Get set for a long hot summer with our expert tips
Get set for a long hot summer with easy seasonal swaps and a change of lifestyle, writes Chelsea Clark
Summer is coming. While it doesn’t evoke the same sense of foreboding as the Game Of Thrones motto ‘winter is coming’, it’s worth putting in some time now to prepare your place for the warmer months.
Simple things such as swapping your bed linen or choosing more breathable fabrics for window coverings can make a lot of difference when you want to keep your cool.
Larger changes such as improving air circulation or giving your deck a makeover will allow you to enjoy the sunshine while still staying cool.
We spoke with the experts about the best ways to tackle the onset of summer.
Boost air circulation
Sometimes switching the aircon on for a few hours is unavoidable but there are changes you can make first to avoid having to run it constantly — and heating up your energy bill.
Turn your ceiling fan to counterclockwise (the blades are tilted upward as they spin) to push air downward creating a stronger draft.
If you’re at home during the day, keep doors and windows shut when it’s really hot and open up the house when the outside temperature is lower than the inside to let the cooler air in.
You could also plant trees and bushes to help channel breezes towards the house.
If you’re building or making big changes to a house, use brick walls and a concrete floor slab to even out the temperature of northfacing rooms in summer and store the sun’s energy in winter. Make sure windows and doors are aligned to let cooling breezes flow through the house in summer.
If you’re getting new windows, go for ones which open wide and avoid aluminium frames where possible, because heat passes through them easily.
Make the deck your favourite room in the house
Getting outside can actually help you cool down, provided it’s not the middle of the day.
On summer evenings, when the temperature has dropped, ditch the stove and head outside for a BBQ dinner instead.
Using your oven or stovetop in the summer will make your house hotter so avoid it if you can, especially if your home is already feeling on the warmer side.
If you have an outdoor area that you rarely use, create an extension of your indoor living space to make it more comfortable.
It could be as simple as adding a couple of chairs and cushions or you may consider new decking or paving.
Create a moonlit mood with outdoor lights, and punctuate the space with flowering planters, candles and cushions.
Lighten your textiles
Get rid of any heavy textiles in your home for an instantly cooler feel.
“Natural fibres like silk, cotton and linen are my picks to help create a cooler interior space,” says Justine Stedman, director and principal stylist at Vault Interiors.
“Especially consider swapping out fabrics on large surfaces such as your couch cover, window dressings, rugs and bed linen.”
For rugs, change to sisal, jute or thinner flatweave mats or take the rug off the floor altogether to expose the floorboards.
“Changing the curtains is also an easy update. Instead of thick wintry block out curtains, swap for soft looking luxurious sheers for a calm space,” Justine says.
“Cotton and linen sheers are great and have good airflow through the fabric. Select warmer colours like stone, beige or cream for a summery look.”
Free yourself from clutter
Ridding your home of clutter can improve airflow instantly making your space feel fresher and, in turn, cooler.
“Your home will feel cooler by taking away the ‘bulk’ of a heavy, cold winter,” says Nina Rosace from HomeSorted.
Nina suggests going one room at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
“Use an empty suitcase or buy some vacuum sealed space bags to store those bulky items and winter clothes,” she says.
“The kitchen can also be decluttered so remove and store any large pots used for winter warming soups and place them out of reach as your summer cooking usually requires salad bowls and grill pans.
“Declutter your medicine cabinet of any ‘cold & flu’ remedies too and replace with basic items, such as a practical first aid kit.”
Keep your cool in bed
A cool bedroom, around 18C to 20C, promotes a more restful sleep.
A well-ventilated room is essential so try opening windows to take advantage of lower night temperatures and fresh air.
If you want to keep cool in bed during a hot summer night, the material matters.
“The best bed sheets for both kids and adults are made from natural fibres because they allow breathability, let air circulate and draw moisture away from the skin,” says Stacey Kastrounis from online homewares retailer TheHome.com.au.
If you prefer a doona in summer, Stacey says look for quilts in natural fibres such as cotton, tencel or bamboo. They will absorb any moisture and keep you cool as you sleep.
“If you’re still struggling to stay cool, considering investing in a cooling mattress topper or a gel pillow,” she says. “The cooling gel system offers a refreshing night’s sleep and is ideal for warm sleepers.”
Add an alfresco
If you have an existing house consider adding an alfresco dining and entertaining space so you can get outside in the evenings as the temperature drops.
“Think about positioning your alfresco space adjacent to an internal living or dining space to allow for more flexibility,” says architect Ann Botrell from Home Impact.
“You might also want to think about having an alfresco space on an unused driveway to the side of your home.”
If a renovation or addition is out of the question Ann suggests defining an area in your garden with some paving.
“Even adding an umbrella will make the space more friendly,” she says.
The woven Noosa chairs, from Globe West can be used indoors or out,
Use natural materials from Fenton and Fenton in your alfresco area to channel a tropical resort.
The Somers bedcover from Linen House is a cool alternative to a doona.
New outdoor furniture from Vavoom Emporium (above) makes alfresco spaces inviting while a jute rug like this one (below) from Sage & Clare is a great option for summer.