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Heating Efficiency

It’s getting cold out there, so we’ve put together our hottest tips for heating your home efficiently.



Heat pumps are one of the most cost-efficient ways to get the job done, but they do need to be sized, installed and used properly. Getting your heatpump serviced regularly will ensure it’s running efficiently.

The World Health Organisation recommends heating to a minimum of 18 degrees to prevent occupiers from getting sick. It might be tempting to ramp up heating some days, but setting the temp to 21 degrees is a good balance between keeping warm and not wasting energy.

A house with good ceiling and underfloor insulation can reduce heat loss by up to 50 percent, so get a professional to check out your insulation.

Speaking of insulating, now is a good time to either install or upgrade your curtains to ensure they’re good quality and lined – good curtains can be as effective as double glazing when it comes to keeping your home warm. Make sure you open them during the day and close them half an hour before the sun disappears so you can trap all that free heat.

Check the outside of your windows as well, ensuring seals are in good condition and trim back foliage from your windows so you can let the light in.

It may seem counterproductive, but opening windows briefly every day actually makes the house warmer by drying it out.

Most households spend more money on heating water than space heating. So why not check out some of the energy efficient water heating and cooling solutions now available.



Beat the Chill

Winter is knocking at the door, and there’s nothing more we’d love than to retreat to the warmth of our caves and hibernate until the sun shines again – we can only dream! Winter is the perfect time to update our interiors so that when we do arrive home from that long, cold, dreary day, a serene and comfortable oasis awaits. We’ve put together our top tips for transforming your home in preparation for the cold months ahead.




1. Toasty tones
Embrace those hot hues: we’re talking dusky pink, amber orange, yellow-y gold and copper brown. Not only do these shades lend themselves to winter decorating better than cooler tones, they’re all relatively easy to pair with the neutral, soft colours – creams, beiges, warm browns and greys – that you probably already have in your home. If you’re feeling a serious change, consider repainting or re-wallpapering your walls in a warm, subdued colour. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, adorning your walls with bright and colourful portraits or wall hangings is a quick fix that instantly adds an element of cosiness.

2. Brilliant boudoir
As the weather cools, your bed linens should change accordingly – as you swap out your light summer duvet in favour of a heavy duck-down inner, it’s the perfect opportunity to give your boudoir décor a ruffle up. Winter’s all about warmth, so investing in inviting, cosy fabrics like velvet, wool and cashmere are well worth their price tag. Have a go experimenting with new furniture – upholstered headboards make that big bedroom statement, as do hanging wicker chairs loaded with pillows and throws – your own cosy cocoon!

3. Flora fantasy
Not just restricted to the summer months, houseplants and indoor greenery can provide that much-needed burst of colour when it’s damp and dull outside. Add a touch of greenery to your rooms to purify the air and emit that tropical jungle feeling – go for flora that doesn’t require much light; dracaenas, philodendrons and money plants are just a few of many. For an aromatic atmosphere seek plants like jasmine, eucalyptus or lavender, otherwise a fresh fern or hanging pot plant might just be the antidote to the winter blues you’re looking for.

4. Graceful glow
Dreary days and dark nights make winter the perfect time to create atmosphere with different kinds of lighting. Entertaining in the winter can be tricky business, particularly if you don’t have a log burner, but you can’t go wrong with the warm glow of a dozen candles, and dotting decorative lamps with warm yellow bulbs around your living space is a sure-fire way to accelerate the ambience. If you do have a fire, spice things up by decorating the area with cane baskets and a pair of circular ottomans.


The Autumnal Update

Whether we want to accept it or not, Games of Thrones is over and winter is coming! As dark mornings and cold nights greet us, it’s time to adjust our wardrobes accordingly. Converting from autumn to winter wear, especially in the Garden City, can be tricky. One day you may need to embrace a coat and the next day, a knit jumper may suffice.



So, if you haven’t already got your winter wardrobe organised, Kayte John is here to fill you in on how to make the seasonal switch.

1. Kondo convert – you knew this was coming, right? There is no better way to make space and to evaluate everything you own than going through your wardrobe methodically, piece-by-piece. If you’ve been watching the Marie Kondo series Tidying Up on Netflix, you’ll be familiar with this method of decluttering. Go through your clothes and sell or donate anything that hasn’t been worn in the last 12 months, or no longer fits you. Kondo believes the best way to choose whether or not to keep something is to hold each item in your hands and decide whether it sparks joy. Choosing items this way means that after you finish decluttering, you will only be surrounded with items that make you happy!

2. Take a browse – before you buy, go online and look at your favourite stores and view their latest winter collection. See what styles and trends take your fancy and begin scouting the best and most cost-effective version of each item online. You can even ‘get thrifty’ as Christchurch has an abundance of opportunity stores like The Recycle Boutique, Mīhana – recently opened by The Christchurch City Mission and located in the Boxed Quarter, as well as consignment stores like Style Me which can be found at 304 Selwyn Street.

