With cold weather right around the corner and the price of fuel and energy for heating skyrocketing, we all might be facing some chilly indoor temperatures this winter.
Worse, a total loss of fuel or energy infrastructure might leave you looking for alternate ways to stay warm.
Luckily there are plenty of ways to keep yourself warm inside your home, from old-world know-how to modern conveniences.
Best of all, you can keep toasty without breaking the bank or accidentally burning your house down! Below are 20 ways to stay warm and cozy all season long.
1. Get a Space Heater
If you have access to electricity, one of the most effective ways to heat up a small space is with a space heater.
You can find them for as little as $20 at major retailers, and they’re relatively easy to operate.
Just be sure to read the instructions carefully, as some models require special ventilation, and all should be kept away from flammable materials.
Even without electricity, you might be able to rely on alcohol or kerosene heaters if required.
2. Wear Warm Clothing
One of the very best ways to keep warm in a cold room is just to put on warm clothing, and more of it! Layer clothing creates air pockets of trapped heat next to your skin.
Be sure to start with a good base layer, like long underwear, and add heavier items on top, like long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, and even jackets and scarves if it is truly frigid.
If you don’t have access to a lot of different clothes, simply wear your heaviest items.
It is a strange idea that we should be able to wear light clothes in the middle of a raging winter storm, but that has not been the rule for most of human history!
3. Drink Hot Coffee or Tea
There is hardly anything nicer on a cold winter day than curling up with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
Not only will the warmth of the mug heat up your hands, but the hot liquid will also warm you from the inside out.
Be sure to drink in moderation, however, as too much caffeine can actually make you lose heat quicker by dehydrating you and constricting your blood vessels.
If you are struggling without much in the way of power or fuel, make a larger batch and pour it into a thermos so it will stay piping hot and ready to drink for hours on end.
4. Stop Drafts
There is nothing that will steal the heat from a room quicker than a draft.
If you can feel a cold breeze coming in from under a door, near a wall, or by a window, plug it up with a towel or blanket.
The same goes for windows. Make sure they are shut tight and, if possible, covered with curtains or blankets to create an extra barrier.
The best way to eliminate drafts is well before the season starts getting cold by placing caulk, installing trim and seals, and other such things, but a hasty solution can still work when you need it.
5. Bundle Up in a Blanket
Probably the easiest and most “instinctive” method for keeping warm on this list, and one of the most effective, is just bundling up with a blanket.
Wool blankets are ideal as they are naturally fire retardant and will keep you the warmest, but any type of blanket will work.
Wrapping a blanket around yourself does two things: it blocks out drafts and it further traps your body heat, creating a tiny microclimate of warm air around you.
If you have more than one blanket, layering them can be even more effective.
6. Warm Your Clothes in a Dryer
If you still have electricity and access to a dryer, one of the best and quickest ways for beating out the chill is to warm up some already-dry clothes in your clothes dryer.
Just set it on high for about five minutes and then put on the warmed-up items.
This is a great way to get warm quickly immediately prior to diving under the covers or snuggling up with someone else. You can also warm up your sheets and blankets this way as well!
7. Build a Fire
The ideal cure for a cold room is a crackling warm fire built in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
If you have the fuel and matches (or a lighter), this is probably the most comfortable and definitely the cheeriest option on this list.
If there is already a fireplace in your cold room, simply build a small fire to suit your preferences. If not, and you are using a wood-burning stove, do the same and adjust the damper as needed.
In both cases, be sure that your appliance is properly serviced and functional, as either one can cause a devastating accidental fire or release deadly CO gas if it malfunctions.
8. Close the Drapes at Sundown
If your room has windows in it, you should hang and close heavy drapes over them whenever the sun goes down.
This will help to stop drafts, and also prevent your heat from leaking out of the room through the window panes.
If you want to take things a step further, you can even purchase special thermal or blackout curtains that are designed to do an even better job of insulating your windows against heat loss.
9. Let in Sunlight
The reverse of the previous tip, if you have any windows that receive full- or half-sunlight you will want to open the drapes and blinds to let that warming energy stream into the room.
This is especially effective on the south- and west-facing windows, as they will receive the most direct sunlight during the daytime hours, though the exact orientation varies depending on where you live on the globe.
Sunlight-warmed surfaces will continue to radiate their heat for a time even after the sunlight is no longer falling upon them, so this is a great way to keep a room comfortable even after sunset.
10. Take a Hot Bath or Shower
If you are easily chilled in a cold room, grab a piping hot shower or bath right before settling in. A long, hot soak is just the thing to keep you warmed up.
Once you are finished, dry quickly and dress in the steamy bathroom in order to stay warm before you move into colder areas of the house. Combine this trick with warming up your clothes in a dryer for maximum warmth!
