How to keep your house warm in winter: 11 cost-effective tips and tricks

Reluctant to turn the heating up this winter? Here's how you can stay warm in any room without using extra energy measures

Cozy living room with log-burning stove to show how to keep your house warm in winter
(Image credit: Future)

Mastering how to keep your house warm in winter using cost-effective hacks will strike a chord with many households this year as people seek out ways to reduce their energy costs.

We spoke to experts in heating and home decor to share their tips on keeping homes warm without using excessive electricity. Luckily as with how to dry clothes indoors without a dryer, there are plenty of small and affordable ways to make rooms feel warmer without cranking the heating on full blast or running up energy bills by powering electric fan heaters.

From rearranging furniture to blocking chimneys with draught extractors, there are some easy changes you can make to help you stay warm and toasty during the colder months without worrying about utility bills.

How to keep your house warm this winter

“As energy prices continue to soar, it has left many homeowners wondering whether it’s more efficient to keep the heating on at a lower temperature for the duration of the day or to turn it off and on again when needed, " says Chris Shaw, CEO at Utility Bidder (opens in new tab).

"Although there has been a lot of speculation around this, the best way to save money and energy is to only use the heating when needed and not have it on for the whole day. Depending on how cold a room is, you often only need to have the heating on for a short amount of time to feel the benefits, which means you can turn it off once you feel warm enough, which will save you money."

"If you’re reluctant to put the heating on as much as you’d like to this winter, then there are a few simple hacks which can help you heat areas of your home for longer." 

White living room with teal velvet sofa and log-burner

(Image credit: Future)

1. Rearrange the furniture

An easy way to instantly improve the heat quality of any room is to rearrange the furniture to ensure the layout is utilizing all heat sources.

"If you intend on switching the heating on and you have large items of furniture in front of the radiator, such as a sofa or sideboard, move it to another wall as this is soaking up most of the heat," explains Chris. "By doing this, the radiator is now fully exposed to the rest of the room and will evenly distribute heat."

"Any large furniture such as beds or wardrobes should also be at least 1 foot away from radiators," advise the team at Bed Kingdom (opens in new tab). "If your bed is next to an external wall, rearranging your room so your bed is against an internal wall will help you stay warmer." 

"Glass is not good for insulating rooms. If your bed is close to a window or external wall, rearranging your furniture so that your bed is away from windows and next to internal walls can be a cost-free way of staying warm at night."

2. Add extra layers of soft furnishings

Chair loaded with blankets to show how to keep your house warm in winter

(Image credit: Future)

Welcome extra layers to sofas, armchairs, and beds when the temperature drops. This action may not make the wider room feel warmer but it will definitely make you feel instantly warmer within the room, as will wearing the warmest leggings and best cozy sweaters

"Social areas can become chilly quite easily during the colder months, so it is important to equip them with homely soft furnishings to ooze comfort and snug vibes," advises Sam Baldry, head of design at Swoon (opens in new tab).

"Consider creating a basket or box full of warm throws for your lounge, so that when the temperature drops, your guests can reach for a comforting blanket to snuggle up and relax under. Choose a selection of soft cotton velvet throws in a range of hues that coordinate with your current color scheme."

3. Keep the oven door open after you've switched it off

During the colder months, we're more likely to crave hot meals, as opposed to summer salads, therefore ovens are used more frequently. It may sound bonkers but this heat source has huge potential to keep you warm, why let it go to waste after whatever you are cooking has been prepared? 

Switch the oven off but leave the door open to benefit from the residual heat inside.

"If you’re using the oven, instead of closing the door once your food has cooked, leave the oven door wide open and this will project heat into the surrounding areas," explains Chris. This is a simple but oh-so-effective way to make more of the heat you're already generating – this is also a great way to dry clothes indoors in the winter months. 

If you're using this handy hack it might be worth cleaning the oven a clean first - you don't want to spread any unpleasant smells around the room. 

4. Layer floors with rugs

Another easy way to reap the instant benefits of insulation underfoot is by layering floors with rugs. "As so much heat can be lost through the floor it’s important to ensure your rooms are well equipped to handle the cold weather," says Ray Jones, flooring expert at SCS (opens in new tab)

"Carpet is an ideal solution for this as it’s a poor conductor, meaning hot air will struggle to escape and cold air will become trapped in its fibers. However, if you do have hard floors but would like to improve heat retention, a good rug can help towards that goal. Of course, it won’t be as effective as a fully carpeted room, but you definitely should notice a positive difference after laying it.” 

Look especially to use wool rugs because the insulating properties of wool mean that the humidity levels are balanced because the fibers of the material absorb the coolness and moisture content in the air.

5. Insulate floorboards

Orginal exposed floorboard with DraughtEx to fill the gaps to show idea for how to keep your house warm in winter

(Image credit: Future | Tamara Kelly)

Exposed, original floorboards may look chic but they can be a nightmare when trying to retain heat in a room. Look to add insulation, which you can do yourself with ease and at very little cost as I found out myself last year. 

