Homes

Five ways to stay warm this winter - and most of them are free!

What can you do to at least pretend it isn't in the single digits outside?

Unless you're way up north, you woke up this morning and realised winter isn't mucking around this year.

We all know it comes every year but, just like the heatwaves, we're [never really ready emotionally]. More importantly though, are you ready practically?

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Insulating your home and installing a fireplace is all well and good if A) you've got a whole heap of money lying around and B) you organised it in the summer.

So what can you do to at least pretend it isn't in the single digits outside?

Get some thick curtains

Thick curtains and window blinds will trap the heat in and keep the cold out – the way it should be. This option is perfect because we know you secretly have been dying to update your curtain collection anyway.

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Reshuffle your furniture

Speaking of redecorating, it's time to move your furniture around - warmer and free? Bargain.

Move furniture away from windows and cold walls so you're not sitting on top of any draughts. Be careful not to put any big furniture, like couches or large armchairs, in front of fireplaces or heaters because they'll prevent the hot air circulating freely.

Rug up

Wooden floors are sleek and stylish while unfinished concrete is the perfect way to give your home an industrial vibe, but neither is good for keeping your home warm.

Instead of getting cold toes from tipping around on freezing floors, cover them with some fluffy rugs.

Although not necessarily warmer, go for some tactile sheepskin or shag carpets that you can nestle into them while you mosey up your hot chocolate.

Close doors that don’t need to be open

Don't waste heating on spaces you're not using. Close all the doors to the living space with the heater and the impact will be immediate.

If anyone complains about being cold, force them to come and sit with you in the warm zone – saving money and family time.

If you have a fancy heating system, turn it off in rooms nobody's using as well - another easy freebie.

Let the sun do the work

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Keep heating bills down by opening up all your blinds and curtains during the day.

When sunlight comes through the windows it's UV radiation, but once it hits an object it becomes infrared radiation, and that doesn't travel through glass as easily.

Now you've got the science, whip back the curtains on north and west-facing windows especially - south-facing windows don't capture as much sunlight so you can leave them shuttered on colder days.

Look, winter isn't fun for anyone. Let's just grit our teeth, employ a couple of these handy tricks, and we might just make it through to those summer days we've heard so much about.