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Beat the heat: 6 ways to keep your house cool

Photographed by Anson Smart. Architecture by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Styled by Atelier Lab. From a family home in the heart of Bondi with an unexpectedly brilliant layout

Ninety-nine per cent of the time, summer is an exciting time. With your legs kicked up, sunnies on, and using whatever you’re holding to block out the sun—it’s truly an incomparable feeling. It’s the season of outdoor BBQs, lazy afternoons by the pool, and spontaneous evening strolls because the sun hasn’t come down just yet. Whether it’s the sound of an ice-cream truck or the laughter echoing from a backyard gathering, summer living is nothing short of rejuvenating.

However, that missing one per cent is a struggle we’re all too familiar with: staying cool. Leaving the air conditioner may seem like the obvious solution, but then there are electricity bills to consider. Sleepless nights become the norm because you can no longer find that cold spot that has been keeping you cool. The stifling heat eventually infiltrates every corner of your space, creating an atmosphere that feels increasingly stuffy. While there are plenty of ways to enjoy the heat, the question remains: what should you do when you need to escape it? Below, a few novel ways to keep your house cool for optimal summer living.

Photographed by Kasia Gatkowska. Interior design by Sally Caroline. Styled by Barbara Berends. From playful design details bring this historic Amsterdam family home to life

1. Ditch the fuzz

While fuzzy rugs and pillows can be great, consider giving them a break in summer break. Roll them up and stow them away safely to shield them from insects and dust. Instead, embrace the alternative of a bare hardwood or stone floor, offering a cooler underfoot experience that complements the season. Not only does this switch lead to a visually refreshing ambience, but it also allows your living space to breathe, creating a more comfortable and airy atmosphere during the hotter months.

Photographed by Prue Ruscoe. Architecture by Luigi Rosselli Architects. Interior design by Handelsmann + Khaw. Styled by Joseph Gardner. From a grand harbourside Sydney home revitalised with classic French flair

2. Be a fan

Fans are an excellent solution, but you’ll need to get creative in order to capitalise on them. Many ceiling fans have a function that changes the direction in which it spins for warmer and colder seasons. During the summer, adjust your ceiling fan to spin counterclockwise, effectively pulling hot air up and out. If you don’t have ceiling fans, you can still create a refreshing cross-breeze by strategically placing a fan across an open window. Ensure it blows into your room during the coolest hours of the day and outward during the warmest.

Photographed by William Abranwicz. Interior design by Sandra Weingort. Styled by Colin King. From one summer-ready Hamptons home that’s all about the nuanced art of subtlety

3. Keep it light at night

Regardless of how warm your home gets during the day, it somehow feels even hotter once you’re in bed. To combat summertime night sweats, creating a cooler bed is essential. Set aside the duvets for now and opt for cooling cotton, linen or bamboo sheets. Scientifically proven to enhance sleep in warmer temperatures, cotton bed sheets boast breathability and bamboo sheets contain great absorption qualities. Even if you typically forgo a top sheet in the autumn or winter, it could be the ideal substitute for a duvet in summer.

Photographed by Giuseppe Lomuscio at Liberi Creativi. Architecture and interior design by Acqua di Puglia. From this rustic family home in Puglia was inspired by a Moroccan riad

4. Treat your windows

Sheer drapes make the perfect summer accessory, yet they often fall short in cooling the space under direct sunlight. To trim down on energy bills, consider investing in shades designed with an exterior white plastic lining. This innovative feature serves as a reflective shield, redirecting sunlight and preventing the infiltration of excessive heat into the space.

Photographed by François Coquerel. Architecture and interior design by Hauvette & Madani. From a Parisian apartment brimming with bespoke furniture and unique design details

5. Light check

We’ve moved beyond incandescent light bulbs—it’s time for an upgrade. These bulbs squander approximately 90 per cent of their energy by emitting heat, so swapping them out can have a modest impact on cooling your home. For those with a household already illuminated by LEDs, consider exchanging ‘warm white’ bulbs with their ‘cool white’ counterparts. The cool white light imparts a vibrant ambiance, elevating cooler tones like whites, blues, and greens within the space.

Photographed by Anson Smart. Architecture by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects. Styled by Atelier Lab. From a family home in the heart of Bondi with an unexpectedly brilliant layout

6. Go natural

As well as being proven to boost your moodhouse plants can also help keep your house cool. These green companions play a great role in regulating humidity levels and promoting airflow, thereby creating a more refreshing indoor environment. Peace lilies and rubber plants stand out as the most heat-efficient choices as they excel in humid conditions. Just don’t forget to water them.

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