I live on the second floor of a century-old house that doesn't have central air. We have a large window A/C unit in the main hall but our front door is at the bottom of the stairs rather than the top. So this means the base of the stairs gets chilly but our floor doesn't really get the full benefit of the A/C.

Are there any good ways to deal with this? We're thinking about putting curtains around the top of the stairs. We're tenants so more ambitious changes like installing a door at the top of the stairs aren't really possible.

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    I used to hang a blanket over my bedroom door hole, when I lived in an apartment that laked a bedroom door. Not the most attractive solution, but the blanket provided excellent insulation. – Tester101 May 30 '11 at 1:04

When renting a victorian back in the day we did the same thing, we draped a sheet over the stair case to trap the cold air above. So...I think your curtain idea is perfect. Shouldn't be that hard to install, isn't permanent, but should be plenty to block the cold air from escaping.

A more permanent enhancement to that system would be to place a ceiling fan upstairs to help move the air around even more. For now, a floor fan may be enough to help.

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  • +1, Pottery Barn has big heavy linen curtains available, including in long lengths. I had a set over some 100" windows and they blocked sound/light/everything really well. – user7116 Jun 1 '11 at 18:23

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