Keeping Cool ? It’s been a miserable hot summer everywhere I don’t need to tell you, I know. I find myself searching for creative ways to keep my Nook Cottage cool without compromising on style or running the AC at full blast. I actually hate being cooped up in the house with all the windows closed but when the heat and humidity are above 90 I turn my house into a veritable tomb to keep cool both physically as well as mentally and a lot of it is mental. I remember being in school on a hot day (no ac in the schools at that point) and the teacher would turn off the lights in order to make us feel cooler – though the lights themselves actually didn’t likely add real heat to the room. But a darkened room does feel cooler no question.
Overtime I’ve come up with some stylish ideas for keeping cool at home that I wanted to share.
Embrace Light and Airy Fabrics
My summer bedding is a white linen duvet cover (empty, there’s no duvet inside) with shams over a light beige matelasse coverlet under the white coverlet. It just looks and feels cool. And as you can see, my winter bedding is much, much heavier both physically and visually (please forgive the unstyled photo with the messily made bed!). The dark green of the bedding is as visually warm as the velvet is physically.
It’s widely believed that certain houseplants will naturally help cool a space. Not only do indoor plants add a touch of nature to my space, but they also help cool the air. Place lush green plants strategically around the house, not only for their stylish appeal but also to purify the air and maintain a more comfortable indoor temperature.
Stylish Ceiling Fans for a Breezy Look
I know – ceiling fans are anathema to many designers. But they really do make a huge difference in the comfort level of the home and they do come in more stylish – or at least less ugly – styles. This is my rendering of my Modern Coastal project bedroom. There is a subtle ceiling fan on the ceiling (which of course I cropped out in the final image 0f the room). I have ceiling fans in my living room and main room of my small house plus a rotating stick fan. It’s 90+ degrees out today and I keep my ac at 77 with the fans on and it feels very cool and comfortable.
Decorative Window Films
To block out the sun’s harsh rays while still maintaining a stylish look you might consider a decorative window film. These films come in various patterns and designs and have cooling and heat blocking capabilities.
Smart Cooling Solutions
Incorporating smart home technology can be a game-changer. A smart thermostat like this one from Nest allows y0u to control your air conditioning remotely. You can adjust the temperature with just a tap on your smartphone, ensuring my home is cool and welcoming before you even step inside – without having to keep it very cold all day long.
Stylish Outdoor Oasis
This is not my outdoor space (though I wish it were!) but I do have a tiny back deck and the best part of it is the umbrella that I can move around to keep the sun at bay. I went years without it and once I finally bought one I can’t believe I hadn’t before. Even on the hottest, sunniest days – it does feel nice to get out of the ac for a while and having overhead coverage is so important. Comfortable seating and flooring in light colors will also help keep the space cool. Remember that dark colors absorb the heat from the sun so avoid then when possible. An outdoor carpet laid over darker flooring or an asphalt surface will make a huge difference.
Using Window Treatments to keep cool
Historically, curtains and drapery were used to keep out drafts but now that we have air conditioning, they can be used to keep out the heat as well. In my dining area (above) I have a large bay window that faces nearly due west. In the summer from 2:00 to sunset, the sun streams in the windows and heats up most of the house. I have sheers layered under the drapery panels. On most days I just pull the sheers and it reduces the solar heating quite a lot without making the room darker. In these super heated days of summer I also pull the drapery panels during those hours (leaving a sliver of light for my Sansa to bask in). Because the drapery color is quite bright pink the room takes on a darkened but nice rosy glow. I also draw the blinds in my bedroom 3/4 shut. Even though being cooped up in the dark isn’t fantastic – it does feel cooler and it definitely IS cooler. If I pull back the curtains I can feel the heat streaming in.
I’ve installed solar shades in many client homes which are a nice, very clean look that let’s light in. In my Modern Coastal project we did white solar shades on the slider and windows as this room faces due east with little tree coverage as it sits up on a high elevation. My clients needed the coverage but really didn’t want window treatments at all. This was the best we could do to be both functional and as unobtrusive as possible.
And here’s another project – my Truro Beach House project where solar shades play an important role in keeping the house cool.
By embracing light fabrics, indoor greenery, smart cooling solutions, and a touch of creativity, I’ve transformed my own home and client’s homes into comfortable and stylish spaces.