January 31, 2010

Drafty Window (Now With Photo)

We have a drafty window right over our bed, and my project each winter is stopping the freezing breezes from drifting down the wall onto our heads. One year I tried moving the bed, but that didn't work because the room is too small for the bed to make sense anywhere but where it is. One year I tried one of those long sand bag things. One year I tried towels stuffed inside and outside the window.

This year I tried insulating curtains. The first set cost $40 for two panels and were a total failure: they in fact CHANNELED the cold air so that it hit our heads with less diffusion. I returned them.

Yesterday I considered some curtains that cost $70 for two panels and looked like quilts. Then I thought maybe I should just get a quilt if I could find one on clearance, and it is the right time of year for that. We don't use that window for light (the shade usually stays down all day) so I don't need panels that can be opened and closed. Several aisles over, a nice brown one with the stitching done in circles, from Target's Vintage Modern Thomas O'Brien line, 75% off so it was $25.

It's king-sized, so I folded it in half (by folding both edges to the center line---that makes both edges nice and pretty), and then put it over the curtain rod like hanging a towel on a towel bar. I tugged on the front part until the back part exactly fit into the window area. So now the window has two layers of quilt (like the part of the towel that would be against the wall) pressed right up against it, and then there are two more layers of quilt (like the front part of the towel) resting against that to hold it in place.

We tested it last night and it's great. Plus, it's easy to take down in the spring when we want to be able to open the window. Plus, it's still a king-sized quilt, so when we eventually replace that window with something less drafty, we can use the quilt on our bed.

(It looks like light is pouring in under the window, but that's light shining in from a window on an adjacent wall.)

41 comments:

Anna said...

Oh, you're so clever with your fancy Target linens! I use two flannel top sheets (because I never use them on the beds) and I never look at it from the outside (and there's a mini-blind in front of them on the inside) and we're all toasty warm, so what do I care?!?!? Only, I'm still just the teeniest bit jealous....

Farrell said...

very inventive!

Jane said...

I've got a crazy idea: fix the window.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Neat!! We've lived in some drafty places, so I know the problem of trying to stay warm near the windows. We used the plastic stuff you hit with the hairdryer -- it worked very well, as what you want is an air seal. The bad thing is that if you want to open the window, you need to re-do the plastic.

Lisa said...

What a great idea. "Necessity is the mother of invention" ... or so I've been told. Yay for no draft!

Michelle said...

We always use the 3M plastic kits in the winter. They work great!

Nicole said...

That's a great idea! With our old drafty windows, we found a sort of plastic wrap at Home Depot that you put over the window and then use a hair dryer to tighten it up - I guess it was a kind of shrink wrap. Does that make sense? Anyway, it worked well but was kind of ugly - I mean, it looked like we had a giant piece of Saran Wrap on our window. Which we kind of did. We replaced our windows several years ago and it was a very good investment for us and our cold little house.

Kader said...

I know which quilt you mean--and it's my favorite! This means that you're creative, resourceful, thrifty AND a home decorating guru!

Kim said...

We had a similar problem in our last house which believe it or not was in Florida. Unfortunately I don't have your thoughtful and creative powers and I used an old ugly Army blanket. I love quilts and would use any excuse to buy one. This is one of the many reasons you are my hero and the wind beneath my wings.

SIL Anna said...

We've used the shrink wrap Nicole mentioned, and it worked pretty well. She's right about the Saran Wrap look, though! Your quilt is probably prettier.

Christina said...

Ohh creative! When I lived in Canada I did the plastic kits but those are a pain ea. yr. and in the spring. Be warned though- the sun might fade the back towel part of the quilt!
Also, Jane you're a bitch. Fixing a window is a ton of money and one generally would replace all windows of their house, not just one = thousands of bucks. $25 makes a lot more sense and even new things can be drafty. Our 4 yr. old front door gets ice on some parts from the drafts inside!

samantha said...

I would very much like to see a picture :-)

Sahara said...

First the sofa with no under and now this! Solving problems and taking names (or not)!

Fiona Picklebottom said...

I have that same problem! I was just going to do the cover it with plastic thing... you know... if I ever get around to doing anything at all.

Groovymarlin said...

Fiendishly clever! I thought of the plastic stuff too, but sometimes it's not worth the hassle, and doesn't help if poor insulation is the problem.

Jen said...

you know, we plastic every window in the house but then we just throw it all away...okay, we recycle it but still. no awesome quilt to use! love it.

Jan said...

Sounds like you solved your problem very stylishly. Just wanted to add my two cents about the heat-shrink plastic covering for windows. My niece used this on the inside for a sliding glass door, and it is nearly invisible -- I bumped my nose into it while looking out! And, obviously, there was no cold air coming off that glass surface at all.

sherilee said...

