Jane Lockhart, BAAID 2017-07-01 00:55:54
Outside, everything seems to slow down in the midday heat. Even the birds are just sitting on tree branches in the shade. Inside, my dog, Baxter, is stretched out on the cool tile floor and I’m tempted to do the same. On hot summer days, your home should be a refuge—a cool place to relax and feel restored. However, only the opening of the fridge door is going to rouse that dog. People react to extreme temperatures both mentally and physically, and finding the right balance in both mind and body is put to the test in the summer. Luckily, I have a few go-to design ideas that can help restore that balance when the thermostat rises. Fabric choices Before air conditioning, windows in homes were less efficient and heavy drapes in dark colours kept out the drafts of winter and the heat of summer. Today, our windows can do that work for us, but we still need sun protection. Why not switch to paler colour drapes and add a breezy, textured fabric to really lighten your space? Consider coating windows with an invisible tint to reduce ultraviolet light. Blackout blinds are also an option to help deflect the sun’s rays. Installing a smart thermostat such as the “Nest” allows you to control the temperature of your home remotely. Moderate the daytime temperature if everyone is out, and set it to cool off to a comfortable temperature when you’re on your way home. Of course, fans help circulate air and cool the surface of your skin. Now look down. Are you walking on heavy carpets? For summertime, think about leaving floors bare to help translate a cooler look, or add mats rather than thick carpet. Baxter would prefer tile throughout my home, but I find my wood floors are comfortable year-round. Colour and sound Many Canadians associate peace and calm with water, woods and natural environments. Selecting colours such as cool beiges, silvery greys, watery blues and soft taupes can cool a room down. In fact, a blue-tinted wall can make a space feel a touch larger, creating a feeling of openness. Add more greenery, everywhere. Caring for something “alive” helps our mental and physical state any time of year. I have a hibiscus that blooms beautifully throughout the year. It has a tremendous calming effect and is beautiful—so when it’s too hot outside, I can enjoy my indoor plants. Another way to cool your home visually is to add art with cooler scenes or colours. It’s perhaps this power of suggestion that will make the difference. Sounds that are calming and help soothe your mind can reduce stress and anxiety, which may “heat you up” unnecessarily. Try ocean waves, birds chirping or classical music. In the bedroom At the end of the day, you’ll want to crawl into a cool bed and sleep soundly regardless of the temperature outside. Try changing pillow cases and bedding to paler colours in lightweight fabrics, such as cotton and linen, that feel softer and cooler. Choose whites, pastels and neutrals, rather than heavy dark colours, to visually lighten the room. Try as I might to keep Baxter off the bed at night, he tends to sneak in and take it over. I can’t bring myself to kick him off, so I’m going to have to try and keep him cool, too! Janelockhart.com
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