Baby, it’s getting colder outside. Some people will be turning on their central heating, but soaring fuel bills will make this an expensive option this winter.
It could also inflict more damage on the planet.
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson will remind us at next month’s Cop26 global climate change summit, we urgently need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. About 22 per cent of the UK’s emissions come from homes.
Simple steps: You can lessen the impact of higher bills, do your bit for the environment and make your home smarter with these energy-saving tips
Many people will remember the voice of a parent or grandparent urging them in midwinter to put on an extra jumper and turn off the lights when leaving a room.
This advice is even more relevant today. You can lessen the impact of higher bills, do your bit for the environment and make your home smarter with these energy-saving tips. Your granny would be proud.
Wrap yourself up
Five years ago, hygge (based on the Danish word for cosiness and conviviality) was the biggest thing in decor. It is time to revive this cult whose edicts include throws on all armchairs, beds and sofas in which to envelop yourself, while drinking hot chocolate.
Next has fake fur throws in cream, grey, navy, pink, rust orange and teal (£50 to £90 depending on size).
Marks & Spencer’s fake fur throw costs £25 to £39.50, also depending on size, and comes in blush, charcoal, cranberry, ivory, silver grey and navy.
At Heals, you will find velvet throws (£299). Habitat has a quilted throw in emerald (£35).
There are a number of ways to display elegantly a throw when it is not wrapped around your knees.
You can fold the throw into thirds lengthwise then fold it in half to produce a neat rectangle.
Or fold it in half vertically, pinch the middle fold and lay it on the bed and sofa for a casual look.
Beat the draughts
If your front door is old, the letter box may be letting in chill air. Fitting a £4.50 B&Q letterbox draught excluder to the inside of the door could help solve this.
Not On The High Street offers a draught excluder bearing the words: Mind The Gap (£36.95)
A cushion draught excluder is another defence against chills. Graham & Green has velvet draught excluders in jewel-like shades such as emerald (£38), or in cheetah print (£19.95).
Not On The High Street offers a draught excluder in three sizes bearing the words: Mind The Gap (£36.95). This should serve as a timely reminder to the forgetful members of your household of the need for energy conservation.
A rug is an easy way to insulate, helping trap cold air underneath. Wayfair offers something for every taste from edgy to rustic.
The Rauscher blue/grey rug (£48.99) would suit a more contemporary interior, while a yellow and red kilim (£189.99) would supply zing in a neutral decor.
The luxury choice is the John Lewis Gooch Oriental Kazak Supreme Rug in a multi-coloured pattern (£2,795). If justifying this purchase to friends, you will say that this is an heirloom item that will reduce fuel bills over decades.
A runner will raise the temperature in a hallway where visitors shiver however warm your welcome.
Soft tones: The Rauscher blue/grey rug (£48.99) would suit a more contemporary interior
The black-and-white geometric pattern of B&Q’s Harrieta (£21) would work in almost any style of interior.
If you want the stripped-down cottage look, La Redoute has the Aftas jute runner (£50).
For something more colourful, Dunelm offers the Urban Abstract (£29) in shades reminiscent of an Impressionist painting.
It also stocks vintage-look runners in traditional Afghan patterns (£59 to £89).
The splurge buy is the Rug Company’s Paul Smith rainbow runner (from £3,203). The sight of this optimistic piece would supply a glow every day for years.
Small steps to savings
You may have insulated your roof, fitted double glazing and swapped to LED lightbulbs. Yet you can go further.
A large number of small changes, such as turning down your thermostat by just one degree, can add up to big savings.
You could consider fitting a smart thermostat, such as Google Nest Learning (£187) allowing you to control the system via an app on your phone.
Other measures include having your boiler serviced to ensure it is working at maximum efficiency and reducing the number of times you use your dishwasher and washing machine by one cycle each week. Use a microwave in preference to the oven.
Put lids on pans when steaming foods, as well as filling the kettle with only the amount of water you need to make coffee, tea, or to fill your fur-covered hot water bottle (£9.99 from Argos), the ultimate cheap chic piece.
Such economies will soon become second nature and the glow of virtue will be a comfort even on the iciest days.