Winter is in full swing, and many of us are trying to keep warm and cosy without spending a fortune on gas and electricity. It’s no secret that costs are rising, and many people are feeling the squeeze. Our homes should be places where we feel comfortable, safe and relaxed. If you’re looking for ways to save money and ensure that your home is a cosy haven this winter, this guide is packed with tips and tricks.
The first place to start when embarking upon a mission to stay warm at home in winter is to boost heat retention. If you have an old house, or you have single glazing, you may find that your home loses heat very quickly, making it difficult to keep living spaces at a comfortable temperature. Improving insulation is an effective way to reduce heat loss and lower energy consumption.
There are various avenues you can pursue if you’re keen to enhance insulation. Depending on your budget, you can opt for inexpensive DIY solutions or invest money in more robust, long-term options that will save you money in the long run and add value to your home. For budget-friendly solutions, look for guides and tutorials online and visit hardware stores to pick up products such as DIY glazing sheets and sealant you can use to plug holes in walls and fill gaps in door and window frames. It’s also an excellent idea to prevent heat loss by placing draught excluders by your doors. If you’re looking for long-term options, research cavity wall and loft insulation and see if you are eligible for grants or financial assistance. If your windows and doors are single-glazed, it’s worth getting some quotes for double glazing. Double glazing boosts heat retention and it also reduces external noise and enhances security. You will also add value to your home by upgrading to double glazing.
Check your heating system
There’s nothing worse than the boiler breaking down in the depths of winter when it’s freezing outside. Check your heating system regularly and keep up to date with routine checks and services. Services are designed to highlight issues, which can then be rectified or remedied before they turn into more complex problems that are more expensive to fix. If you have a very old boiler, which is on its last legs, it’s wise to consider replacing it with a new unit. New boilers are much more energy-efficient than older versions. You can save money in the long run and enjoy peace of mind that your home will stay warm through the winter.
Set a thermostat
Setting a thermostat is a simple, effective way to maintain the temperature in your home. Using a thermostat helps to regulate the temperature. Once you’ve set the temperature, your heating system will switch on when the figure dips below the desired temperature and switch off when it’s just right again. Thermostats improve energy efficiency and they can also save you money. If you’re going away or you’re trying to lower your energy bills, you can lower the temperature.
Add soft furnishings
Adding soft furnishings is a surefire way to make your home feel warmer, cosier and more inviting in an instant. You can use blankets, rugs and cushions to make even the most clinical or open space feel more welcoming. Soft furnishings look fabulous but they also serve a very important practical purpose. If it’s chilly outside, and you’re curled up on the couch, putting a throw or blanket over you will help you to get warm without relying on your radiators. If you’re walking around, soft, sumptuous rugs will keep your toes warm. Cushions provide extra comfort when you’re watching TV or snuggling up in bed listening to music or reading a book.
Buying soft furnishings will help you to create cosy living rooms, bedrooms and snugs, stay warm and transform the look of your home. Take a look at social media and interior design magazines and use ideas from places you’ve visited to plan a simple, affordable revamp. Browse sites like Rugstore NE and use cushions, throws and blankets to inject colours, patterns and prints. Experiment with new themes and colourways, or use accessories to channel different trends. For the cooler months, it’s a good idea to opt for robust, heavy fabrics and textiles like faux fur, wool, velvet and chunky knit cushions and rugs. You can mix and match to add texture. If you love the idea of a Scandinavian living room, which oozes cosiness and comfort, for example, team fleece throws and faux fur rugs with knitted cushion covers. When the seasons change, it’s easy to embrace spring/summer trends by switching to lightweight fabrics, including linen and cotton.
When using soft furnishings to make your home look and feel warmer, it’s also beneficial to think about how you dress your windows. Curtains and blinds block out light but they can also help to keep warm air in. Opt for thick, heavyweight curtains or lined curtains and blinds for winter. If your home gets very warm in summer, you can always swap to lighter fabrics.
Change the focal point
When it’s warm outside and the skies are bright blue, it’s lovely to sit on the couch or enjoy a cup of tea in the kitchen while looking out of the windows or patio doors. When temperatures tumble, it’s natural to gravitate away from windows and doors. Changing the focal point of the room can help to make living spaces feel smaller and more intimate and add instant warmth. Angle sofas and chairs towards the fireplace in the living room and use soft furnishings or a statement headboard or wall art to draw the eyes to your bed in the bedroom. When the days get longer and lighter, you can rejig your furniture or use accessories to create a different focal point, which makes the most of beautiful views or natural light.
Create tranquil, cosy zones
Many families are worried about putting the heating on all the time when it’s really cold outside. Energy bills have soared in the last year. If you can’t afford to heat the whole of your home, or you’re trying to minimise the use of radiators and heaters, create tranquil, cosy zones within the rooms you use most frequently. If you have rooms that you don’t use, for example, a formal dining room or a spare bedroom, turn the radiators off. Keep your cosy zones toasty by using draught excluders, adding blankets, rugs and cushions and keeping internal doors shut.
Setting up cosy zones is beneficial for staying warm during winter, but it can also help you to feel more relaxed at home. Life can be hectic and stressful, and sometimes, even simple things like enjoying a cup of tea or taking a moment to read a book in peace can make a big difference. Make sure the environment is soothing and calming by using soft lighting, serene colours and comfortable fabrics.
Consider a change of colour
The colours you use in your home impact the look of the room, as well as the feel of the space. Colours can affect our moods but they also play a part in creating ambience and setting the tone. Most of us love open, bright spaces in the spring and summer but when it’s miserable outside, there’s something very comforting about getting home, shutting the curtains and switching to hibernation mode. Choosing warm colours in the winter can help to make living spaces more inviting. You can go all out and paint every wall and use wallpaper to transform the aesthetic and vibe of the room, or adopt a more subtle approach and use accessories or a statement wall. Popular shades and tones for autumn and winter include grey, black, navy, burgundy, mocha, bottle green, plum, burnt orange and teal.
Embrace soft lighting
Soft lighting adds a warm glow rather than bright, intense light, creating tranquil, cosy rooms. There’s a dazzling array of lighting options and products available for every room and décor style. For mellow lighting, swap spot and strip lights for table lamps, floor lamps or pendants with a dimmer switch. You could also use accessories such as lighted willow and bedside lamps or hang string lights and fairy lights. Candles add warmth and they have a soothing effect. You can use scented candles to induce calmness. Popular aromas include lavender, vanilla, chamomile, jasmine, pine and bergamot.
Winter is a time when many of us retreat indoors and switch into hibernation mode. It’s important to feel comfortable and cosy at home, but this year, many people are worried about staying warm. If you’re looking to turn your home into a comfy, restful haven this winter without breaking the bank, there are ways to create soothing, inviting, snug living spaces on a budget. Explore different insulation options, check your heating system and set a thermostat. Add soft furnishings, use soft lighting to create ambience and choose warm colours. Change the focal point to draw attention to fireplaces and beds laden with sumptuous cushions and throws and set up cosy zones within the rooms you use most frequently.