Decorated and ventilated properly, a house, apartment or condo can keep cool during the blazing days of summer without the need of having central air. Here are a few practical and decorative ways to keep things cool during the summer:

 

In your apartment: Install a window air conditioner. A small 10,000-15,000 unit will keep an area of 500-800 square feet cooled down. Use a floor standing fan to re-direct the cool air around the apartment. Check with your building management before purchasing and installing a window air conditioner as they may have regulations to follow.

 

Decorating ideas: Choose white blinds and/or a backing on drapes to reflect the sun’s rays, and keep drapes closed when hot sun is pouring in; hang bamboo blinds outside to diffuse the hot sunlight that hits the windows.

 

In your basement apartment: Since cool air falls, you may not need an air conditioner, however, basements are often humid. Get a dehumidifier to take the water out of the air and the temperature will feel 5-10 degrees cooler; open windows once the outside temperature have dipped below the temperature inside.


Decorating ideas: Apply a frosted film on windows to create privacy but still allow as much light in as possible. Use an exhaust fan while showering allows steam and humidity to escape.


In your townhouse: If you have central air conditioning, close the vents on the main floor to force more air upstairs. As cold air falls, the lower levels will cool down. Use ceiling fans on upper floors to draw air upwards and keeping the cool air from falling. Use your bathroom exhaust fan on top floors to draw out the hot air and pull cool air up.


Decorating ideas: Decorate using light and airy colours like grey, blue and white on upper floors where its always warmer; the cooler it looks, the cooler you will feel. Keep all south-facing blinds and drapes closed during the day when the sun is the hottest. Rid all upper floors of heavy area carpets which can insulate the heat.


In your sprawled house: Use an attic fan to blow out hot air that has collected. Install air conditioners on south and east sides of the house; these are the two hottest areas. Plant tall shrubs and trees on the east and west side of the house to help diffuse the hot sun at the beginning and end of the day. Install awnings over the south-facing windows to cut the direct sun.


Decorating ideas: Use fabrics like cotton, linen and bamboo on furniture and bedding, tiled floors are cooler to the foot than carpeting.


Karl Lohnes is passionate about good decor and wants to help you have a beautiful home; no matter what your budget or style.