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Cooling Your Home Without Cranking Up the A/C

by Eva Marienchild

Here are 13 ways to cool your home without lowering the A/C. You’ll be so cool with these new ideas that you just might forget how to work the thermostat!

So you’re faced once again with sizzling hot summer days and nights and your electric bill has gone through the roof. Not to worry. With a little forethought and one afternoon’s worth of shopping, you can design a furnishings plan that beats the heat sans A/C!  Bonus: you probably already have a few of these items in your home. 

Here are a few tips using bare essentials for keeping cool this year:

1. Keep colors cool.

It is true that light colors help you to stay in the shade. Think of a bright red room. Now think of the hottest day in August. Result? There’s no way you’d want to spend time in a room with bright colors. You’d start sweating as soon as you entered the room!

Switch instead to muted tones and airier shades for a comfortably cool scenario. Think pastels, grays and lighter colors. Try a white canopy, perhaps with candy cane stripes. White reflects heat, as it reflects all colors. And don’t limit your decorating to paint. You might try fabric, too, in the same soothing tones.

2. Stay true blue.

Colors give off “notes” much like perfume does. The color blue gives forth a solid, calm, “cared for” note. Blue twins with any lighter colors which you choose to decorate with this summer. A blue fabric will quietly balance a pale shade – like soft mint – and add a soothing hue to a vase or a floor rug.

3. Bring in the blooms.

Plants emit oxygen and clean the air. Water is evaporated, keeping the room cool and fresh. Select a particularly tall, bushy plant and place it in the space where sunlight is bound to filter in. Another idea is to select snowy white shades for your windows. A sheer or lace curtain will allow shady silhouettes to sway gently in the background, creating a lovely – and cool – ambience.

4. Decorate an airy space.

Limit frames and mirrors to large mobile pieces with thin and soft edges. Place one large piece atop a bed or couch, and leave the rest of the wall bare, to make for a sparse, airy feeling.

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5. Create a breeze.

Don’t have a ceiling fan? Now’s the time to invest in one. Place one near large scenic windows. Remove all drapes and blinds and open the windows. You might wish to place screens on the windows to keep the insects out. The fan’s rotating blades will circulate the air for a lovely, comfortable feel.

6. Shade an outdoor oasis.

If you’ve got an outside area, create an oasis where you can escape during hot weather by adding affordable sunshades. Choose a light, natural weave with fringes that will both cool down your balcony or patio and design a tropical look for your private space.

7. Go old school to stay cool.

Use a fan and ice cubes. The old fashioned box coolers relied on this methodology. You place a whirring fan – those colorful clamp-on fans will do fine – in the direction of a chunk of ice, or a bowl of ice cubes. As long as you have a bin or large tray to catch the water as it melts, you’re fine. Some of the water will evaporate and the breeze will cool both the air and you.

8. Don’t let the sun shine in.

This may sound simplistic, but your room temps may dip a whole ten degrees if you simply place heavy drapes on your windows – or two light ones, one atop the other will work – and bar the sun’s rays from filtering through.

9. Create a blackout.

Take that premise to another level and buy blackout curtains.  Blackout curtains are an idea that’s been bandied about in modern times to bring out deep, restful sleep. The idea is that not letting a glimmer of light in works with your circadian rhythm. These curtains are woven tightly and keep out close to 100% of light.

10. Switch to natural fibers.

Wear and sleep on only breathable, natural fibers. Natural material like cotton will facilitate the flow of air. On a hot summer night, the last thing you need to be wearing or sleeping on is polyester weaves, silk or satin. What you want is for your sweat to be wicked away, not plastered onto your skin.

11. Sleep as low as you can go.

Haul your futon or mattress onto the floor. Yep! Remember that hot air rises. Strip the carpet off the ground for even more cooling.

12. Bring your hammock indoors.

It’s cooler in a hammock. Many of us have seen hammocks swinging in the breeze in backyards, perhaps in between two huge trees, and thought: “Now that’s the quintessential summer way to get some shut-eye.” But did you know that you can move the hammock indoors, for an equally authentic and comfortably cool experience?

13. Pull out the hot water bottle.

The thick rubber of hot water bottles holds in cold, too, when the bottle is filled.

So there you have it. You can mix and match, as it were. Keep the A/C on a few hours a day at the hottest point of the day and turn it off the rest of the day and night. You’ll be so cool with these new ideas that you just might forget how to work the thermostat!

Reviewed May 2019

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