What temperature should a room be?

Knowing the best temperature for the rooms in your home could make your house more energy efficient and save you money

Knowing what temperature a room should be can help you manage your heating, and try some cost-saving measures without sacrificing your comfort or health.

With energy costs still high, heating your home will be one of the biggest outgoings for many. Over half the cost of the average UK household energy bills comes from heating your home according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Back in 1966, UK homes in the winter had an average temperature of about 12°C. Fast-forward to the present day, and the average temperature in our homes is 18°C.

You can save money on your heating bills by making your home more energy efficient. This can include small and easy things like plugging any gaps in windows or around skirting boards with draught excluder tape, making sure your boiler is serviced and working efficiently, as well as turning off radiators in rooms you don’t use. 

But what is the right temperature for the rooms in your home?

What temperature should a room be?

Recommended household room temperatures

As a baseline, the World Health Organisation advise households to warm the house to 18°C as a basic level for someone who is wearing warm clothes during winter. 

OVO Energy along with housing expert Richard Moore have also explained what certain temperatures can mean.

  • 9°C is too cold and can pose a risk for hypothermia 
  • 12°C is still cold and can pose a threat for heart conditions 
  • 12-16°C is in the cold end and can be unsafe for respiratory conditions 
  • 16-18°C can cause discomfort and there are small health risks 
  • 24°C and over is too warm and could be unsafe for heart conditions. There is also a risk of strokes and heart attacks.

It’s particularly important to maintain the correct temperature over the winter months. 

It’s a simple adjustment to only heat the rooms you are using, but each room should maintain a different temperature according to OVO Energy. 

Different rooms have different recommended temperatures. Here’s how warm each room in your home should be according to OVO Energy and British Gas.

Room Minimum temperature Maximum temperature
Living room 19°C 22°C
Bathroom 22°C 22°C
Bedroom 16°C 18°C
Kitchen, hallway and storage rooms 18°C 20°C
Baby's room 15°C 20°C

A couple of rooms also have specific requirements for different people. 

Age UK recommends 21°C for elderly people, The Lullaby Trust advises 16 to 20°C for newborn babies and heating manufacturer Viessmann says pets are best kept at temperatures of around 20 to 22°C.

What temperature should a room be at night?

The Sleep Charity says the ideal nighttime bedroom temperature for most adults in the UK is around 16C-18°C. It advises that temperatures over 24°C are likely to cause restlessness, while a cold room of 12°C or less will make it difficult to drop off.

Age and health conditions also need to be taken into account.

According to the Lullaby Trust, the recommended room temperature for babies is 16-20°C.

The charity, which works to prevent infant deaths and promote baby health, says it can be tempting to wrap your baby up to keep them warm. But overheating a baby increases the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (also known as cot death). Research shows babies are better to be cooler than too hot.

Save up to £115 on your heating

Jess Steele, heating technology specialist from BestHeating says households make a simple error when heating the home – they heat the whole house. 

“You should only really heat the room you are in. When you really think about it, you are just adding to your energy bills by heating the whole house when you are mainly using one or two rooms”.

“Doing this will make your boiler work more efficiently, allowing the room you are in to warm up faster, and saving as much as £115 if your heating is used daily.”

But she warns households not to turn off any radiators that are in the same room as the thermostat, as this will affect the temperature of the whole home. 

According to OVO Energy, 70% of homes in the UK have their central heating on twice a day and occasionally more when it’s colder during winter. 

Don’t let the cost of energy put you off too much on those colder days when you do need the heating, as there are ways to save. 

Having your boiler serviced regularly, ideally once a year, can make a big difference to the energy efficiency of your home.  According to OVO Energy, 68% of households put this off, and 46% by as much as two years. An inefficient boiler could cost you money on energy bills along with the risk of unexpected bills if it breaks down. And a boiler that’s over 10 years old will use 15% of energy simply to run itself.

It’s also vital to check that your home has a good level of insulation, so you’re not losing much heat when the central heating is on. 

You can see if you are eligible for government grants like the Boiler Upgrade Scheme if you need better insulation in the home or try easy hacks like putting in curtains and putting draught-proof strips on the doors.

How to control the temperature in different rooms

Energy Saving Trust say your central heating system should have at least a time control, one room thermostat and radiator valves if you have radiators. 

If you set the time control, you can pick and choose what time your heating and hot water come on, so you can do this based on your lifestyle and when you’re most at home. It also recommends that, in order to save energy when setting your programmer, plan ahead and include warm-up/cool-down times. 

With room thermostats, you can save more energy because when the room reaches a satisfactory temperature, it will prevent your home from getting warmer. The Energy Saving Trust advises that thermostats should be set to the minimum comfortable temperature. In most cases this is 18°C. If you have a programmable thermostat, then you can set the time at which the heating turns on. Check the age of your thermostat too.

Older thermostats are less accurate and less efficient than new or SMART ones, so consider upgrading it to prevent wasted energy”, says Jess Steele.

With radiator valves, you can change the temperature in each room. They are usually placed near the bottom of the radiator on the side, and you can twist them clockwise or anticlockwise. The dial should be marked from zero to six, zero being off and six being fully open. Setting it at the lowest comfortable temperature will save you energy and money. 

You might have smart heating controls depending on your heating provider. You can use this in the same way as a time controller but more easily as you can control the heating through the internet and on your phone. So if you’re out and about and think you will be home late, you can just adjust the heating time to come on later. 

Electric/portable heating can also be controlled when it comes to temperature. For example, with an electric storage heater you can control the temperature with the input and output dials, so the higher the input, the warmer it will be and more electricity is used.  

Other portable heaters such as fan heaters, convector heaters and oil-filled heaters are easily changeable in temperature. You can switch them on when you need them, as they only provide short-term heat in a specific room, and then it can be switched off when you desire.