Winter’s here once again, and with it come winter guests! While it may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” it can certainly be a bit stressful trying to prepare your home for so many visitors. And even if you don’t plan on having any winter guests, you’ll surely want to take a little time to make your home more comfortable, warm, and welcoming for yourself and your family.
But where do you start? I say, start with the most popular and most frequently-visited room in your house: the bathroom. What are the best ways to make your bathroom more comfortable for the winter? Let us give you a leg up! Here are just a few things you can try to make your bathroom more cozy and inviting during the cold season:
A Nice Warm Rug
Does your frozen tile or linoleum floor leave your toes feeling like icicles? Do you dread stepping out of your hot shower, and onto a icy cold floor? Rescue your feed from a frozen fate with a soft, heat-preserving rug. This is a super simple, cost-effective trick that will instantly improve the comfort of your bathroom. It’s a dual-purpose solution, too: not only does it help keep your feet warm, it can also make a bathroom look warmer too! Just be sure to pick out a rug with rubber lining underneath to better stick to the floor. This will prevent any slips, trips, or other unwanted accidents.
If the rug just doesn’t have enough sheer warming power for your bathroom needs, heated flooring is the luxury you’ve been yearning for. Be prepared to shell out a LOT more time and money on this solution, but if you can’t put a price on warm feet, it’s well worth the expense. Not only will you be able to walk freely and barefoot across your bathroom floor, you’ll also find with a built-in heating system that puddles and spills dry up much faster, too – a big plus in the fight against mold and mildew. For the ultimate in bathroom feet anti-freeze, why not combine a heated flooring system WITH a cozy and great-looking rug? For a good walkthrough on how to install electric heated flooring in your bathroom, check out this article on This Old House.
Service Your Central Heating Furnace
If you’re a homeowner, it’s advised that you book a furnace checkup annually. A lot of homeowner’s don’t do it, though. Don’t be that guy!
Without an annual inspection, your furnace system can wear itself out pretty quickly and release carbon monoxide into your home, and you may not even realize it! Or, it could just stop working altogether. Either scenario is basically a one-way ticket to No-Fun-sville.
Changing out your furnace filter, at the very least, can lead to a huge improvement in air quality (the circulating air will be less stale) and your furnace will run more efficiently in general, meaning your bathroom (and every other room in your house) will heat up faster!
Check Your Radiator
Radiators in bathrooms aren’t so common anymore (and in most of those cases they’ve been outright replaced by towel warmers, which perform a similar function), but they still pop up in bathrooms now and then. If you have a radiator in your bathroom, you should definitely take some time to “bleed” it and make sure it’s ready to go before the winter really hits its stride. You can learn more about how to bleed a radiator here.
If you don’t have an old-fashioned bathroom radiator, a towel warmer makes for a great substitute. Apart from its primary function (of warming towels, naturally), a towel warmer also provides ample warmth in a small enclosed space. This warmth is supposed to serve as a nerve and muscle relaxant after a nice shower – think of it like your own personal steam sauna! But for our money, the best thing about towel warmers is toasty, snuggly, deliciously warm towels. Nothing beats wrapping up in one of those after a nice shower, and the warmth lingers for quite a while. If you want a little cozy luxury in your home this winter, a towel warmer is right up your alley! Winter pro-tip: you can also use towel warmers to quickly toast-up your winter coats, gloves, socks, and caps before going out.
Window Treatments and Insulation
Most of your windows have been weatherstripped and caulked. But when’s the last time you inspected them? Even after you’ve inspected and repaired the weatherstripping and caulking, windows (especially in older homes) can still get quite drafty in the winter months. And nothing saps comfort from a bathroom quite like a chilly draft!
Beyond caulking, there is a wide variety of methods you can use to make sure your windows are as insulated and heat-retaining as possible. For example, you can buy self-stick rubber weather sealing for even more draft protection, or window insulation film that can easily be heat-applied with a hair dryer.
The right shades and drapes can make a big difference too, and can help retain some of the heat lost through windows in winter (modern estimates say 10-30% of a bathrooms heat is lost in winter through a closed window). Bonus: shades and drapes look great, which will offset the filmy look of adhesive window insulation, and will cover unsightly draft snakes or tacked-on rubber barriers. For more window treatment help, check out these articles.
Lighting isn’t as important for “comfort” as the above, but the right lighting can go a long way towards making your bathroom more inviting. In the winter, ditch the super bright lights; they’re too clinical and come off feeling a little cold. Not great for the winter time! Instead, go for something a little more classic: soft, dim light from an enclosed source (like a beautiful sconce) can make the coldest part of the house seem that much… well, warmer.
Use Warm Colors
Bathrooms tend to be white in general, which can be quite nice, but if the snow is coming down you may not want to be reminded of it while seeking refuge indoors. Try to add some warm hues to your bathroom to cheer up the mood. And who knows, warmer colors might make your guests feel warmer simply via placebo! Try some nice fluffy towels and soaps in orange, yellow, and red tones. Or perhaps add some colorful candles and even some cheery flowers (fake or otherwise) to your bathroom.
Warm natural wood tones also make a bathroom seem warmer and more homey, so if you have plain white or modern black bathroom vanities in your bathroom, consider replacing them with a natural wood vanity instead – or change the finish yourself with some sandpaper and wood sealer!
Last but by no means least, few things can put guests in the Christmas spirit quite like some cheery Christmas decorations. So splurge a little, and accessorize your cozy bathroom with fun Christmas-themed towels, toothbrush holders, soap dispensers etc. – and experiment with hanging waterproof Christmas lights around your bathroom mirror, perhaps with some garlands, tinsel, or wreaths. Get creative! You and your guests will definitely enjoy the fruits of all your labors and your bathroom will be a warm, welcoming haven for the holidays.
Mike Bowman is a journalist and editorial writer for numerous online publications. He specializes in home improvement, DIY, gardening, cooking, and travel topics. When he’s done winter-proofing his bathroom and fixing his broken weather-seal, he’ll stay inside with his beautiful wife and read a good book.