3. Four seasons in one day – Christchurch is notorious for being warm one day and then bitterly cold the next – so we should take advantage of this! Instead of packing away your spring and summer clothes, look at what could be crossed over and efficiently used for all seasons. For example, a midi dress could be paired with tights and a jacket. Using this method will ensure you get full potential and more wear out of your wardrobe.

4. Invest in key pieces – we all know that winter clothes can be more expensive. So, to ease your wardrobe and your wallet into winter, invest in a few key pieces that you can style with items you already have. Investing in good quality items like boots, coats and bags is always a good idea as they will see you through this winter and the next! However, don’t forget to replace your basics for convenience and practicality. Pick a neutral colour palette for your basics such as blacks, greys and nudes, which allows for optimal mixing and matching. However, if you want to add a splash of colour then think khaki, magenta, maroon and red, or trending patterns such as leopard print.


Getting winter ready

We’re all familiar with the importance of getting your vehicle ready for winter – checking your battery, antifreeze levels, wiper blades and tread – but did you know there are some pretty integral steps that can be done to winterise your humble abode too?



Better yet, get in the pros – they know exactly what to do in their specialist fields to get your home prepped for the negative numbers set to hit the city in a couple of months.

Now’s the time to get your heat pumps serviced. The filters fill up with dust which prevents the unit from working at its most efficient. A professional clean out will ensure you get the maximum heat for your dollar.

Inspect your windows and doors for leaks. A professional can check the sealings around windows, door frames and other openings and replace where necessary.

Clear out your gutters of any debris such as leaves, dirt and sticks. Clogged guttering prevents rain from draining which can force diversion and create leaks.

While you’re up there, check the roof, eaves and shingles. If your roof needs attention, give your roofer a call to assist with any repairs and maintenance.

Disconnect any garden hoses over winter, drain the remaining water and store in the garage or garden shed for the winter months, preventing damage from water that freezes then expands.


Home Hygge

Do you remember that scene from The Sound of Music when Maria calms the von Trapp children on a stormy night by singing those immortal words ‘Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens’…?



The sentiments behind ‘My Favourite Things’ may well be universal, but the Danish, who consistently top the charts as the happiest people on the planet, have just one word for it – Hygge. Pronounced hoo-guh, this wonderful word was shortlisted in 2016 by the Oxford Dictionary as word of the year.

Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, describes hygge as being consciously cosy; being with people you love, indulging in good foods, feeling gratitude and upholding equality. With winter on the seasonal horizon, what better time to incorporate the warm fuzzies of this concept to your humble abode?

Here, then, are a few tips from those happy Scandinavians on how to bring hygge to your home.

Burn those candles: the Danes burn more candles than any other country in Europe. From entertaining friends to a romantic dinner for two, a candlelit room spells ambience with a capital ‘A’. Fill your bathroom with fragrant candles and bathe by candlelight for blissful relaxation.

Ramp up the lamps: create a niche space with lamps and lights that are artworks in themselves. Pooled light draws the eye; it’s a gentle beacon that invites rest and time out.

Bring the outdoors indoors: arrange berried sprigs from your garden in an attractive vessel, or place shells, driftwood and other beachcombing finds as focal pieces. Nature’s treasures can be the most beautiful adornment in your home.

Books and nooks: we all need our own hyggekrog (nook) to retreat to, whether it be a den, that little space under the stairs, an attic room, or the studio at the end of the garden. Surround your space with books and belongings that you love. Switch off your phone and succumb to the hush of your hyggekrog.

Colour it cosy: winter’s the season for spicy coloured kilims and rugs. They look exotic and invoke feelings of warmth and pleasure. Add in seating strewn with textured throws and sumptuous plump cushions, and bring on the chilli chocolate!

Fire it up: basking before a crackling fire in a handsome hearth is ultimate hygge heaven! Raise your glass for a toast – “To Hygge!”


Combat the Winter blues

Combat the Winter blues

When the cold weather hits and there’s less daylight in the day, a figurative dark cloud hovers over many of us, making it hard to coax ourselves out of a cosy, warm nest of blankets.

Combat the Winter blues

It happens to the best of us. Here are some things to help get you through the last of the winter days. Hopefully these tasks can bring some light to your life.


1.Elevate your mood with aromatherapy – diffuse uplifting essential oils, such as lavender, wild orange or peppermint in your home.

2.Create a calming, happy atmosphere in your home by adding splashes of warm, happy colours through accessories such as throw pillows or artwork. Place candles in your lounge or bedroom to add
to the atmosphere. Oh, and don’t forget to keep soft and cosy blankets handy!
Bring some sunshine into your home by investing in a light therapy box, which helps release serotonin in your brain.

3.Get your body moving at least once a day, as exercise can also help combat depression. If you can’t make it to the gym, get your body moving at home with jumping jacks, squats or a quick jog
in place.

4.Go outside for as long as you can each day. Vitamin D can work wonders, so bundle up and go for a walk around your neighbourhood or read your favorite book in nature.

5.Brighten your days by adding lush plants or flowers to your home décor.