Designing for Comfort: Dos and Don’ts

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Written By Jim J Neal

alvarezGetty ImagesIt takes much more than soft mood lighting and plush fabrics to make a home feel comfortable. In determining how welcoming a space feels, there are many factors that go beyond aesthetic and decorative touches.
We reached out to Emily Riddle, a Kentucky-based designer, and Darcy Lee, Trane Residential Senior Products Manager Darcy Lee to get their advice on how to create holistic comfort in your interiors. This is everything you need to know and what to avoid.

Do: Take control over the temperature

ComfortLink(r), II XL1050 thermostatTraneSHOP NOWInstalling smart thermostats like the ComfortLink IIXL1050 thermostat from Trane can help you maintain a comfortable temperature in your home and to manage energy consumption.
Lee states that it is possible to save hundreds of dollars on energy by having the temperature set a little higher or lower depending on the season when you are away from home for work or vacation. A smart thermostat helps to maintain the ideal internal temperature in your home regardless of external temperature fluctuations.
ComfortLink II XL1050 provides remote control, scheduling and real-time adjustments to optimize temperature and humidity levels.

Do: Concentrate on functionality and flow

Riddle says that creating cohesive spaces makes people feel more comfortable while they move about. She suggests that guests should be able to see where they are sitting and how they use each space. On a patio, for example, comfortable seating can encourage people to chat and relax, while tables with chairs are better for eating and drinking.
Riddle says, “I also like thinking about all the practical elements of a space like side tables for setting down drinks or footstools in the right place.”

Maintain your health and well-being.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, heating and cooling account for more than half of all energy used in homes. It is important to choose the right HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), and then maintain it.
Lee recommends that homeowners work with a certified Trane dealer to find the right unit for them and ensure proper installation. She says this will ensure that the system is maintained throughout its lifetime. A Trane dealer will visit your home twice a year to make sure the system is in good working order and that it doesn’t need repairs.
It is important to schedule appointments early in the fall before the temperature drops, and early in the spring before it heats up.

Do: Consider air quality

Trane CleanEffects(r), Whole Home Air CleanerTRAneSHOP NOW Consider installing an air purifier such as the Trane CleanEffects Whole Home Cleaner. According to Lee, it can remove 99.98% of the airborne particles that could cause allergies or asthma. (NB: The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has certified it and the Harvard School of Public Health has verified its performance testing results.
Lee notes that HVAC system filters should be changed or cleaned every 30 to 90 calendar days. This will help reduce irritants and make your system more efficient. You might save money by having a cleaner filter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy a cleaner filter can cut your air conditioner’s energy consumption up to 15%.

Do: Design your space

It’s fun to browse magazines, home decor books and social media for inspiration, but remember that not all design trends are the same.
Riddle suggests that furniture should be chosen to fit the space and make it feel complete but not crowded. A larger space might need more décor and furniture, while a smaller apartment or room might need smaller pieces and minimal styling.
The same principle applies when choosing an HVAC system. Lee explains that the size of your home will determine how big your unit should be. Your system will cycle more frequently if it is too big for your home. This can lead to frequent temperature swings. System that is too small can work harder to maintain the temperature and will result in higher bills.

Do not over- or under furnish

Comfort doesn’t just have to be about touch and feel. Intangible elements such as visual cohesion play an important role. A space that feels too empty or disconnected can be just as unsettling as one with lots of clutter. Riddle says that finding a happy middle ground is crucial. You also need to make sure that the design scheme works together.
As a starting point, use an artwork or an area rug to create a cohesive color story. You should keep your main furniture timeless and neutral. Then, add accent colors to the rug or art by using throw pillows, blankets and coffee table books. You will create a space that is dynamic, professional, and welcoming.