Design & DIY

Use this DIY trick to reduce drafts in the cottage

An illustration showing how to install a pelmet Illustration by Paul Lewis

Cottagers are all too familiar with drafts that freeze toes on cold weekends. Windows, even double-glazed, are to blame for a lot of heat loss in cottages. Closing the curtains helps keep warmth in, but a curtain alone is less than ideal. That’s because heat transfers from the pocket of air behind the curtain out through the glass. Once cooled, the air drops to the floor and spreads out into the room. Warm air near the ceiling is pulled down into that just-vacated space, so more warmth is lost and the draft continues.

7 easy ways to stop drafts in your cottage

 Luckily, there’s a DIY solution that reduces drafts and your energy costs. Pelmets are boxes that cover the tops of your window coverings. Often thought of as purely decorative ways to hide drapery hardware, pelmets can also reduce heat loss by closing in the tops of your (ideally floor-length) curtains or blinds and cutting off that drafty airflow. In the summer, they also help prevent the warm air that heats up inside curtains from moving into your cooler room.

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 It’s easy to build custom pelmets for your windows: just measure across each of your window openings and build a box (with a front, top, and two ends) to size. Remember to add length and depth so your curtains can move freely and open fully. Attach the pelmet to the wall using brackets and cover it with fabric, wallpaper, or paint—or leave the wood bare. You can even use the top surface as a handy shelf. Comfort for the eyes, pocketbook, and toes.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of Cottage Life.

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