Your body starts to heat up when your muscles are working, that’s just a fact. So if you are bored in a chilled room you can warm yourself, and it, with some light exercise.
Just a few minutes of jumping jacks, pushups, or other exercises will do the trick. You will feel warmer pretty quickly and the room will noticeably warm up if you sustain it long enough.
If you are with others in the room, see if you can get them to join in and make it a group affair.
Now, don’t workout so long or hard that you start truly sweating, as wet skin and clothes will make chill air feel that much worse.
12. Use a Heating Pad
Heating pads are small, thin, energy-efficient, and a great way to directly warm up your skin or furniture when in a cold room.
You can find them in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small hand warmers to large mats.
Some even come with special features like massaging nubs or built-in timers. Place one on your lap, back, or tummy and let it go to work warming you up.
Keep in mind that will probably need an extension cord and a nearby outlet to use one of these, so be sure you have access to both before selecting a spot in the room.
Also, keep in mind many have “auto-off” functions to help prevent accidents with seniors.
13. Snuggle with a Pet
Is this even America if you cannot rely on your dog or cat as a warming device? All jokes aside, your furry friends will likely be more than content to snuggle up with you when the weather is chilly.
Get settled in, make some room for them, and enjoy the physical and emotional warmth they can provide on a cold day.
14. Cuddle with Your Partner
What’s better than snuggling up with your pet to beat the chill? How about cuddling up with a loved one? Two human bodies can crank out a lot of heat, especially under a big, comfy blanket.
Pull your partner in close and keep an eye on their blanket-thief tendencies and you should have no problem staying warm.
Same thing when settling down for bed. Snuggle up close, tuck the covers in tight, and let your body heat do the work.
15. Use a Hot Water Bottle
A technique your great-grandparents probably used, and with good reason: it works!
Fill a rubber hot water bottle with, you guessed it, hot water, and then tuck it into your bed before climbing in or beneath your covers.
You can even let it sit on your lap while on the couch or in your favorite chair. The gentle heat will radiate outward from the bottle, warming up your whole body.
You can also use one to warm up a particularly chilly spot on the couch or recliner. Just be careful not to sit on it or spill it, else you will have a huge mess to deal with.
16. Put Rugs Down
Rugs are an often forgotten fix for helping to combat a chilly room, one that works by trapping heat room (and in you) by preventing contact with the much colder floor (cold air sinks).
This is especially useful if you have hardwood or tile floors that tend to get cold quickly and stay that way.
Choose a nice, thick rug or two and place them strategically in the room in order to maximize their effectiveness.
Extra points for a bear skin rug. You can also lay down a few rugs in front of doors to help prevent drafts from coming in.
17. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Another simple but effective method for keeping rooms warmer in the fall in winter is to reverse your ceiling fans.
This may sound counter-intuitive since we are trying to stop drafts, but it actually works because hot air rises toward the ceiling where it cannot warm you.
Reversing the direction of your ceiling fans will help to push the hot air that has risen to the ceiling back down into the room where you can actually benefit from it.
18. Open the Oven Door When Finished Cooking
Winter is the best time to cook at home since hot meals will warm your body and your heart.
But you can also take advantage of your cooking efforts by using the heat generated by your oven to help warm up your home.
When you are finished cooking, leave the oven door open for a few minutes to let all that heat out into the room. Note you should never do this with a running over, as it is unsafe.
19. Blow Dry Your Bed or Couch
Want to create a warm little nest for yourself? Start by heating up your bed or couch with a blow dryer.
Go over the entire surface, taking care to hit all the nooks and crannies. Then, pile on the blankets and pillows and snuggle in.
The combination of the heat from the blow dryer and your body heat should keep you plenty warm until you drift off to sleep.
20. Have Some Friends or Family Over
If one or two bodies are good, more must be better. Gather up some friends or family and have a cozy night in.
Whether you are playing games, watching movies, or just chatting, the extra body heat will do wonders for warming up any cold room.
And if anyone starts to get too warm, there is always the option of cracking a window for a minute to let in a little fresh air.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, though not very much. Larger rooms will need lots of candles to make any noticeable difference.
If you are using candles to heat a room, be sure to keep an eye on them and never leave them unattended.
Not exactly. It is germs, not cold temps, that make you sick but there is a connection between the two.
Many germs flourish in colder, dry environments and that might result in your becoming sick more often in colder environments.
Maybe! There is plenty of evidence to suggest that cool, not cold, bedrooms may help you get more rest by promoting better, deeper sleep.
So if you are comfortable, a slightly cooler room may help you sleep better. Just be sure not to get too chilly as that can have the opposite effect.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.