You've got a lot to think about when planning out a new space—like color theory, feng shui and all that. But here's one more set of guidelines that might lead the way, all in the name of living green. It turns out everything from your curtains to the way you lay out furniture can make your room—and your entire home—more energy-efficient.
Picture yourself shopping for a new lamp for your bedroom. You've narrowed it down to two that you absolutely love—a square table lamp and a crane-armed reading lamp—but you're paralyzed and can't decide between them.
Before you turn to rock, paper, scissors, wouldn't it help to know that one of your top contenders is going to help you meet your goal of trimming your electric bill?
It's true! Here's a bunch of energy-saving tips that can help guide your home decor decisions:
Go for efficient lighting that fits your life.
Yes, that means CFLs instead of incandescents. But it also means to go for lamps and light fixtures that fit your lifestyle. In the example above, we'd go for the reading lamp—the only light we ever need in the bedroom is right above our heads as we read or work in bed. We'll save energy by never having to turn the overhead light on.
Pick curtains to block the sun.
On the 40th floor of a high rise, you might not even need curtains. But choosing a dark, sun-blocking style will help keep your home cool during warmed months.
Stock up on warm touches.
Thick blankets and wooly rugs are always a good investment. They'll give your space visual and literal warmth. A warm bedspread will let you sleep all night with your turned-down thermostat. And a thick rug will keep your toes comfortable in a slightly cooler room.
Keep furniture away from vents.
If there's a big sofa in the way of your heating vent, your system will work overtime to keep your home warm. Keep drapes and furniture away from any vents to keep air flowing and keep your furniture from warping.