7 winter window dressing ideas that experts promise will help keep your home warm and cosy

Keep the warmth in – and the cold out – over the colder months with these expert tips

Grey living room with grey velvet sofa and grey curtains
(Image credit: Future PLC/Max Attenborough)

During the colder months many of us will be looking for ways to stay warm and cosy in our homes without having to rely on turning on the heating quite as much. And winter window dressing ideas, such as curtains and blinds, can play a major role in blocking out drafts and preventing heat loss to keep our houses warm, as well as adding a visual warmth to our spaces.

‘Choosing the right window treatment during winter is crucial for several reasons,’ explains Brandon Laing from Homeshield Scotland. ‘Beyond aesthetics, the proper window treatment acts as a barrier against the harsh weather, playing a key role in maintaining a warm and inviting home. It serves as an extra layer of insulation, preventing heat from escaping and cold drafts from seeping in.’

Not only that, but keeping the warmth in and the cold out can reduce your reliance on your heating and in help you save energy.

7 winter window dressing ideas

cosy living room with panelled walls and burgundy accents

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘Eliminating all draughts is a key way to reduce the need for central heating,’ Helen O’Connor, Product Manager at 247 Blinds & 247 Curtains, explains. ‘Getting the right window dressing can help reduce your energy usage as heat loss through windows accounts for roughly 25-30% of the energy used in our homes.’

But which options are best for draught-proofing windows? Keep reading to see which winter window dressing ideas the experts recommend.

1. Invest in thermal lined curtains

Grey living room with grey velvet sofa and grey curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

‘Thermal lined curtains are designed to insulate your windows, keeping the cold air out and trapping the warmth inside,’ Debbie Leigh, Design Manager at ILIV, explains.

‘By installing thermal curtains, you can reduce heat loss through windows, ultimately lowering your heating costs and making your home more energy efficient. Opt for curtains with a thick, thermal lining that offers both insulation and light-blocking properties - this combination will help maintain a comfortable and cosy atmosphere while also providing privacy.’

You can find thermal lined curtains in a great range of colours, patterns and materials but just remember, when it comes to winter curtains, the thicker the better.

2. Or add a thermal lining to your existing curtains

Anika Grey curtains

(Image credit: Hillarys)

If you like your current curtains or have just purchased a pair and don’t want to spend too much to make them more efficient at trapping heat in, you can also add a thermal lining to existing curtains. This thermal lining will also help in the warmer summer months, as it will keep the heat out, making it a worthwhile investment for all year round and not just winter.

And in addition to that, ‘you can also add a thick interliner in between the curtain fabric and the lining for extra warmth,’ Marie says.

3. Opt for blackout blinds

Neutral room with dressing table and roman blind at the window

(Image credit: Future PLC/Davide Lovatti)

Many of us may already have blackout bedroom blinds to block out early morning sunlight. But blackout blinds can also come in handy at blocking out the cold, too. So, it could be worth considering a blackout blind for living room blinds or other rooms that feel the chill in your home.

‘The lining used in some blackout blinds can actually be up to three times as thermal-efficient as that used in some thermal blinds, meaning that as well as effectively blocking light out, blackout blinds can actively boost room temperature,’ Holly Burgess-Edge, Head of Ready Made Products at Terrys, explains.

4. Get layering

Hillarys Calm Living curtains

(Image credit: Hillarys)

One of the easiest ways to have the best of both worlds is to layer your winter window dressing ideas. And what we mean by that is, using several different coverings in tandem. For example, a lighter or sheer curtain for use during the day ‘to maximise natural light’ and ‘heavier drapes in the evening to add dimension and help trap heat,’ confirms Allan Reid, home expert and founder of Art Windows & Doors.

Other options are ‘curtains over shutters, or a voile Roman under a Roller blind,’ adds Hillarys’ Senior Product Manager, Yvonne Keal. ‘Layering more than one dressing on each window decreases the chance of warm air escaping and cold air sneaking in, plus, it looks stylish too.’

