Living Space: Stop shivering in that pesky cold room of your house
In winter, the temperature a room that always seems chilly can dip 10 degrees or more below the rest of the house. And if the room is used often, cranking up the thermostat can make the rest of the house feel steamy. Thankfully, it doesn't take a major rework of your heating system or a risky space heater to make a cold room both toasty and attractive.
Some rooms suffer more from cold floors than simply cold air. These are typically bathrooms and kitchens with stone or tile floors. An easy remedy is to add toe-kick heaters. These are small heating units that fit neatly in the space under a cabinet, where they're nearly invisible. If you're handy, you might be able to install the heaters yourself. Such units run about $150, excluding wiring and installation. They're controlled by a small thermostat on the wall.
Under-carpet heating is another handy option. CarpetHeat by SpeedHeating is a product that goes between the carpet and padding. Using thin wires, the unit heats the room from the ground up. A separate thermostat attached to the wall controls the temperature. Around $600 and up (plus another $200 for a thermostat), these units are not inexpensive but offer an efficient way to heat a room unobtrusively.
Another heating option that's attractive and stylish while also lending a romantic touch is an electric fireplace. The Touchstone Onyx 50-inch fireplace is black and rectangular, making a great visual statement on the wall whether it's glowing or not. The embers look realistic ($349). Many wall-mounted electric units are plug-in ready and come with timers and remote controls, so you can boost the temperature at the touch of a button.
No room on the wall? Choose from a wide variety of freestanding fireplaces and stoves. Designed to fit with almost any decor, electric fireplaces are available in everything from a traditional stove look to units with mantelpieces and faux stonework. Some generate actual flames using a gel fuel or faux electric flames. Gel fireplaces are a better option for looks than warmth. To banish a chill, an electric fireplace does a better job.
Heat from above
Ceiling fans can be used for both heating and cooling. The Westover fan from Hunter features a heater. By reversing the blade direction, the fan forces warm air down and circulates it around the room. You can also add radiant heating panels on the ceiling of a chilly room. These units are unobtrusive and cost between $200 and $500, depending on size.
Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.