Thermal curtains helps keep a drafty house, less drafty and warm

It’s January right?  Just checking because the temp feel otherwise.  Today’s high will be a toasty 90 degrees (seems we are back on that wacky weather roller coaster ride)

Keeping warm won’t be a problem this week, but here’s a post that’s been in my queue with a tip how to winterize your home.

From Better Homes and Gardens website:

“In the days before central heat and air, heavy portieres were used to ward off the drafts between rooms. Today, these draperies in the doorway serve decorative purposes. Portieres can add softness, color, and pattern to a room. Doorway drapes also make an eye-catching welcome into public rooms, and they can conceal the way to private rooms.

As ya’ll know, we don’t have central heat and this old 1917 house can be down right drafty.

Fact: 33% of home heating and cooling energy loss happening through the windows    We don’t have the money to replace our old windows(34 in all) but there is one simple solution that we can do.

Obviously, curtains on windows, especially thermal,  can keep a room warmer in winter and cooler in summer.  But, if you look at the vintage homes and cottages on especially on those  BBC programs, you will notice  period homes had curtains in doorways to keep the drafts out.  In some cases, depending on the fabric used, it will also  help soundproof a room.

Thermal curtain adds color and warmth to our bedroom

We find that by sealing off rooms with these curtains keep in the heat, prevents drafts and even add softness to a room.   In the girls room, especially that is blessed (cursed) with three walls of window (12 windows to be exact), thermal curtains have made our room more comfortable in winter.   Before you could hang meat it was so cold but now it’s noticeably warmer – more like a refrigerator than a freezer.   In summer, the curtains keep the room cooler so it’s a pretty wise and money saving investment.

:: Resources ::

How to make thermal curtains

Benefits of thermal curtains


  1. Zachary Fisk says:

    I’m always trying to figure this one out, since we have a cold second floor to our home and keep the heat low on the first. Do you open the curtains up during the day in the winter for natural light heating? Even for rooms seldom used? I wonder what the heat loss/gain ratio is for allowing natural light. The portieres are an excellent idea though for our home that I’ve thought about a few times and should implement.

  2. Laurie Meyerpeter says:

    Since we don’t have central air, or dual pane windows, something else we do is to cover non-view windows with bubblewrap. I cut them to size or cut enough pieces to cover the window, spray the window and stick the bubblewrap on. It sticks! and stays there all winter. No tape or anything! And it makes a BIG difference. The glass is cold to the touch, but the bubblewrap is a neutral temperature. We use it one of the bedrooms and a bathroom, along with curtains. We heat with wood, no furnace, so every bit of heat is treasured.

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Laurie! I recently came across this tip on Mother Earth News sight and told hubby about it for use in our sunroom. He looked at me like I was nuts! Glad to hear it works out and it is reusable from year to year!

    • M. H. Casavant says:

      First winter in an early 1900’s farm house. Not enough time to replace all windows! What was it you used to spray the windows and what size bubble wrap did you find most efficient (@Laurie Meyerpeter).

      Thank you,
      M. H. Casavant

  3. Laurie says:

    I recently recycled an old quilt to line curtains in our living room. The quilt had been made by my husband’s grandmother, and I have already repaired it several times. After all these years, it had fallen beyond fixing but was still much loved. I think Grandma Rose would be happy to know it is keeping our living room warm now!

  4. Heather :) :) :) says:

    I think thermal curtains are a great idea. My apartment is two-levels..the ground level is the hardest to keep warm because of the sliding glass door. I love the sun, even in winter…but if I open the curtain, it doesn’t keep the heat really well. It doesn’t do that even when the curtain is closed, but that’s another story 🙂 The upper level is much easier to heat and keep warm. No problems there ! love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂

  5. Valerie says:

    I would really like to know your answer to Zachary’s questions. I’ve been wondering the same things myself.

    Thank you!

