Is your house ready to battle the summer heat?

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, sang Nat King Cole. The heat wave begins across India, especially south India, as early as March and by May the heat comes beating down. In summers, you don't just need coolers to beat the heat. Your home, too, requires a combination of colours and decor items to become a ‘cool' place to hang out in. The best thing to start preparing your home for summers is by focusing on the fabrics you choose for decorating your space.

Keep it light

It's time to pack away your heavy silks, chenilles and brocades on your sofas and switch to cool fabrics like cotton, linen and jute. If your sofas are upholstered in rich burgundy or deep plum, there's an easy way to get the summer look going. Keep a set of loose covers handy in linen or cotton and simply slip them on. These can be easily packed away once the heat is done. Make sure the colours are cool too: try vanilla, lime green, custard yellow, peach and apricot. If these are too bland for your bold tastes, throw in cushions in red, magenta, turquoise and orange. These will help balance the colour quotient and keep your home from looking too plain and pastel.

Now, for the drapes. Here too the silks and brocades should be put away. “One can replace them with translucent and free-flowing materials which let in some light, yet keep your home cool. Voile, organza and chiffon are ideal material choices. Stick to floral and botanical prints as they tend to keep the ambience fresh and breezy,” suggests Archana, a homemaker. If your room gets too much sunlight, it's a good idea to opt for double curtain rails. One rod can be lined with heavy drapes while the other can have dainty lace or wispy sheers. Chiks or blinds are another option. You can get them custom-made as per the decor of your room.

Less is more during summer as clear spaces allow for effective circulation of air around the house. So cut the clutter. Hibernate the heavy carpets and strew the floor with small area rugs or cotton dhurries, as the more floor you show, the cooler your home will look and feel. Pack away extra artefacts that may have made your space look cosy in winter and don't give you unhindered air circulation in summer. Sushmita, an interior decorator, suggests that if you have an extensive collection of art, it's a good idea to store away your bold oils and replace them with landscapes or watercolours. Keep fresh flowers like malli puvvu and jasmine in urlis filled with water to spread a fresh fragrance around the house.

Don't forget your porch this summer. Use wicker chairs for a relaxed meeting with a friend. Use gaily-coloured cushions and have a basket of fruit on the table.

Decorating tips

*Try to give your wall a refreshing look either by painting with light colours or with wallpaper.

*Add summer accessories to match the indoor colour. You can choose paper fans, birdhouses, fruit bowls, coloured stones, marbles or beach shells.

*Replace dark lampshades with lighter ones or floral printed ones.

*Make changes in your bathrooms too. Change to lightweight fabric flower curtains with matching hand towels.

*A mirror in the wall that reflects the scenic beauty of garden into the living room can make a world of natural difference.

*Candles and potpourri can lend a fragrant ambience on a summer evening

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