Indian summers can be pretty brutal, and especially when the temperature is at its peak all we wish to do is to be home and avoid the scorching sun. If you live in a city or you have an apartment on the top floor, the house can get really hot, so we ask experts on smart ways to keep the surroundings cool and fresh in this extreme weather.
Diffuse heat: Some of the easy DIY ideas include adding plants, artificial waterfalls and changing the colour scheme of the house. Architect Asumi Rawat suggests, “To avoid the top floor from heating up, one must use thermocol (a heat insulator) in the ceiling inside the plaster of Paris ceiling. This will prevent the flat from getting overheated in summer. The wall colours can surely not be changed as per weather but water bodies like water fountains, vessels filled with water and petals, diffusers can be added to keep the heat at bay. Line the curtains with washable blackout, or can be used as blackout roller blinds. Along with these additions, one can also add soothing colours to the décor.”
All things light: Replace faux leather, satin, wool or thicker fabric on sofas, bedsheets, carpets and other furnishings with more breathable and natural fabrics. Incorporate light and vibrant colours like bright blues, lime greens, subtle yellow and contrast them with white, grey or an earthy tone. The purpose is to stay cool inside while retaining the liveliness of the outside. Lighting designer Radeesh Shetty, mentions, “Go for lighter coloured, cotton or sheer window curtains that reflect the heat out and allow air flow inside the house. Alternately, you could also opt for jute or bamboo screens. They allow air circulation and provide shade from direct sunlight. Replace the heat generating incandescent lights with LED’s, as they emit less heat for the same intensity of light and are energy-efficient. Avoid humidity from building up inside the house by ensuring you’ve ample cross ventilation. Also, avoid placing rocks and other natural elements that are bound to absorb heat during the day and radiate it back after sundown.”
Breathe In, breathe out: The easy breezy way to keep the décor cool is to keep things light, airy and natural. Use drapes and covers that are made from organic and natural fibers that breathe, informs Shikha Pahwa, founder of House This. She shares her mantra and how to stay cool, and adds, “Muslin and voile sheets and covers are perfect balms for a brutal Indian summer. A predominantly pastel palette with soft hues and tones keeps the mood light and fresh. In this regard, my first choice is always white and it’s offshoot shades. Crisp, cool and clean, it never fails to do the trick. Turn to tradition and think of outdoor beds on rooftops. Nothing works better than the quintessential Indian cotton chaddar.
Natural additions: India has a tropical climate and for the most part, the warmer season lasts longer than other seasons. So whether summer or not, the best way to keep the house cool throughout the year is by choosing a floor material that’s best suited for our weather conditions. Amit Shah, MD at a marble flooring brand, suggests, “Some of the best flooring materials that help keep the space cool even in summers are natural stones like marble, granite, slate, and travertine. Natural stones are bad conductors of heat, so the flooring surfaces remain cool even during hot summer days making a significant difference in keeping the overall place cool.”
While there are several ways to keep the atmosphere fresh, you could begin by adding some greenery with flowers and indoor plants in your living space or your favourite corner. Plants are important elements to enhance interiors and can be installed at the entrance. Plants are not only soothing to the eyes; they also restrict direct sunlight exposure and cool down the air entering the house. Indoor plants such as aloe vera, basil, and spider plants are ideal to cool down corners and liven up spaces....