The endlessly scorching summer of 2018 feels like a distant memory. Spring is around the corner, but February and March can get pretty bleak.
With rising energy costs, the winter can be an expensive time of year. How can you stay warm and cosy in your home without cranking the heating up to the max?
This was the topic of the first in a series of Ikea Live Lagom workshops. What small changes could we make for the biggest impact?
Don’t let the cold in
Are you letting the cold air sneak in through gaps in door and window frames?
If drafts are leaving you shivering, that means you’re letting warmth escape and essentially letting the money you spend on heating drift into thin air.
Long-term fixes can cost a lot of money, but there are things you can do in the short-term to block those gaps.
If you’ve got any big-ish pieces of fabric lying around, you could give them a new life as a draft-excluder. This could be old curtains, bedding, off-cuts – anything.
Cut a rectangle as long as the width of the offending door or window, fold it lengthways and sew up the side. Then you can stuff it with any old fabric. Can’t sew? Roll it up, stuff it and tie the ends off like a big sweetie! A child can do it!
When we made ours at the Cosy Homes workshop, we used old duvets, cushions, shirts – it doesn’t even matter if it turns out lumpy because it’s going to sit on the floor.
Thick curtains can also trap in heat. For extra insulation, team them up with the Hoppvals cellular blind. Air is trapped in the blind’s honeycomb structure which helps to keep the cold out.
Create a cosy glow
Warm lighting might not technically keep you warm, but it can help you to wind down and relax in the evening.
Candles and tea lights can create a cosy atmosphere, although since they have a finite lifespan, you’ll need to keep replacing them.
Whilst I love filling my room with candles on a Sunday evening as I prepare for the week ahead, I appreciate they’re not for everyone – especially those with children and pets.
Fairy lights are a great way to create a similar effect. I usually pick some up during the sales after Christmas. Modern LED fairy lights can last twenty times longer than older ones and the low power consumption means many will run off AA batteries so you can put them anywhere you like. Rechargeable batteries are now a lot cheaper than they used to be and will save you money in the long-term.
Smart bulbs can give you control of the warmth and even the colour of your lighting from your mobile or remote control. I have several Tradfri bulbs connected to my Samsung Smartthings system which means I can include them in ‘routines.’ For example, my wake-up routine turns the coffee machine on downstairs, which is on a Tradfri plug, and also turns my landing light on, set to a warm orange so I can see but I’m not immediately blinded. When I leave for work, my ‘goodbye’ routine turns everything off so I’m not wasting power.
We’re not talking about pulling on an extra jumper here, although that would probably help you to turn down the heating by a couple of degrees.
Layering different fabrics is a very Scandinavian way of cosying up over winter. Some households even have different textiles for different seasons which sounds like a perfect way to keep your home looking fresh!
A nice thick rug can insulate from below and make your floor a lot more pleasant to walk on. It’s also a relatively low-cost way to introduce some colour.
I have several Tanum rugs in my bathrooms which protect my feet from the cold floors in the mornings. They’re hand-woven by skilled craftspeople in Bangladesh from the offcuts of fabrics used to produce other Ikea textiles so no two are alike.
Style up sofas and chairs with soft, snuggly throws – perfect for a night nestled down in front of the television with the rain lashing down outside. My favourite is the Lisamari which brightens up my grey sofa and is so soft and warm I often fall asleep under it.
Keep your duvet to yourself
If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel in Scandinavia, you’ve probably noticed that your double bed will be topped with not one but two duvets.
In parts of the world where winters can be bitter, it’s a simple but genius way to make sure you spend the night sealed up in your own little cosy cocoon.
If your significant other runs at a different temperature to you, it also allows you to have your own individual ‘tog-rating.’ This way, one doesn’t end up too hot or too cold to suit the other.
Definitely something I’ll be trying when our winter duvet has its day.
Disclaimer: I am not paid by IKEA, although they have kindly helped me on my Lagom journey with free merchandise.