6 ways to guarantee a warm welcome
With that cold, dark and damp commuting weather just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to check out our handy ways to guarantee a warm welcome every time you come home from work.
Revolutionise your evening routine with everything from efficient lights that come on to greet you to warming scents to whisk you away the moment you walk through the door. Plus you’ll find plenty of amazing energy saving inspiration along the way.
Nothing says welcome back quite like a glimmer of warm, inviting light. Try these ideas to brighten up your autumnal nights for less.
Time it right: If you always arrive home after dark, an easy-to-install DIY timer is an ideal way to programme your lights to come on just in time to greet you.
Switch to smart: Train delayed? Home earlier than usual? Innovative smart lighting allows you to save energy by turning lights on or off with a tap of your smartphone.
Motion lights: Don’t fall foul of a dark and frosty front path. Installing motion detector lights will make sure you’ve got a clear route to the front door.
Top tip: For that classic warm and slightly amber light choose bulbs with a Kelvin rating of between 2700 and 3000 (you can normally find this figure on the box).
That wave of warmth as you walk in through the front door has got to be the highlight of any chilly commute. Here’s how you can really start making the most of it.
Go zonal: Keep doors closed and adjust your radiators to switch on around 15 or 20 minutes before you want to use a room. After all, there’s no point heating rooms you aren’t going to be using anytime soon.
Master your thermostat: Every thermostat is different. Get to know what yours can do to enhance your evening routine by checking out the manual (instructions for many models can be found online).
Get connected: Smart thermostats like Nest let you control your heating with a tap of an app whether you’re sat on the sofa or the number 47 bus.
Top tip: Don’t forget to adjust your thermostat when the clocks go back in the early hours of Sunday 30th October.
Triggering warm memories with a waft of cinnamon, note of nutmeg or a hint of pine needle is a clever psychological trick to warm up without touching the thermostat.
Use po-power: Combining dried citrus peel, spices and essential oils, homemade potpourri is a fantastic energy-free way to bring warming scents to your home.
Go natural: A top alternative to energy-draining plug-ins, reed diffusers pair essential oils with absorbent reeds to gently fill the house with your favourite fragrance.
Candle up: Cinnamon. Vanilla. Nutmeg. Scented candles aren’t just a simple way to fill the house with a warm smell – they could help you save on lighting costs too.
Top tip: Got an open fire? Throw some dried orange peel in with your kindling to add a subtle aroma of roasted oranges to the air.
One of the best low-energy ways to feel warmer is to get changed into a cosy evening outfit as soon as you get home. But, what to wear?
Think cosy: Warm, practical and on-trend – slankets, onesies and slipper boots are an ideal – and relatively inexpensive – addition to any winter wardrobe.
Accessorise wisely: More traditional? Go for woolly jumpers, thick socks and lots of layers. According to the Energy Saving Trust, every degree you turn your thermostat down by can save you as much as £65 a year*.
Warm it up: Leave your evening outfit in an airing cupboard or sat near (but not touching) one of the radiators that will be on by the time you get home. Toasty.
Top tip: Avoid getting static shocks from your winter clothing by hiding a safety pin on the inside seam to discharge any electric build-up.
* Statistic provided by The Energy Saving Trust 2015
There are a few little things you can do around the house to keep it working hard even while you’re not home.
Soak up the sun: If any windows face the setting sun, leave their curtains open until you get home. Closing them when you get in will trap any residual warmth inside.
Help the humidity: Drying laundry indoors while you’re out and about could add some much-needed humidity to the atmosphere by the time you get back.
Dodge draughts: Warm air will rush out the moment you open the front door. Think about hanging a thick door curtain to minimise the heat loss as you come in.
Top tip: Thick rugs don’t just feel great under your feet – they are a top way to stop draughty floorboards from letting the outside in.
Having a home cooked meal or your favourite hot drink ready when you get in is a sure fire way to get any chilly evening off on the right foot.
Cook clever: Using a little more energy than a traditional light bulb, slow cookers are an ingenious way to have a hot meal good to go by the time you get home. Do your prep, set it cooking while you go out and when you return – voila.
Get a brew on: Did you know that some super smart coffee makers can even use your smartphone’s WiFi connection to tell when you walk through the door? That’s service.
Be inventive: If you have an electric coffee pot with a timer, you may be able to use it to make all sorts of other warming treats by adding things like hot chocolate or porridge directly to the glass jug.
Top tip: If you use the oven to cook your evening meal, leave the oven door open when you’re done. Any leftover heat will continue to warm the house as the oven cools.