How to Cool Down Your Space Without Cranking Up the A/C

Beat the heat with these easy decor tips that help create the illusion of breezier, cooler temps in your home

Credit: Pottery Barn

Choose Lined Curtains

If your preferred window treatments are curtains or drapes, opt for ones that are lined for the summer.

“The lining creates an extra barrier to help keep the heat either in or out,” explains interior designer, Christine Friend.

To completely shut out rays (and keep your space physically cooler), ensure curtains, drapes or blinds are kept shut during peak sun hours.

Credit: Pottery Barn

Amp Up the Foliage

Think back to your elementary school science classes and you may remember that plants produce oxygen from carbon dioxide. This makes them a great natural air filter.

“Plants filter air in a space and help move it about,” says interior designer Dexter Dolores. “Having them around can actually help cool down a room.”

Dolores notes that indoor trees are a budding trend – from fig trees to banana leaf trees – while Friend suggests cutting blooms from your own garden and incorporating them into your decor.

Swap Out Accessories

A quick way to guarantee a breezier space? Trading in your bedding, pillows, rugs, and curtains for their more summer-appropriate counterparts.

“Consider investing in a ‘decor wardrobe,’” advises Dolores. “It’s just like a regular wardrobe, which has its outfits for each season. The same can be done with your accessories.”

Both Dolores and Friend suggest opting for items with more natural, breathable fabrics for the summer, such as bamboo, jute or cotton. But don’t shy away from deeper hues or tones – Dolores says that, in smaller doses, they can work just as well in warmer weather.

Declutter Your Space

Somehow skipped out on spring cleaning? (Ahem, we won’t tell.) You may want to consider a quick declutter for a cooler feel at home.

“Less is more when it comes to the summer,” says Dolores. “A clean space mimics the breeziness and openness of the outside and brings some of that in.”

Credit: Etsy

Add a Splash of Paint

There’s no doubt that a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a room, but it’s also a project not exactly made for the sweltering heat.

For a smaller scale change (with just as much impact), Dolores suggests giving a single piece of furniture a fresh coat for new life.

Choose cooler colours with blue or green undertones that will help a space feel more light, airy, and alive – not to mention larger, to boot.

Rearrange Your Furniture

If the decluttering has given you a clean perspective on your space, taking the opportunity to rearrange your furnishings and accessories can also help counter the heat.

“Even moving a chair to a different side or another room can really change up a space and give it a new sort of functionality,” shares Dolores.

Try to keep larger pieces away from windows, which can prevent natural light and air from flowing in.

Credit: Pottery Barn

Incorporate Ice

In addition to being a quick, no-fuss chiller for drinks, ice can also play a key role in helping you (and your guests) keep cool during long days of entertaining.

“Whether you’re cooking inside or outside, have a trough or a bucket or two on hand with some ice to cool any drinks or snacks,” suggests Friend. When strategically placed along a table, the pieces can also play double-duty as centerpieces.

Edible flowers or fresh fruit can also be frozen to create icy treats – and a creative cool-down for guests.

Scale Back on Decor

While multiple layers are more than welcome during the winter, try dialing back on your decor during warmer temperatures for a slightly airier feel.

“Keeping your decor as spare as possible helps create a breezy atmosphere in the room,” says Dolores.

But don’t feel like you have to go completely minimalist – even replacing excess decor pillows with a few lightweight shams can make a big difference. “The whole feel of it is still cozy without being stuffy or layered,” Dolores says.

Change up Your Artwork

For another easy way to create an illusion of coolness, try looking to your walls – or rather, what’s on them.

“A lot of the time, people see artwork in one place and they think that it’ll always be there,” shares Dolores. “But artwork is a form of decor as well. There’s no reason it can’t move from the bedroom to the living room or vice versa.”

Repositioning a piece of art in another space helps expose it to new light – both natural and artificial – and can give a room a new sense of freshness.

Credit: IKEA

Embrace the Season

Complaining about the heat does little to alleviate it, so why not try embracing higher temps instead?

According to Friend, the trick to staying cool is taking advantage of the weather – and having fun with it in your decor. “Think of what’s in season and try to incorporate that indoors,” she says.

From raspberry-printed wares to pretty floral throws, timely accessories add a sense of realness to a space, which can subsequently affect how you feel in it, too.

Raspberry Pattern Tray, $3.99 from IKEA