Clever solution. We have some drafty windows as well--but not near the bed--and every year I say I want to get them fixed so that when it's windy I don't hear the awful whistling... but every year I get through the winter and forget about it!

Erin (Snarke) said...

Wow that is way prettier than the super thick plastic I was going to reccommend you put across the window and staple in place (there is a way to make this look okay but it takes too long to explain it full out and I'm sure you know what I mean)!

DCMOMMA said...

What a cool idea!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Smart lady!

Celeste said...

I don't understand--why wouldn't you just fix the window? It's costing you heating and cooling energy all year long and might even be a risk for water damage.

Badness Jones said...

You're so smart! We live in a 100+ year old house and we refuse to replace the original windows until we can replace them with custom made exact replicas. Which, at over $5000 each, will be never. I may go searching for sale quilts.....

Sabrina said...

Wow, very clever! I have used bedspreads as room darkeners in a pinch (on vacation) but never thought of it for draftiness.

But, since you don't need the light from the window and are covering it with a quilt anyhow, can I share what I found to be the most amazing insulater ever?? Cardboard. Cut a large disassembled corrugated cardboard box to the exact size of the window (or a smidge over--you want it to be super snug), wrap duct tape around the edges for smoothness if you are at all concerned about your paint, and just shove it into the window opening. (Huh, it just occured to me that your window would HAVE to be recessed into the wall to do this, but ours all are recessed, so it works for us.) Corrugated cardboard kicks plastic's ass. And then, by all means, hang your gorgeous quilt over the whole thing, because, really--boarded up windows?

Hm, also, if your neighbors have a front-row view of your windows, I guess this might make them whisper "forclosure" around town, so... you know, use your judgement.

Joanne said...

Very clever, I too would like to see a picture. I think I would put up the plastic shrink wrap anyway - it's super cheap and easy to do and since you have the quilt up, you wouldn't see it but this way no cold air will come in on the quilt, either.

Sarah said...

I think it's funny people keep suggesting fixing the window- our windows are less than ten years old, were top of the line, lifetime warranty types, and yet they are so cold and drafty I constantly have to wipe the edges of the windows to keep the condensation from spilling over onto the floors. The only room that doesn't have this problem is the middle bedroom- maybe it's less drafty/chilly than the corner rooms?
Anyways, yes, windows in the winter are a pain, so congrats on finding a solution! Still working on ours.

Swistle said...

Celeste- Because it's expensive, and it involves making phone calls and moving furniture and arranging for the work to be done. Putting up a quilt was easier and cheaper and could be done right away.

Shelley Malone said...

Can I offer a suggestion that may/may not work but is fairly easy and cheap? Gently remove the trim from around the window and see how it's insulated between the actual window casing and the wall. All of our drafty problems are in that 1" crack, so we bought some non-expanding spray insulating foam (Dap brand, I think around $7 a can) at Home Depot and filled up the gaps. Wait until it's cured, I think 24 hours. Just use an exacto knife to level it if any is more than flush with the wall; and then put the trim back up*. It does take a little longer but the heating bill goes down, the comfort level goes up, and you feel like a superstar for fixing it yourself!

* DO put the trim back up. If you don't, your smaller children will pick away at it because it's squishy and fun-feeling, and soon your newly-insulated windows will be cold and drafty again.

Rah said...

picture, please?

Alice said...

i'm super jealous, because now that my cats have shredded the plastic insultation on my big bedroom window, it's back to negative 23725 degrees in there. but my window is like 5' tall by 6' wide or something insane, so i'd need, uh, a REALLY BIG quilt.

Kristin H said...

I really, really love solutions like this. This makes me happy.

HollyLynne said...

Sounds like a great idea! I'd love to see a photo!

Swistle said...

Photo added!

Manda said...

Well played! It's freezing in our bedroom at night too and it's the worst! We have four blankets on our bed!!

wheelmaker said...

hmm, iIf you let the ends hang down behind your bed (if the quilt is long enough), it'll look kind of like a headboard.

Joanne said...

It looks great!

Susan Ruffin said...

and doesn't it shagrin you when you think, "why didn't i do that sooner?"....also, oh gee, you make your bed...something that is very foreign to me.

jen said...

I like the quilt on your bed the best! Where did you get that one? I can totally see myself painting one wall lime green to go with.

therextras said...

Great adaptation! Warm and attractive.

Swistle said...

Susan- Heh, no: in fact, I almost didn't take a photo because I was thinking, "Aw, crap, I'd have to MAKE THE BED."

Jen- Also Target! From a few years ago.

Shelly said...

Great solution! And it matches the quilt on your bed.