Few Indians are fortunate to have a home under a tree canopy or in the hills, which are naturally cool during the summer months. In the urban areas, especially in high-rise apartments, keeping your home comfortably cool is a challenge. Of course, air conditioners are useful, but with frequent power cuts, you can’t always depend on them to keep your home at a bearable temperature.
These tips can help you to keep the Indian summers in mind when you design your interiors so that you use the right kind of material and accessories to beat the heat.
Blocking direct sunlight can keep a room from heating up during the day. If you have a room with a balcony or a window that brings in sunlight, use a combination of sheer and black-out curtains to regulate the amount of sunlight that enters the room.
Haven’t you noticed how the temperature drops a few degrees when you take cover under a tree or walk into a garden? While you can’t build a forest in your home, growing plants indoors is a good alternative. If you have a terrace or balcony, remember that the open design that is ideal for enjoying the winter sun can turn into a furnace in summer. Use a professional to build a green wall or grow plants on a trellis to create shade at least in a corner.
While metal, acrylic and glass have a lovely modern look about them, they are not as efficient as natural materials for keeping the house cool. Using terra cotta tiles or thatch on your roof keeps the area underneath relatively cool. It’s recommended for entire homes or even a small area on the terrace or balcony.
Natural stones such as marble and granite have a lovely cool feel when you walk barefoot on them. Keep them bare during summer to enjoy a cooler home. In winter, you can always cover the floor with rugs if you want a warmer feel.
Synthetic fabrics are easy to maintain and come in a variety of colours and patterns, but they have the disadvantage of not breathing as well as cotton and silk do, making them unsuitable for the summer.
If you live in a penthouse or have a terrace garden in your house, it gets heated up during the day and takes a while to cool down at night, until which time, if you are in the room below the area, you feel like you are being baked. Get a canopy for your terrace and keep it covered during the day to protect the terrace floor from direct sunlight.
Keeping open the doors and windows of your home to let the breeze flow through is the most eco-friendly way of keeping your home cool. However, with the mosquito and housefly menace, most people prefer to keep their doors and windows closed except for a few hours in the morning. Fixing screen doors and windows is an excellent solution to invite the breeze in and to keep the mosquitoes out.
Last but not least, use fans, air coolers and air conditioners to cool your rooms. For ideas on making your home feel warmer, view this ideabook.