With winter just around the corner, it’s never too early to prepare our homes for the cold months ahead. But what area of your house deserves the most attention? Well, the aptly named living room is where you spend most of your day and get comfy, so it makes sense to make sure that this space is ready for the chilly season ahead.

Home is where the hearth is

One sure-fire way to cosy up your living room is to make your fireplace the focal point of the room. But before you can do this, you’ll have to do a couple of things. First, you’ll have to gather firewood that’ll last you through the long winter. And second, you may have to sweep your chimney if it hasn’t been in use for a while, and while you’re at it, you might as well check your chimney for damage. Lastly, the BBC’s Tom Heyden recommends that you install a chimney balloon as a lot of heat can be lost through an open fireplace. Once all this is done try rearranging your seating to be closer to the fireplace.

For those who don’t currently have a fireplace in your home, now might be a good time to install one. You can opt for traditional fireplaces, or choose a more modern gas unit for your living room.

While both will require some significant home renovation, the latter can be installed in homes without a chimney.

What’s more the range of gas fireplaces on Screwfix tend to have higher efficiency for greater heat output, with some even reaching 100% efficiency on fuel. They also tend to be much easier to control, coming with sliding knobs or even a remote control.

But of course, there’s also something to be said about the crackling sounds and earthy smells of an actual fireplace. Whatever option you choose, the added warmth and light from a fireplace can affect the overall ambience in your living room, giving you and your family a place to warm up and gather around especially during the Christmas period.

The importance of insulation

When the winter season rolls in, retaining heat is just as important as keeping the cold out.

While closing your windows would normally be enough during the warmer seasons, this simply won’t cut it for when the temperatures begin to drop. One quick fix is to install silicone sealants on your window edges. But if you have more time, then you can also opt to buy weather stripping for your windows and doors. Furthermore, one thing that people seem to forget is their air ducts. Forgetting to insulate your ducts will lead to cold air blowing into your house.

Aside from your windows and doors, your walls could also losing heat.

In their interview with Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland officer Tom Halpin, The Journal points out that around 25% of heat is lost through a home’s walls . One way to insulate the wall cavities is by pumping polystyrene beads into them, as they will eventually set into a solid board. The other way is via dry lining the inside of your walls with 3-4 inches of insulation, which will then be covered with plasterboard on the side of the home. Lastly, you can try external insulation. This involves wrapping the whole wall with a thick layer of highly insulating material.

A little green goes a long way

Lastly, comfort is all about feeling great about the space that you inhabit. And while winter can be very beautiful, months of sleet and snow can tend to get a little dreary. Little additions like house plants will go a long way in reminding you of a time when it was a little less snowy and wet, not to mention the bonus of the Parisian vibe that a little greenery can give your home.

This creates a little oasis of peace and comfort for your everyday life, and sometimes, that’s all you need to help you get through winter.

Worried your plants won’t make it through the season? The Irish Times details that one common pitfall in plant care during winter is overwatering, which leads to water-logging. Remember that plants aren’t in active growth during winter and will need less watering. Keep this in mind and your plants should be fine and healthy to weather through winter with your family.