Here's how your window treatment can help you save money on your energy bills

Switching up your curtains and blinds this winter can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. These experts explain how

A cosy living room with a corner sofa dressed with throws and cushions and a window with grey blinds
(Image credit: Hillarys)

As we enter the cooler months, finding new ways to save energy and cut down on our heating bill is on everyone's radar; but did you know the type of window dressings you have in your home can make a difference to your heating costs? 

Even perfectly fitted, triple glazed windows can let in a draft when temperatures outside drop below freezing, but window dressings can add an extra layer of insulation to our homes. 

Your curtains or blinds may not be the first place you turn to when improving your insulation, but they can make a huge difference. 'We all insulate our walls and roof spaces but 20% of the total heat loss from our homes is through the windows,' explains Yvonne  Keal, senior product manager at Hillarys. 'Yet, most householders never take steps to provide effective insulation for these important features.'

It should come as no surprise that thin, sheer window coverings are going to do very little in terms of offering warmth while thick, lined curtains will help keep you toasty through the winter. If you're a fan of blinds, you'll can also invest in specially designed thermal blinds to keep the heat in too, so there's no need to compromise on your design preferences.

Switching up your blinds or curtains might seem like a big commitment just to save a few extra pennies, but by doing so, you'll be cutting costs on your gas bill year on year. To understand just how much of a difference your window dressings can make as well as the different types on offer, we've asked some experts in the field for a few words of advice.

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to helping readers make the best choices in their homes through writing practical tips and guides to help them save a little extra money. For this piece she spoke with experts in window dressings to understand how a few simple changes can go a long way. 


1. Invest in thermal lined curtains

A Scandinavian style living room with a wood burner and grey blinds

(Image credit: Hillarys)

In most cases, we keep the same curtains up in our homes all year round, but switching to a thermal lined pair in the winter is a five minute job that could help you save a surprising amount of money. 

'A thermal lining on curtains creates a cozy, insulating layer that can reduce heat loss by up to 39% above a standard polyester cotton lining when your curtains are closed,' explains Yvonne from Hillarys. 'Pair thermal linings with naturally thicker curtain fabrics, such as velvet, to improve the thermal qualities of your curtains even further.'

This ready-made thermal lining for curtains from Amazon is really simple to affix to your existing curtains.

To effectively combat a draught, it's a good idea to invest in made to measure curtains.  'To benefit the most from their heating abilities, they should hang the perfect length all the way to the ground to ensure no room for the warmth to escape,' explain Helen O’Connor, product manager at 247 Blinds and 247 Curtains.  

Beyond their practicality, a heavy pair of curtains can instantly make a space look and feel more homey. As the most traditional from of window dressing, a living room curtain idea can add visual warmth to a space, creating a snug and comfortable vibe. 

2. Upgrade to thermal blinds

A colourful study with blue walls and an orange geometric patterned roman blind

(Image credit: Hillarys)

Since blinds don't tend to be as heavy as curtains and use less material, a common misconception is that they don't offer as much warmth. However, thermal lined blinds are now manufactured by most brands, and they're just as good at fending off the cold as their window dressing competitors, the curtain.

'If your home tends to get quite cold during the fall and winter months, thermal lined roman blinds are the perfect window solution to keeping out the cold breeze,' says Helen. While vertical blinds don't lend themselves well to thermal materials, you can buy thermal roller blinds to keep in the warmth. 

The fabric used for thermal blinds doesn't have to be thick and bulky either. Developments in insulating materials mean that clever interlining or a thin reflective coating on the back of the fabric helps to create a thermal barrier. As Yvonne notes: 'Having this extra layer of wadding included will increase the insulation properties of your blind by up to 50% compared to a standard lining.'

By knowing how to reverse roll a roller blind you can also significantly reduce heat loss in your home. Fitting them into the window’s recess so that they're closer to the glass means there's less room for heat to escape around the blind's material. 

Finally, honeycomb blinds are an excellent idea if you live in a colder climate. This design, sometimes known as cellular or pleated blinds, traps warm air within crafted pockets of folded material, making them by far the best blinds for keeping in the heat. The only downside to this type of blind is that you'll probably have to compromise on  design since the folded effect makes it difficult to display patterns. 

3. Shut(ter) in the heat 

A deep red living room with blue carpet and a velvet blue sofa, with red shutters over the window

(Image credit: Hillarys)

Although a bigger commitment than switching up your blinds or curtains, installing shutters in your home can make a great design statement while also making excellent thermo-regulators. As anyone who's visited a warm Mediterranean country will know, this living room window treatment works well at keeping your home cool in the summer months, but they also work both ways.

'Fitting snugly into your window recess, they help reduce draughts that can slip through the gaps in your window frames,' says Yvonne. 'When closed, they can reduce heat loss by up to 62% through single glazing.'

For the draughtiest of old homes, consider teaming shutters with curtains for a double defence against the cold. 'Layering your window treatments not only gives flexible light control but maximises energy efficiency, especially if you add thermal linings to your curtains and blinds,' says Yvonne. What's more, the softer appearance of textured curtains also offers a cozy contrast to shutters' solid appearance.

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.