it is naturally flowing around your furniture. If any piece of décor seems to be impacting your ability to achieve comfort, you should relocate it.
When you live in a small space, you need to be intentional with every design choice — and that goes double if you are interested in efficiently warming and cooling your home. Using these tips, you should be able to keep your space comfortable year-round, regardless of the outside temperature.
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