Part two of our Summer Decorating Style series continues with guest columnist India Hicks.

She's a model, television host, designer and creator of the award-winning Island Living Collection of fragrances for Crabtree and Evelyn. This week we discuss some easy ways to cool down the house during the summer months.

What winter items should we take away in order to help cool down the house for summer?
Summer is a good time to send dark and heavy rugs to be cleaned and stored. The polish of bare wooden floors is a welcome change and cool to the foot. If desired, the rugs can be substituted with plain or patterned sisals, that also absorbs the sound but still feels fresh and light.

Karl’s tip: I like the idea of stripping the heavy drapes off the rods and just leaving the sheers (or blinds) in place for the summer. It’s a great opportunity to have them professionally cleaned along with the rugs.


What items should we add to cool down the house for summer?
The easiest and most effective change for summer can be easy fitting, crisp cotton slipcovers on all chairs. If not white, striped ticking always has a summertime feeling. It’s best to have the fabrics washed in hot water and pre-shrunk before they are sewn. By doing this, there are no worries about getting them to fit back on the furniture after a mid-summer wash. There are also many other canvas outdoor fabrics that can weather the traffic of children and pets from the beach or pool as well as the spill of red wine or chocolate birthday cake.

Karl’s tip: If your place heats up due to direct sunlight, consider a protective film for the windows. It will reduce the heat and keep your floors and furnishing protected from the sun's harmful rays.

How important are plants and flowers to creating a cool, summer feeling?
Fresh flowers from the garden are always a pleasure and give a room a good boost. These touches are not always available in the other months of the year, and some types and smells are a particular summer treat. Matching giant house plants can also lend a regal symmetry and drama to a space.

Anything else you’d like to add about cooling down the house for summer?
Ceiling fans are especially nice. They can lower the temperature to some degree, as well create a refreshing breeze. Simple, plain white are the simplest/functional ceiling fans and serve a purpose year-round. Camouflaging a sofa that may have a wintery feel can be done easily and inexpensively with a piece of linen or another weighty neutral colored fabric that can pool a little bit on the floor. It is also a thought to paint some of your furniture: Wooden dinning room chairs for example, could be painted in an airy summer color: Pale blue or dove grey and then black, or red for the winter months.

Latest From ...