5. Choose thicker or heavier fabrics for your curtains

Blue living room with pink curtains at a bay window and a tan leather soaf

(Image credit: Future PLC)

We’re always drawn to velvet curtains, but as well as adding a luxurious and elegant touch to any room, they also have a weight to them which can help to keep the cold out and the warmth in.

‘Opt for window treatments made from thick, heavy fabrics like velvet or wool,’ says  Matt Bishop, spokesperson for Viking Extrusions. ‘These materials offer superior insulation and block out drafts effectively.’

Yvonne agrees with this. ‘Naturally thicker fabrics such as velvet and boucle do a great job of keeping heat inside, especially when paired with a thermal lining. These materials are also excellent noise and light barriers making them appropriate for various rooms of the home.’

6. Utilise roman blinds

Graham & Brown Stitch Craze Taupe Roman Blind

(Image credit: Graham & Brown)

‘Investing in a good set of blinds, particularly roman blinds, is a great way of ensuring you can simultaneously block out light or let in as much light as possible as and when needed,’ says Terrys’ Marketing and Creative Director, Gareth Coxall. 

This is because ‘a thermal or energy reflective lining can be added to make them even more efficient,’ Marie Goodwin, head designer at Prestigious Textiles explains. You can also purchase roman blinds with a built in thermal layer. ‘Thermal roman blinds are made from luxurious soft cloth fabrics, which bring warmth and texture to the aesthetic and make the window a focal point in the room. While the sewn-in thermal lining helps to retain heat and keep the home warm,’ Kate Duckworth, Trends and Interior Expert, at Swift Direct Blinds admits.

And don’t forget to layer curtains on top to make your home even cosier and warm.

7. Ensure your curtains touch the floor

Neutral curtains at a country cottage window with beamed ceilins

(Image credit: Tori Murphy)

This may seem like common sense advice but many of us will have curtains that don’t reach the floor. While this may not be an issue in the warmer months of the year, in the winter you will surely feel the cold more if your curtains don’t touch the ground.

‘Full length, floor to ceiling curtains are the best way to keep the heat in,’ Marie reveals. Aim to have ‘the pole approximately five inches above the window recess.’

‘Also, to help keep the cold out, ensure the curtain pole is approximately six inches wider each side, so the curtains hang and cover the gap to exclude drafts,’ she adds.

Neutral curtains in a modern living room with a contemporary wood burner

(Image credit: Hillarys)

FAQs

What else can I do to keep the cold out and the warm in with my window dressings?

Something as simple as closing our blinds or curtains when it is dark can help to make a big difference. ‘In winter months we have around  6-8 hours of daylight, on average, which means for the other 18 hours of the day we should consider keeping our curtains and blinds shut,’ Helen explains.

And ‘if you’re not going to be home during the day, consider keeping your curtains closed as this will help retain the heat throughout the day for when you come home.’ This should save you some money on your central heating bills. 

Are there any other window treatments that can help?

In addition to blinds and curtains, you may also want to consider using window film. Not only does it provide privacy but it 'can offer additional insulation and protection against heat loss,' according to Matt. 'It can be applied to existing windows to enhance their insulating properties,' and is an easy and inexpensive option for those looking to keep the cold out and warmth in.

Utiliise these expert-approved heating winter window dressing tricks and you should be all set to cosy up at home over the cold months. 

Ellis Cochrane
Contributor

Ellis Cochrane has been a Freelance Contributor for Ideal Home since 2023. She graduated with a Joint Honours degree in Politics and English from the University of Strathclyde and between her exams and graduation, started a lifestyle blog where she would share what she was buying, reading and doing. In doing so, she created opportunities to work with some of her dream brands and discovered the possibility of freelance writing, after always dreaming of writing for magazines when she was growing up.


Since then, she has contributed to a variety of online and print publications, covering everything from celebrity news and beauty reviews to her real passion; homes and interiors. She started writing about all things homes, gardens and interiors after joining Decor & Design Scotland as a Freelance Journalist and Social Media Account Manager in 2021. She then started freelancing at House Beautiful, Country Living and in Stylist’s Home team. Ellis is currently saving to buy her first home in Glasgow with far too many Pinterest boards dedicated to her many design ideas and inspirations.