What temperature should a room be?

Knowing what temperature should a room be could make your home more energy efficient and save you money

Person setting thermostat on a radiator
(Image credit: Getty images)

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

With energy bills rising, heating your home will be one of the most expensive outgoings for many this winter as Energy Saving Trust has found over half of the average UK household bill is made up of heating the home. 

Back in 1966, winter homes around the UK had an average temperature of about 12°C. Fast-forward to 2012 (we haven’t won a World Cup since) and our homes are living at an average temperature of 18°C.

Home heating cost-cutting measures like finding the best time to put the heating on, putting cling film on the windows to keep the heat in, or figuring out if it will save money leaving your heating on all day are an increasingly important part of making ends meet for many. 

Here we get to the bottom of what temperature should a room be.

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 degrees celsius as a basic level for someone who is wearing warm clothes during winter. 

OVO Energy and 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 According to housing expert Richard Moore.

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.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
RoomMinimum temperatureMaximum temperature
Living Room19°C22°C
Bathroom 22°C22°C
Bedroom 16°C18°C
Kitchen, hallway and storage rooms18°C20°C
Baby’s room 15°C20°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° 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.com told our sister site Ideal Home that households make a simple error when heating the home, they heat the whole house. 

“You should only really heat the room you are in,” Jess tells Ideal Home

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. 

Jess adds: “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. 

For example, some energy suppliers like British Gas, OVO Energy and Octopus Energy are paying their customers to use less energy at peak times

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 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. Energy Saving Trust recommends to save energy when setting your programmer, plan ahead and include warm-up/ cool-down times. This tip has also been advised to Twitter users by Wrexham Council:

See more

Kent Fire and Rescue Service advise setting your heating controls based on when your home is the coldest:

See more

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

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 0 to 6, 0 being off and 6 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.

Related articles

Vaishali Varu
Staff Writer

Vaishali graduated in journalism from Leeds University. She has gained experience writing local stories around Leeds and Leicester, which includes writing for a university publication and Leicester Mercury. 

She has also done some marketing and copywriting for businesses.

When she is not writing about personal finance, Vaishali likes to travel and she's a foodie.