As the winter chill sets in, feeling warm and cosy is key to an inviting home. It isn’t about turning up the heat – it’s about retaining that warmth by increasing your thermal efficiency.
While our first choice of heating is plumbed-in gas – think toasty gas fireplace, instant hot water and all their associated lifestyle benefits, all conveniently connected to your home – to keep things temperate, there are a few other important things to consider.
1. Rug up
If you have hard flooring like timber or concrete in your home, choose a soft flooring cover with natural insulating properties, such as wool, to add a layer of protective warmth to flooring and prevent heat loss through the floor. Not only will this increase your home’s thermal capability, it feels great underfoot and will protect those feet from chilly surfaces. “The right rug not only will keep your room warmer, it acts like art for your floor, bringing visual warmth as well as comfort underfoot,” says Home Beautiful editor Sarah Burman. “And do consider installing a good quality carpet.”
2. Blind beauty
According to Sustainability Victoria, a single pane of glass can lose almost 10 times the heat as the same area of insulated wall. That means it’s essential to cover windows and doorways with blinds or screens. During the day, allow the sun to shine in and warm up those interiors, and as the temperature drops, lower them to trap heat inside. For a dash of extra beauty, choose a subtle print on a Roman blind, or keep it simple with a basic roller – either will instantly increase your thermal efficiency.
3. External protection
The same rule above applies to the outside – think of an exterior blind or awning like adding a jumper to your home. If your living area extends to an outdoor entertaining area, an awning can also make a big difference during summer by adding extra shade. This is a good option if you don't want to use heavy window coverings indoors, as the awning can provide the same function, albeit at a distance, but a combination of indoor and external blinds will maximise efficiency.
4. Install shutters
Much thicker and stronger than blinds, external shutters can make a notable difference to the heat level indoors. Smart home automation is making this a more attractive proposition, as the obvious drawback is having to head outside at dusk and dawn to open and close them. According to Somfy, automatic closure of your shutters at dusk can save up to 10 percent on heating bills – which means there are two benefits. A sun sensor is another option, which tells your shutters when to roll up or down.
5. Garden guide
“Regular maintenance of hedges and climbers that grow close to your home is essential to maintain your views and the maximum amount of sunlight,” advises Home Beautiful editor Sarah Burman. That sunshine is key to a happy winter home – every degree helps – and your garden will look prettier, too.