It is time to upgrade your abode to welcome the warm weather. Preethi Shanker helps you get your home summer ready.
The proof that summer is here is often written on our tanned and sweaty faces. The diehard optimists probably say they enjoy the increase in Vitamin D during summer, but the downside of the heat waves and the frequent power cuts is the struggle to stay in the confines of our homes during the hot summer days. Well, you can now imbibe the restful and cooling properties of any summer resort by making your home ready to handle the heat. No, this in no way implies a full on remodelling by changing every room or throwing out all your furniture; just a few additions and simple summer decorating ideas that will give you instant results and a cool abode to come home to.
Bring Summer Inside
The first rule of summer interiors is to keep it as simple as possible. Fewer items in a room automatically increase its virtual dimensions. This is your chance to de-clutter and rejuvenate at the same time. However, an interesting addition to your living room (if you don’t already have one) could be a day bed. What better way to lounge and relax in your own living area. Decorate it with throw pillows and it will make the perfect cosy corner you require during the hot summer days.
With the blazing heat during the day, let us face it: even taking a walk outdoors is out of the question. So it is time to bring the outdoors inside. Plants, flowers and fresh fruit baskets add that touch of nature to your house and always bring with them a pleasant fragrance. If you do not have a green thumb, infuse bamboo into your interiors in the form of baskets and possibly furniture.
TIP: Ask your kids to raid your garden and make arrangements for you, so you can fill your house with fresh cut flowers.
This summer, take a page out of the fashion books and warm up to colour. It is a common misconception that warmer colours like yellows, reds and oranges work for the summer. Be it walls or fabrics, the wiser choice for colours are the cooler shades of blue, green, aquamarine or even lilac and lavender. Pale green walls can be paired with walnut coloured furniture to give the illusion of a resort. For a soothing colour palette opt for soft, pale blues. These blues can easily be paired with white, cream, tan, brown and black and they go great with silver, glass and white marble.
White is one of the hottest colours on the runway this season and it translates well into summer interiors too. White is a wonderful coolant and to prevent a washed out look, utilize different shades of white and infuse textures into the room.
You can opt for a tone on tone colour scheme as well. Whether it is by painting vertical strips of the same colour with alternate matte and satin finishes, or layering wallpaper or fabric against a similar coloured background, tone on tone is the latest trend for summer. With the right colour choice, you will notice that it is not just the room that has changed – you would have too.
TIP: Swap all your bed sheets for pure white ones to give the whole room a bigger, brighter and refreshed summery feel.
The same rules for summer clothing apply to your summer upholstery and drapery as well. The more the fabric breathes, the cooler and airier your home will be. Make the transition from cotton sheets to a linen set. Linen will keep you cooler, decreasing your need for an air conditioner or fan. For an eco – friendly alternative for area rugs try materials like bamboo, hemp and jute. As mentioned earlier, stick to shades of white and neutral tones or the cooler colours of the spectrum like blues and greens.
To keep out the summer sun during the day, invest in good curtains. Replace heavy velvet or silk drapery with crisp linen panels. Pairing light curtains with sheer ones can give you a versatile option for the hot months. If cost is not a factor, muslin curtains instantly make the room lighter and airier.
TIP: Convert your inexpensive cotton sheets to summer curtains and get a crisp and light effect in your rooms.
Your children’s summer vacation can seem like a bane rather than a boon when you find yourself constantly on the edge about them creating a mess. Give yourself a breather by making sure that upholstery, pillow and cushion cover are not only casual and fun but also machine washable. Kids would love to spend their summer holidays doing paint or art projects if you give them the liberty to. After all, kids will be kids.
TIP: Put away all breakables and memorabilia for the two vacation months.
With the living room, kitchen and bedrooms all summer ready do not ignore the often-overlooked bathroom. Your bathroom is the part of the house that is most associated with the cooling effects of water. The simplest summer enhancement for your bathroom would be to add a cooling shower curtain paired with other accessories. The bathroom, being a small area can also be painted in an ocean theme with pale blue or sand colour. Seashells can be the perfect summer embellishment in any bathroom. Place seashells in an ornamental bowl and add some aromatic oils to give your bathroom a spa-like feel.
TIP: Use a large seashell as a candleholder. Place the shell face down on the counter and use a tea light in the centre of the shell.
Your garden or veranda sometimes seem like the last place you would visit during the summer. Go outside and see where you can add shade. Install awnings over your windows; build a pergola covered with shade cloth or plant trees. Outside shading is more efficient than indoor shading. Enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Your veranda or sit out can benefit from the summer makeover as well. Paint the ceiling a pale blue and keep the walls white for an unexpected and soothing effect. Outdoor does not always have to mean wicker furniture. You can pair your wicker sofas with a modern glass and wrought iron table. Another interesting piece for the porch is a mirror. Not only does it give the look of a complete room in itself, but it also reflects any candle or garden lights improving the overall ambience.
If you live in an apartment, paint all your flowerpots in vibrant colours and arrange them randomly across your balcony. Add a reclining chair and make it your leisure corner to unwind.
TIP: For outdoor seating, choose fabrics that are lemonade and sangria proof.
Since not all of us have the luxury of taking months away from our lives and not to mention our work, with a few adjustments here and there, you can now convert your home into your very own hillside retreat. So go ahead and take advantage of all that summer has to offer.