Tips for a cosy and secure autumn – and saving energy too

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Ready to cosy up for the autumn?

Never mind “Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”; it’s blowing a gale and tipping down outside as we send this. The covers are on the garden furniture and our thoughts turn indoors. No more lingering al fresco lunches at the weekend – it’s tea and crumpets with a good black and white movie on the TV for the next few months.

For most people, the autumn means hunkering down and cosying up together in a room with a snug atmosphere. It’s the season where comfort, warmth and security are the priorities.

It’s also the season when a little hint of laziness is perfectly acceptable – why should you raise a finger if you don’t feel like it?

So, how to achieve this perfect idyll of hygge – or coorie, as it’s known in Scotland? Well, the right sofa – like sinking into a vast marshmallow, covered with soft velvety or faux-furry cushions – is a start. There is that tea and those fluffy crumpets (with some really good butter). A fireplace or stove… and the right blinds at your windows.

And if, in your blissed out state, it’s too much effort to get up to lower the blinds, well, Appeal has the solution for you…

ULTRA Plus Smart blinds for comfort, energy saving and security

ULTRA Plus Smart blinds effortlessly provide comfort, help keep your home warm while saving energy, and contribute to the security of your home.

Comfort & Ambience

Appeal’s award-winning collection of ULTRA powered blinds (no trailing cords or unsightly wires) are available in whatever style suits your room – be it pleated, roller, Roman, Venetians, or specialist materials such as Honeycomb Energy Saver blinds – and in over 400 diverse colours and textures.

And Appeal’s blinds are entirely tailor-made – measured and cut specifically to fit your windows, no matter the shape, size or configuration. The result blends seamlessly with your decor to create the perfect tone and mood for you to feel cosy.

While ULTRA gives you one-touch control over your environment (via a wall-mounted switch or handheld remote), opting for ULTRA Plus – or ULTRA Plus with voice activation – gives you even more ability to set the scene in your home. ULTRA Plus is an integrated system that uses a sleek, low-profile control hub connected to your wi-fi router and controlled by an app (iOS or Android) on your smartphone or tablet.

Whether you’re upstairs in bed, out at the shops, or across the world on holiday, the app allows you to lower or raise indivi

dual blinds. It can also make changes according to a timer; or activate pre-programmed scenarios (for example, “Stormy Night” which brings all blinds down, or “Watching Rugby” which raises the bedroom blinds to help wake you up for a ridiculously early kick off but lowers the one where the rising sun glares on the TV).

ULTRA Plus with Voice Activation gives you yet another way to control your window shading – via Amazon Alexa or Google Home virtual assistants. You can also add to the system Philips Hue light bulbs and devices on smart plugs, so you can set the perfect cosy atmosphere ready for your arrival back home (or, if you forget, with a voice command as soon as you walk in).

Energy Saving

As winter approaches, a concern for all homeowners is insulation. Whether it’s for environmental reasons, or simply for the benefit of our own bank balances, it pays to reduce bills for energy usage. Experts suggest that 20 per cent of heat lost out of badly insulated houses is not through the roof or drafty doors, but windows.

All Appeal blinds help to reduce that heat loss (and therefore the need to crank up the thermostat). But for rooms particularly susceptible to the cold, we have materials that provide an extra thermal barrier; are available with ULTRA and ULTRA Plus technology; and don’t compromise on aesthetics, despite being so practical.

Alu-Pleat is a translucent fabric which helps maintain a constant heat in a room. Its aluminium backing reflects the sun’s heat in the summer but also serves as insulation against the cold in winter. It is particularly effective for floor-to-ceiling windows, and in rooms where bi-fold doors or French windows make up a whole wall. Solar R is the roller blind equivalent, with the same aluminium backing.

Even more effective against the cold are Honeycomb Energy Saver blinds. Double-layered hexagonal pockets trap air to form an 80% thermal barrier and help you save up to 25% on annual fuel bills. The cleverly designed material even folds away into the headrail when not in use.

Security Tips

October is National Home Security Month in the UK, and the website is packed with tips and advice on how to thwart potential burglars. Smart alarm systems, locks and physical barriers to entry are of course weapons in your defence system. But one of the big themes is to put off intruders before they even consider your property a target.

In that psychological battle, technology can be a help and a hindrance. Posting pictures from your holiday on social media can let people tracking your movements know you’re away (so post on delay, when you return). But your phone or tablet can help you too.

The usual advice on giving the impression you’re at home is to put lights on a timer. But that is rather outdated… reformed housebreakers have repeatedly stated that they can see right through that ploy – people at home don’t turn on the same lights at exactly the same time each day for a week.
With ULTRA Plus, for a start, you can change the appearance of your blinds – which is more unusual than lights going on and off – in conjunction with Philips Hue lights and TVs or radios powered via a smart plug.  you can programme blinds to lower at nightfall each day (tracking the changing time of sunset). Alternatively, you can have scenarios that react to weather sensors fitted on your windows. And, most unsettling of all to anyone scoping out your house, you can simply tap the app and make a random change whenever you like from thousands of miles away.