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10 tips for a warmer, cosier and happier home this winter (and a lower power bill)

Fix It ezine warmer home
Winter may officially start on the 1st June, but it already feels like the middle of the chilly season to us. And as fast as the temperature gauge goes down, your power bills go up. We reveal the hottest ways to beat the cold and save yourself some money in the process.

1.    Choose the most efficient heating for each room

If you’re not lucky or wealthy enough to have some sort of central heating – heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat your home, according to EECA, but they are expensive to install  – then go to the Consumer website for advice on the type of heating that’s best for each type of room. In a nutshell, panel and other convection heaters are best for living and family areas, panel or oil-filled column heaters for bedrooms where you only need to take the chill off, and portable fan or radiant heaters for service or workshop areas. A night-store heater in the passage is an option for colder areas.

2.    Shop around for the best power supply deal

We got a call at home from a power company one night a few months ago, offering a special electricity rate which they would hold for twelve months. We compared their offer against what we were then paying, and decided to accept. Now we’re making savings of around 15%.  We recommend you go to, or, or shop around yourself for a better deal.

3.    Take advantage of the Government’s insulation and insulation grants before it’s too late

It’s expected that the allocation of grants for the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart insulation subsidy will run out in September this year. So if you have a home or rental property that was built before 2000 and hasn’t been one of the 215,000 homes which have already benefited from the grants, it’s time to get your skates on. More information at

4.    Get draught sealing and thermal-backed curtains

The Heat Smart grants cover insulation for the No. 1 part of your home for heat loss – your ceiling. Close behind in the No. 2 spot are your windows. Double glazing is now a building code requirement for new homes in many parts of New Zealand, but there is also a range of retro-fitting options available for older homes, some of which are surprisingly affordable. Even more affordable, however, are draught seals and thermal-backed curtains which can be obtained from any home improvement store and fitted yourself.

5.    Use warm colours to make your home seem warmer

White and pale, insipid colours are all the rage for interior décor. They may be cool and fresh in summer, but in winter they can make your home seem like a mausoleum. Using warmer colours such as peach, brown and red in your furnishings, floor covering and paint can warm your home in two ways – by creating a warm ambience, and by actually making rooms seem smaller and therefore more cosy.
Fix It ezine - warmer homes
Photo courtesy


6.    Use furniture that makes you want to curl up

Much of the furniture you find in modern homes makes you feel about as comfortable as a fold-out stool. Enormous marshmellowy sofas and piles of fat cushions, on the other hand, make you feel like curling up and sipping tea – it doesn’t get cosier than that.

7.    Break large spaces up

Large open-plan spaces can often feel cavernous and empty. Bbrrr! To overcome that feeling, use bigger or more furniture and group your furniture and furnishings to break the space into more intimate separate spaces. To complete the look and make your house feel even more like a home, surround yourself with the things you love – the antique lamp your aunty left you, your collection of pygmy art, that sort of thing.
Fix It ezine - warmer homes

8.    Use lighting

Often it doesn’t take much more than installing a dimmer switch to create lighting moods that make a room seem bigger or small, lighter or cosier. Freestanding and table lamps can enhance your lighting effects without breaking the bank. And if you were one of many of us who raced out like the good environmentalists we are to buy eco-friendly lightbulbs, and ended up with bright white supermarket lighting, now’s the time to switch from ‘cool’ to ‘warm’ bulbs.

9.    Light a candle

We gave candles a number of their own, rather than put them under ‘Lighting’, because as well as adding unique ambience to a room, they also add that extra magic – the magic of scent, whether it be pot pouri, lavender, tea, soy or just plain candlewax. 

10. Have some fun with your home decorating

A warmer, cosier home tends to be a happier home, but touches of humour around the place can add to the happiness quotient. If the idea of looking up a giant cow’s nostrils from your bathtub doesn’t freak you out, how about something like this? With the wall motif and cowskin-lined bathtub, it’s perfect for dairy farmers, sharemilkers and anyone who loves cows, really.

Fix It ezine - warmer home

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