In the depths of winter it’s wonderful to be able to come back to a warm home, but that warmth isn’t just there for comfort—it’s also essential for good health. Children, elderly and disabled people are particularly vulnerable to the cold but anyone can suffer from it, becoming tired, stiff and more vulnerable to infections. Investing in improvements to keep the home warmer is an investment in everybody who lives there, and what’s more, it’s a great chance to give the place a makeover.
Before starting on more complex aspects of decor, it’s a good idea to go over the basics of insulating the house. Double and triple glazing is a good bet but it is of course expensive. Many smaller, less costly changes can have a big impact. Cracks in window and doorframes can be caulked and weather-stripped. Gaps between floorboards can be filled in with wood filler. Cladding can be wrapped around pipes and lofts can be insulated. Gaps under doors can be filled using door sweepers.
Snug and stylish windows
Windows can be insulated very effectively with shutters, which are available in a wide range of unique colors and finishes to blend in with the overall look of a room. Their wooden slats trap air, stopping heat from leaking out. They can be combined with thick drapes for extra warmth, and velvet drapes look particularly good in the rich shades that make a house feel warmer in winter. Drapes should be fully lined and topped with a pelmet for maximum effect.
A surprising amount of heat can be lost through floors and fashionable bare boards don’t usually provide much insulation. Thick carpets are much more effective, especially if they have proper underlay. Fitted carpets are best for insulation but a wall-to-wall carpet topped by a large free-sitting carpet can look very striking as well as feeling lovely and warm underfoot. Rugs are also a good choice, with woolen rugs being particularly cozy. Beanbag seats look great, are wonderful to relax in and help to insulate the floor.
Even the walls of a home can be effectively insulated using thick, padded wallpaper or grass weave wallpaper that contains its own insulation. Books are great insulators so setting up bookcases against outer walls helps to keep the heat in. For a really dramatic look, a tapestry can be hung on the wall. Tapestries were used in medieval castles and manor houses partly for their insulating properties.
Using smart interior design strategies to keep the home warmer may require some initial investment but over time it can lead to savings. Good insulation means it isn’t necessary to turn the heat up as much to keep the place warm, so it saves on fuel, reducing bills and placing less strain on the environment. It’s a way of reinventing the home that builds on its value and means it will be a better place to live in for years to come.