Making an older home warmer and cosier

Those that live in an older house can sometimes marvel at the warmth of modern houses. The double glazing and extra insulation they come with can certainly make a difference on a cold winter’s day. The standards for building houses have changed radically over the last two centuries. These days, energy efficiency is a top priority. That doesn’t mean your older home can’t be just as cosy and warm, though.

Older houses often have higher ceilings in the main living area. This means the volume of the room is bigger. Add that to the extra size you get for each room, and you may find it tricky to keep warm in winter. False ceilings for inserting spot lights can be one way to reduce the volume of the room. Some people make the mistake of blocking up air bricks to cut out the draught. This can be disastrous. Older houses need to breathe! Wooden floors and old plaster needs the air to circulate. Plus, it can be dangerous if you use the open fire.

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An open fire is always an option in an old house. The chimneys are built to spread the warmth around the home as much as possible. Leaving doors open in warm rooms so the heat can spread to cooler areas is another way to warm the house. These days, nobody likes a real fire in the bedroom, but the warmth from the fire downstairs should warm the room a little anyway.

Original floors are a beautiful feature of older homes. You can polish them up to look very grand, but wooden floors can be colder when they are set on beams instead of concrete. Use rugs in winter for an extra layer of warmth. You may be able to install underfloor heating as well. Carpets can provide a warmer surface but it’s a shame to hide permanently away those beautiful floors.

Double glazed sash windows are more popular than ever. They provide all the function of the original panes in your home. But there are two modern panes of glass creating a much warmer and more secure window for your home. They look every bit as good as the originals. They will, of course, be brighter and more attractive than the old, dull, wooden frames, and the glass will be of superior quality too. Perfect for staying snug.

Furniture made of fabric and wood rather than metal and leather will be warmer. You can use a throw to wrap around you and keep warm too. You can use thermal lined curtains to cut dramatically down the draughts and heat loss from windows and french doors. They also block out the sunlight on a hot day too. It is also possible to add thermal wall lining to an older property. This can be fixed to the inside in the shape of panels. Or you may prefer to inject it between the lines of brick in your outer wall.


Loft insulation is one of the best ways to keep homes warm. Check to see if your loft has enough. An extra layer could be very cost effective. Keep warm in your older home this coming winter.


  1. If you want to leave your old wooden floors exposed, but find that there are draughts coming thruogh the gaps between the boards, then it is fairly simple, if a bit time consuming, to fill the gaps. Rather than using an expensive commercial filler, the best filler is tissue paper or newpaper. Take a sheet and fold it lengthways multiple times, concertina fashion, as if making a fan. Then stuff the folded paper into the gap, parallel to the floorboards. Once the whole room is done, go over the paper with some wood-coloured varnish, which will hide it as well as keep it in place. You can also use this technique if you are going to paint your floorboards and the paper will stop the paint from dripping down into the cracks between floorboards.

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