A cool home for summer

INTERIORS

A cool home for summer

COOL TIPS Summer is the best time to ring in changes, from landscaping to introducing urlis to painting the home in bright shades. (Photos by the author)

Summer seems to be upon us already. And with the way we have been cutting down trees to make way for development, we don’t seem to have helped matters any. We experience a dry heat in Bangalore, which makes our indoors as scorching as the outdoors. For homes that are constantly exposed to the sun, the heat inside tends to build up, making staying indoors quite a suffocating experience. The fan just doesn’t seem to move fast enough to make a difference.

Of course, not everybody has the option of turning on the air-conditioner in all rooms all day long. Here are some ways in which you can bring down the temperature in your homes’ a few notches this summer season.

Time for renovation

Keeping heat at arms’ distance: Summer is generally the time to begin renovation work on the house.

As summer approaches, take a look at all those leaky spots on the walls and ceilings that trouble you in the monsoon. What leaks during the rain brings in heat during summer.

Make sure all these cracks are sealed and filled up. Your windows and doors should be looked at next as these are the main portals that bring in the summer heat.

Change your curtains to sheer, light coloured ones that block out the heat of the sun, but allow the light to come through. A great way to prevent your home from heating up is to close all the windows during the day time. Sounds claustrophobic, but it does keep hot air out. Once the sun sets in the evening, open all the windows and you will find your home cooler.

If your front door is exposed to the sun, closing it will of course keep the sun out, but what you can do additionally is to try and shade your door a bit. Invest in palms that can be placed in planters on either side of your door. If you have the space, introduce small water bodies around the front door, even if it is urulis with flowers floating in them. The very presence of water brings down temperatures by small notches.

If you are planning on painting the house, make sure your interiors are bright summer shades. Lighter shades don’t hang on to the heat they are exposed to and visually also make you feel much cooler. The same goes with your exteriors.

Landscaping on terrace

Those who live under an open terrace will know of spending summers throwing water on it to cool your home below. If you plan a little ahead, you could think of introducing some sort of landscaping on your roof. It doesn’t cost you too much.

You will have to start with a water-proofing treatment and then lay down a small lawn or a terrace garden.

Having a vegetable one makes it all the more useful. The soil retains the moisture and this is turn cools down the terrace and your home below.

Make the best use of appliances: The electrical appliances you use in your home generate heat in order to work and this contributes to the temperature levels in your home. Don’t run your washing machines during the hottest part of the day – between 11 am and 4 pm. Also try and stay out of your fridge as much as possible.

Opening it repeatedly allows cool air to escape and your fridge will have to work doubly hard to make up – the result, more heat.

Use your fans liberally as this helps air circulation, consumes lesser electricity and cools your home. Before you begin to use your air conditioner, get it serviced and cleaned. Dirty ACs will use more electricity to work properly and can increase heat generation.

Summer décor

Get back to basics. Get rid of everything in all rooms that you have no need of in terms of furniture and accessories. Pack away rugs and carpets and use lightweight, brightly coloured cushions on your sofas and even on your floors.

Have a set of colour schemes to work with… go with aquamarine blue for the first month… it will even match your aquarium and on the next, go with sunflower yellows. Go with themes of water and flowers, two surefire ways of cooling the home visually. If you have the space, close to your front door, or even in your living room, introduce a small water body, preferably one that pumps water. The sound of water is soothing and brings a cooling effect to your home.

Staying cool this summer is not about investing huge amounts to redo your home. All you need are some smart moves and you will be set to beat the heat.

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