It takes more than plush fabrics and soft mood lighting to make a home comfortable. Beyond aesthetic and decorative touches, factors like humidity, air quality, and even temperature play an important role in how welcoming a space feels.
To better understand how to create holistic comfort, we turned to the pros—Kentucky-based designer Emily Riddle and Trane Residential Senior Product Manager Darcy Lee—for advice on how to keep these factors and more top of mind when designing your interiors. Here’s everything you need to do—and what to avoid.
Do: Take control of the temperature
Installing a smart thermostat like the ComfortLink II XL1050 Thermostat from Trane is an easy way to ensure your home is always at your preferred temperature—and to control energy usage.
“It’s possible to save hundreds on energy costs by setting the temperature a little warmer or colder, depending on the season, when leaving the house for work or on vacation,” Lee says. “If you’re worried you’ll forget to do that, a smart thermostat takes the pressure off and helps maintain the perfect internal temperature of your home, no matter how much the external temperature fluctuates.”
In addition to having a network of controls and sensors to help optimize temperature and humidity levels, the ComfortLink II XL1050 offers real-time adjustments, scheduling, and remote controls for maximum comfort.
Do: Focus on functionality and flow
Creating cohesive spaces helps people feel comfortable as they move around, according to Riddle. “Focus on making each area cozy and functional in its own way so guests can clearly see how to use it and where to sit,” she suggests. For example, on a patio, plush seating will encourage guests to relax and chat, while a table with chairs is better for eating and drinking.
“I also like to think about all of the practical elements in a space, like side tables for setting down a drink or a footstool in just the right spot,” Riddle adds.
Don’t: Slack when it comes to maintenance
The U.S. Energy Information Administration found that more than half of energy use in homes is for heating and cooling. That’s why choosing the right HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system—and then maintaining it—is just as important as other money-saving choices, like insulating your home or using water-saving faucets.
Lee advises homeowners to work with a certified Trane dealer who will find a unit that meets their needs and who can ensure that the system is properly installed. “This way, you can trust that you will have someone to maintain it throughout its life,” she says. “A Trane dealer can make bi-annual visits to your home to ensure the system is working properly and doesn’t need any repairs.”
Make sure you schedule the appointments in early fall before the temperature drops and in early spring before it warms up.
Do: Consider air quality
Although sometimes overlooked, the quality of your home’s indoor air can impact your overall well-being. So consider installing an air purifier like the Trane CleanEffects Whole Home Air Cleaner. It can remove up to 99.98 percent of airborne particles that can affect asthma or allergies, according to Lee. (NB: It’s certified by Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and performance testing results have been verified by professors from the Harvard School of Public Health.)
“Regularly changing or cleaning the HVAC system air filter every 30 to 90 days also helps reduce these irritants and lets your system run better,” Lee notes. A cleaner filter might even save you some money: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, swapping out a clogged filter for a clean one can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent.
Do: Design for your space
It’s always fun to look for styling inspiration in magazines, home decor books, and social media feeds, but keep in mind that design trends aren’t one size fits all.
“Choose furniture that fits the scale of the room and makes it feel complete, but not overcrowded,” Riddle advises. “A larger room might require oversized furniture and more decor while a small apartment or room may require petite pieces and minimal styling.”
This same thinking applies to choosing the right HVAC system. “The size of your house determines the size of your unit,” explains Lee. “If your system is oversized for your home, then it cycles more often resulting in frequent temperature swings. A system that is too small will work harder than it should to maintain the set temperature, and also lead to higher bills.”
Don’t: Over or Under furnish
Comfort isn’t all about physical touch and feel; intangible elements like visual cohesion also play a part. “Having a disconnected or too-empty space can feel as uncomfortable as a super-cluttered space. Finding a happy medium is key,” Riddle explains. “You also want to focus on creating a design scheme that works together.”
Put together a cohesive color story by using a piece of artwork or an area rug as a starting point. Keep large staple pieces of furniture neutral and timeless, then incorporate pops of the accent shades found in the art or rug using accessories like throw pillows, blankets, and coffee table books. Your space will feel dynamic, polished, and fully welcoming.
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