The easiest and most effective solution is to use a draught-excluding solution that is pushed in between the gaps in the floorboards to prevent draughts and keep the room feeling warmer. 

We can personally recommend DraughtEx, a plastic-type cord to fill floorboard gaps – available in various widths to suit. The roll is supplied with a handy tool that makes feeding the rubber tape between the boards an easy task. Speaking from personal experience, I know how effective this can be in making a room feel instantly warmer because I used it on my exposed floorboards last winter.

6. Keep the blinds drawn

Windows offer an expanse of glass area that can prove hugely problematic when it comes to retaining heat in any room. "Around 10-30% of a home’s heat is lost through windows, even if they are fitted with double glazing," explains Dave Downing, Managing Director at Conservatory Blinds 4 Less (opens in new tab). Consider keeping the panes covered whenever they are not being directly heated by natural sunlight. Incidentally, this trick is used in reverse when looking at how to cool down a room in summer.

“Keeping your blinds cold can significantly reduce heat loss,” says Dave. “We recommend closing your blinds when the sun sets and the temperature drops. Keep blinds closed as much as possible on miserable days with limited sunlight to prevent the escape of heat. On brighter days, open your blinds to allow the sun to passively heat your room.” 

7. Block fireplaces

Fireplace with Chinmey Sheep draught excluder to show how to keep your house warm in winter for less

(Image credit: Chimney Sheep)

Whether in a living room, bedroom, or kitchen, a fireplace may inject instant charm to the aesthetic but it can also be the cause of unwelcome draughts. An open fireplace with an exposed chimney breast, whether working or not, allows the perfect place for any warm air to escape. Draughts can also create an influx of extremely cold air, which will reduce the temperature within the room.

An old-fashioned method of blocking the fireplace is using an old pillow or cushion that can be gently pushed in place to seal the void – of course, if your fireplace is a working one this will be removed before being used again. 

For a more modern take, we recommend using Chimney Sheep, a product specially designed to be easily placed to block the exposed chimney breast cavity. "The removable chimney draught excluder is made with a thick layer of felted Herdwick wool and ensures households with open chimneys are heated as efficiently as possible by keeping the heat in and cold draughts out," explains Sally Phillips, the founder, and director of Chimney Sheep (opens in new tab).

"Once inserted the draught excluder blocks airflow in and out of the chimney, while the properties of the wool naturally permit sufficient ventilation at the same time."

8. Seal windows and doors

Any areas exposed to drafts instantly let cold air in, it's therefore imperative to ensure all gaps are sealed around doors and windows. Consider filling gaps with foam seal or metallic or plastic brush strips. 

Also, think about adding additional draught excluding measures in the short term. Reduce any draughts by using draught excluders around doors and even windows – old blankets or towels are a great budget solution to create a barrier to stop the cold air from entertaining the room.

"If you have a letterbox attached to the exterior of your home, tape up the letterbox in your door as this is often a way for heat to escape," adds Chris.

9. Keep doors closed to trap heat

Green living room with doors to shut off the room as easy way how to keep your house warm in winter

(Image credit: Future)

There's no real need to heat every room in the house if you don't use certain rooms frequently enough. If this is the case save yourself money and energy by turning the radiators off in these rooms and shutting the door to keep the room closed off to avoid the cold creeping into the rooms being heated. 

Make a habit of closing the door on the rooms you are using the most to retain the heat from any heating sources you have in use.

“We often hear that people use portable electric heaters to heat the room that they’re in rather than heating the whole house," says Dr. Steve Buckley, Head of Data Science at Loop (opens in new tab). "The principle is sound - only heating the rooms you’re using can lead to big savings when compared with heating the whole house." 

10. Redirect heat with a fan

If you are lucky enough to have a log-burning stove that is all set to keep you warm this winter you could still benefit from a handy hack that redirects the heat to ensure none of it is potentially wasted. A simple stove fan circulates the hot air more efficiently so the whole room will feel the benefits, rather than just the areas directly surrounding the stove. 

Requiring no power source of its own, a stove fire fan is propelled by the stove’s hot air as the temperature rises. It sits on top of your stove spinning freely and silently, evenly distributing the heat, to save wasting energy and money.

11. Bleed radiators

Another free and relatively simple solution is to bleed the radiators to ensure your heating is working to maximum capacity, so no heat is wasted because of an inefficient heating system.

Christopher Nye, overseas property expert at Your Overseas Home (opens in new tab). explains, "Bleeding your radiators will ensure that hot water is circulating through your entire heating system, as it gets rid of pockets of air that stop the hot water from circulating efficiently. It’s not the same as draining or flushing your central heating system, but it is a quick and easy task that pretty much anyone can do."

Tamara Kelly
Lifestyle Editor

Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 19 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of womanandhome.com, she has spent the last 16 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.


With a keen eye for the latest interior trends, there's not a lot she doesn't know about home decor – whether it’s what colour we should be painting our living rooms next season, or if the latest 'must-have' buys are actually worth investing in.


A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interiors trend events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.