Make your enclosed porch cozy for winter

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Make your enclosed porch cozy for winter
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Make your enclosed porch cozy for winter

Enclosing a porch allows you to enjoy using this space year-round; it's one of the top reasons why homeowners go to the trouble and expense of doing so. However, it can still be drafty and cold on a porch like this, despite the additional protection. Don't let the cold weather prevent you from enjoying your enclosed porch. Use these ideas to help warm up a chilly porch this winter.

Seal up screened-in porches. If you have a screened-in porch, you can temporarily cover the screens with clear plastic vinyl. Buy the materials and make your own vinyl porch covers, or have custom covers designed specifically for your porch. Either way, you will need to take accurate measurements of all screen panels. It's also important to use a system that allows you to roll up or open the vinyl panels when fresh air is needed; otherwise your porch may actually become too hot on a sunny day. Watch this video tutorial on DIY vinyl screens or look at a photo gallery of custom vinyl panels.

Install thermal shades or blinds on porch windows. Energy efficient window treatments will help block cold air from entering through your porch windows. Thermal shades or blinds will keep warm air inside your porch and insulate against cold drafts. Raise the blinds on sunny days to allow solar heat into the room and then lower the shades at dusk to help trap the heat inside. The shades will also provide sound insulation at night.

Cover tile or wood floors with area rugs. Area rugs will help warm bare floors on an enclosed porch. Thick braided rugs are a good choice as they are very durable. Another great product you can use for your porch is peel-and-stick carpet tiles; just peel off the backing and stick the carpet tile directly to the floor without adding any type of padding. Using tiles in different colors, you can create your own unique designs such as a border or checkerboard pattern. The tiles can be cut with a utility knife and are made with stain- and static-resistant fibers. If a tile does get worn or damaged, it's easy to replace.

Cover outdoor seats with extra throws and pillows. Keep plenty of warm throws handy for people to snuggle under when using the porch. Every chair should have a throw draped over its back or armrest; each sofa, love seat, or chaise lounge should have two or three. Choose colors that compliment or contrast with your porch furniture. You should have a color scheme worked out for this area, just like any other room in your home. Monochromatic colors (different shades of the same color) would work well for larger furniture with multiple throws. Use extra warm quilted, fleece, or flannel fabrics that are soft and comfortable to wrap up in. Include plenty of cushions or pillows for maximum comfort.

Designate an area for removing shoes and outerwear. Many people use an enclosed porch as a mudroom. Establish a wall-mounted coat rack -- for example, by hanging hooks -- over a bench where visitors can swap a heavy parka or ski jacket for a lighter sweater or poncho before sitting down to remove wet or soiled shoes. (This would preferably be located near the door to keep from tracking too much moisture in.) Keep a basket of warm, dry slippers that people can use to keep their feet warm and keep other areas of the porch dry and clean.

Include extra warming options and cozy lighting. Use a space heater for extra warmth when spending time on the porch. Make sure to keep it a safe distance from fabric or any other combustible material and double check that it is turned off when you leave the room. You may want to install a multi-outlet device for other warming options such as electric blankets. Just take care not to overload any one outlet with too many electrical devices. You may need to run an extension cord to another outlet.

Include plenty of cozy lighting for evening entertaining. Candle lanterns provide nice accent lighting. If you need something brighter, LED lanterns are very affordable and have adjustable light settings. One or two of these lanterns would provide plenty of task lighting for reading, knitting, puzzles, board games, or any other activity you use your porch for.

These simple, affordable enhancements for winter will help keep you warm and cozy as you enjoy the use of your enclosed porch all year long.

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