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Simple ways to keep warm this season

REAL ESTATE
By Wangeci Kanyeki | July 10th 2014

With the cold biting in this part of Africa known for its all year-round tropical weather, it is time to redecorate your rooms with items that will warm up your living space. Below are some ideas of warming up your space without necessarily lighting the fireplace or using a heater.

Curtains

Windows can be a source of cold draft in this season, but this can be reduced by putting up heavy thermal curtains which are either tightly weaved fabrics or heavily lined curtains that seal off the draft.

To be effective, curtains should be securely fitted high above a window and should flow right to the floor to provide adequate insulation. Use a strong rod to support thermal curtains as they are usually heavy and require good support to hang vertically.

A curtain box can be another useful option as it seals off the top of the window, hence keeping off the draft. However, curtain rails need to be strong enough to carry the weight without sagging.

In case you have light curtains and are not interested in buying new curtains for this season, you can use temporary lining fabrics, which are hung using hooks on the lower part of the curtain tape. Linings are available from upholstery shops or even at the vendors who sell second-hand curtains at the flea market.

The lining is detachable, meaning it can be attached or removed when need be. Alternatively, use a blanket or Maasai cloth between the window and the existing curtain to serve the same purpose.

Furniture

Rather than have the furniture leaning on walls, re-arrange the furniture so that seats are closer to each other to encourage family members to sit closer to one other. Hang a favourite quilt on the wall, which will act as an insulator and offer some psychological warmth. Alternatively, change or swap wall pictures with those that have warm tones and hues so that your space feels warmer.

Floor space

Placing a large carpet on the floor will warm up cold tiles and laminated floors and provide some cosy landing for your feet. Layer the warmth by adding area rugs over the main carpet for each designated space such as living room and another rug for the dining area.

Add big comfy floor pillow not only to fill up cold floor spaces, but to also provide extra sitting space and motivate family members to sit together in one room.

Accessories

Place chunky blankets and throws strategically on the sofa so one can curl up and cover oneself as they watch football. Toss in some colourful scatter cushions in warm colours such as reds, oranges and yellows to heat up the room.

Wicker lamps

Light up the wicker lamps. I especially enjoy lighting up the local blue tinned lamps as they are a reminder of my grandmother’s upcountry African kitchen hut and just watching the flame flicker provides a sentimental comfort of days spent chatting around the fireplace while roasting potatoes.

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