steps to a warm & toasty home for winter

Okay, it’s officially freezing! Jon Snow has left the living room and the deep sting of winter is certainly making her presence felt. So how do we keep warm when the winter winds howl?

Short of employing Nan to make a ginormous scarf to wrap around your house and keep the chill at bay, let’s look at five hacks you may have forgotten about to keep your abode toasty warm this winter.

1. Seal it up

No, don’t give me your best Kiss From a Rose impression. I’m talking about the hundreds of cracks, crevices and overlooked ways that a cold draught can creep its way into your home.

The obvious culprits are above and beneath doors, open windows (duh) and air vents. We also tend to overlook poorly sealed window frames, gaps in flooring, exhaust fans and plumbing and electrical penetrations.

Arm yourself with a tube of No More Gaps and some Expandafoam and start sealing things up.

2. Fake it til you make it

Warmth comes in all shapes, sizes and forms. It can be literal and figurative. We can make a space feel warm through heating and passive measures – but making a room look warm is something different altogether.

Texture, colour and lighting can be a big help in creating a warm aesthetic in a room and a great way to keep power bills down.

The use of warm colours (don’t discard the blues and greens), plush throws and pillows, and soft warm lighting can give the room all it needs to look like it’s burning up inside.

3. Consider insulation

Like a warm blanket, insulation is what gives us that wrapped-up feeling when the alarm goes off and we dread leaving the house to face a July morning.

We’re talking about the batts in your ceilings and walls, sarking over your roof frame and wrapped concrete slabs in the ground.

These things keep us warm in winter, cool in summer and are pretty much the first line of defence when it comes to heating a home.

4. Change your perspective

While it’s always nice to have a great view, we need to think about how our homes are orientated to make the most of a rare winter sun.

From what I learnt in school, cold weather generally comes from the south (that’s where all the ice is) and the sun is usually in the north, so it sort of makes sense to face the sun when things turn cool.

Having a northerly aspect is vital for effective passive design and keeps the cold southerly winter winds at bay.

It’s all about the natural light in this character-filled family home in Bundanoon.

5. If all else fails, party like it’s 1999

If you’ve exhausted every avenue for upping your in-home heating and just can’t seem to stop the teeth from chattering, start inviting every Tom, Dick, Harry, Arthur and Marta over for afternoon sips.

Wikipedia (that old book of ‘facts’) states that the human body produces about 200 watts of heat energy at low exercise.

So, 20 or so of your best buddies hot stepping it to Janes Fonda’s ’80s aerobics classics, would pump out the same volume of heat as a 4kW gas heater.

simple transformations to give your home that wow factor

Want to create a dazzling space with minimal effort?

There are a few excellent ways to revolutionise a room without doing a full renovation or throwing out all your furniture.

We spoke to Catherine Heraghty, interior designer and founder of interior styling company “The Stables”, to gather some easy solutions that will give your home that elusive ‘wow’ factor.

Refresh your window furnishings

Whether curtains, shutters or blinds, new window furnishings will immediately add impact to a space.

Not only will they offer a new or different visual element, but they can impact how light, shade and heat enter your space. Therefore, it’s important to consider the most practical solution, as well as the most stylish.

Change the colour or texture of your walls

We all know fresh paint can change up the appearance of a room, but have you thought about other ways you can make over your walls?

Even if you’re content with the colour of your room, you can update the texture and overall look through wall panelling.

“Supplied as large sheets [and easily purchased from your local hardware store], wall panelling can be applied over the top of existing walls. It’s cost effective, easy to install and it can completely transform a space,” Catherine says. “It naturally creates a cosier, more homely feel.”

Update fittings and fixtures

A high-impact cosmetic renovation could simply involve changing a few door knobs or taps.

Some carefully considered door handles can help change the style and theme of a room, especially when paired with a few other touches, such as key decor items and your new window shades.

Go from early-noughties daggy to something classic and timeless with just a few adjustments!

If you need to sell your home, we buy houses.

Create new light

“Having more than one type of light source in a house can make so much difference to how the house is experienced at night time,” Catherine says. “Adding light pendants is an easy way to update your home but also create a soft source of light at night time, rather than only having harsh down lights.”

If you’re not keen on redoing the lights in your ceiling, consider if you can add floor or table lamps to create mood lighting at night and decorate your space during the day.

Find a statement piece

You don’t need to throw out your entire living room or bedroom suite – you may just need to add a chair!

“Occasional chairs are a designer’s secret weapon in large master bedrooms,” Catherine concedes. “Clients are often at a loss as to how to fill oversized master bedrooms to make them feel complete, but a simple chair styled-well can solve this problem anytime.”

Create a little ‘nook’ with your chair by adding a small side table and artwork to tie it all in. Just add a pile of your favourite books atop the table and you have the perfect reading vignette.

Decorate your walls with art

Finally, move the eye around the room with features at different height levels. This might mean hanging some wall art.

Catherine admits choosing art can be difficult as it is typically very subjective. However, whatever you choose, she recommends making it something you love.

“If you choose something you connect with, you will love it for longer,” she says. “Whereas if you’re just choosing based on what’s on-trend or what you see on Instagram, you’ll be steered wrong. It’s about personal connection.”