  6. Stacy says:

    My door curtains are nowhere near as well suited stylistically as yours – they were aiming at being “temporary” (better laid plans!). I have one between hallway and kitchen – this prevents the fireplace in the living room from confusing the thermostat in the hallway about whether the heater by the bedrooms should be on. It also means the heater doesn’t spend all night trying to keep the empty front of the house warm. There’s a second one in the hallway/laundry room transition – that back door just leaks heat like crazy, so we figured one more layer of insulation wouldn’t hurt.

  7. englishgarden2003 says:

    I love the idea of portieres, but I’m just curious. Wouldn’t a door do the same thing? obviously it wouldn’t be as soft and decorative, but if you’re just going for function, isn’t it the same idea? I made thermal curtains for our apartment last year and I love them!! they’ve made SUCH a big difference!!

  8. Nebraska Dave says:

    Yep, thermal curtains are the way to go. My living room has a three window gang to let the light into the room. That’s wonderful but during the Winter it let’s the heat out and in the summer it lets the heat in. So my thermal lined draw drapes are opened or shut at the apporpriate times to slow down the heat transfer. Bright sunshine is allowed to flow through the windows in the Winter and is blocked in the summer. The back door happens to be a sliding glass door with metal frames which is noted to be cold and drafty. Thermal lined drapes cover that heat sink as well. It makes for a warmer house and don’t break old Dad’s pocket book for heat quite as much.

    High for today in Nebraska was 10 degrees with a low of 3 tonight. The thermal lined curtains will definitely be closed.

    Have a great 90 degree day.

  9. rj says:

    to englishgarden2003
    regarding using doors. the main problem is probably the age of the house in several aspects – first they didnt have Standard doors so its quite likely each doorway maybe different dimensions– the other issue is space – again the older house may not have the room for the swing of a wooden door. we lived in a late 20’s bungalow that had these problems.

    one thing we did in the sliders (added in 60’s & single pane)is that we used some of the very narrow foam insulation boards. we cut them to fit each pane of glass width wise & chose how high to cut them – that way we had a thermal break but also had some sunlight at the top of each door.

    curtains were also often used around each bed in a room for warmth and privacy (i think thats where 4 posters came from- to hang the curtains)tho they can be hung from a ceiling as well –

    our bungalow also had no heating except a heatalator in the gas fireplace so we learned a Lot of tricks to stay warm –

  10. V Schoenwald says:

    I use the bubble wrap method also and it works great for me until at sometime I can replace the windows. They face the west, but with a northwest winter wind, it gets downright freezer cold. It stays tight with just a few squirts of water from a spray bottle. You loose your vision outside but the light is diffused and you still get light. Nice for privacy especially where I live in a trailer park, we are less than 20 ft from the neighbors, which is too close, but I don’t like to look at the neighbors anyway.
    It is 12* today, with 6-7 inches of snow, with a temp tonight of single digits and windchill of -12 or so.
    Send some of that 90* my way please, I want to start some seeds! I’m getting cabin fever.
    Have a great rest of the week, and a great weekend, bake something up with those eggs.

  11. Bonnie says:

    Another idea for windows….I buy big pieces of clear vinyl at JoAnn’s Fabrics and cover the windows. It comes in different gauges (4ml to 20ml), the cost is 2.99 to 7.99 a yard, and it’s 55 inches wide. The vinyl can be reused (roll it, don’t fold it to store it) year after year. I use tape or thumbtacks to put it up. I even have a thick gauge piece over a cold metal door, the vinyl creates a “dead air space” and really helps keep the home more comfortable and the furnace comes on less often. Great thing about the vinyl is you can see through it, lots of light comes in, the view is a little blurred, but not terrible. I used “frosted” vinyl to cover one window I want privacy from, works great…I get the sunlight, and privacy and insulation from the cold. Cheers!

  12. Jennifer says:

    In the medieval times, in the big cold -freezing- castles tapestries were hanged on the walls (often stone walls)… and the windows shut with shutters (before glass was available for the common nobles.
    In our house in the center France and modern times, we do have great double windows, but thick curtains do even make a difference. We have also placed them in front of the outside doors. And as they are made in a patchwork of beautiful materials it does make the house look so cosy.
    Enjoy winter!

Post a comment